Scientology Orders Customers To Have Abortions

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Scientology's doublecross

Forward: Mr. Prince was the Second In Command of Scientology when L. Ron Hubbard was alive. Mr. Prince was part of the internal workings of the notoriously criminal corporate enterprise.

Scientology Orders Customers To Have Abortions

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE (RIVERSIDE, CA.)
January 31, 1999, Sunday , ALL ZONES

SECTION: A SECTION; Pg. A03
LENGTH: 1560 words

Ex-church member fights for right to speak out; Scientology officials deny claim his wife was ordered to have abortion

NOTES: Includes info box; sidebar to "Bitter partings"

By Susan Thurston, The Press-Enterprise

Jesse Prince was a member and employee of the Church of Scientology for 16 years, working his way through the ranks and taking pride in his success.

All that changed, he said, when his wife became pregnant while they were working at the church's movie-making complex in Gilman Hot Springs. Prince said she was ordered to have an abortion so they could remain members of the church's elite Sea Organization.

"The order devastated both my wife and me. Our dedication as Sea Org members clashed violently with our intentions as parents and we went through a personal nightmare," he said in an affidavit filed in a court case in Colorado.

Such glimpses of the lives of Scientology executives are rare, largely because the church requires those who leave the church to sign a detailed promise not to disclose secrets.

Six years after leaving the church, Prince, 44, says the document he signed should be thrown out so he can speak freely about his experiences and testify in lawsuits on behalf of critics of Scientology.

Church officials see the matter differently.

They argue that the agreement Prince signed is valid and question his motives. Further, they say Prince's wife was never forced to have an abortion, but rather decided on her own.

Church policy says employees cannot work at the Gilman Hot Springs complex if they have children under age 6, said Ken Hoden, general manager of Golden Era Productions at the Gilman Hot Springs complex. The rigorous filming schedules don't allow workers enough time with their babies, he said.

"We don't think it's right for parents to spend time away from their kids," he said.

"Every person that says they have been coerced are saying it for another reason. Nobody is coerced into doing anything in the Church of Scientology. The purpose of Scientology is to increase a person's self-determinism," Hoden said.

Prince said his wife, Monika, was never the same after the abortion and wanted to leave the church. They got out in 1992, but only after he signed a document promising not to criticize Scientology or reveal any of its secrets.

The couple divorced in 1996 after 11 years of marriage, although Prince said they keep in touch. He said she has been living in Minneapolis but recently went to England for several months on business.

Prince worked at the Gilman Hot Springs base from 1982 to 1992, including about a year as a director on the board of the Religious Technology Center, which preserves the church's doctrine as defined by the church's founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard.

During that time, Prince said he oversaw litigation involving Scientology, protection of copyrighted material and trademark registrations. Hoden said Prince was in charge of trouble-shooting for the organization and tracing mistakes. Eventually Prince was demoted because he was "in above his head," Hoden said.

Prince said he was forced to sign the nine-page release when he left the organization. The release barred him from participating in activities against Scientology or helping its opponents. In it he swore that Scientology is a religion and agreed to pay the church $ 10,000 for each breach of the contract.

In August, Prince filed a lawsuit in Riverside Superior Court seeking to have the document invalidated because it was signed under "extreme duress. " The suit has since been dropped because a federal judge in Colorado allowed Prince to testify in a pending civil case out of Denver, despite Scientologists' claims that it violates the release.

In the Riverside lawsuit, Prince said he was told that, if he didn't sign the release, he and his wife would lose contact, or become "disconnected," with her father and sister who were members.

He also said that embarrassing facts that he had confessed in counseling sessions would be released.

The suit argued that the release was an attempt to stop him from sharing knowledge about the church's criminal activities, including kidnapping, assault and battery, fraud, destruction of evidence, witness tampering and intimidation, tax fraud and perjury.

Scientology officials say the allegations are untrue. They said Prince lied because he is out of work and needs money. Prince filed for bankruptcy in 1997.

"He is only existing because he gets paid to say the party line for people who are anti-Scientologists," said Aron Mason, director of public affairs for the Church of Scientology International based in Los Angeles.

Hoden said Prince signed the release voluntarily.

"I shook Jesse's hand as he left. I know him. This is not the way he was when he left. Something has changed," he said.

Hoden said the release went into specifics about Prince's tenure because he had been privy to the inner workings of the church, many of which are confidential and involve other members.

Over the years, hundreds of members have signed releases, Hoden said. Thousands more have left without signing one, he added. The group claims to have 25,000 employees worldwide, including 5,000 members of the Sea Org, who sign billion-year oaths of service.

Prince denied church claims that he is out to help critics get money from the organization. He says his goal is to stop others from getting into the same situation.

"I've made sure that this is not a professional witness thing. I don't get paid to testify," he said.

A high school graduate with no college education, Prince said it has been difficult getting a job because he lacks practical job experience. Prospective employers say they'll get back to him, but

never do, he said. "When I tried to use the (Scientology) principles in real life, I found it was laughable. Old ideas from the '40s and '50s don't work in the '90s," he said.

Prince said he lives off the proceeds from the 1997 sale of a small artwork framing business he owned in Minnesota - about $ 20,000 - and the generosity of his supporters, who have given him places to stay and helped with transportation and other living expenses.

Prince's attorney, Dan Leipold of Santa Ana, who said he has represented about 30 people who have been sued by Scientology, said Prince needs some support to survive.

"People who come out of these groups are scarred for life. You aren't going to get a job with IBM . . . but you've got to live and you've got to be protected. Jesse is a gutsy guy. He's not perfect but he's not a liar," he said.

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