E-meters along Hollywood and Sunset boulevards must have been going off their dials this week. The Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology, which has fought the IRS, former members and the state of Florida, now finds itself on even less stable battlegrounds: the French legal system and Wikipedia. Culling information from several sources, a Huffington Post article today said the online encyclopedia Wikipedia “has banned the Church of Scientology and its members from editing its site after discovering that members of the church were editing articles in order to give the church favorable coverage.” This is the fourth time, according to the piece, that Scientology has been embroiled in a Wikipedia dispute.
Meanwhile, according to Agence France Press, “the Church of Scientology and six of its French leaders went on trial on Monday on charges of organized fraud that could lead to an outright ban on the organization in France.” The charges stem from one woman's accusation that in 1998 her Scientologist employer forced her to undergo Scientology-administered testing and enroll in church courses, and fired her when she balked. A second woman alleges that she was conned into shelling out $28,000 on Scientology gear, including an E-meter.
The French church claims the legal proceedings amount to a heresy
trial, while prosecutors claim Scientology coerced the women “with the goal of
seizing their fortune by exerting a psychological hold.” The trial is
expected to last until mid June, with a decision rendered some time
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