Church of Scientology subject of a new investigation
July 23, 2014
According to our information, the public prosecutor's office in Versailles [capital of France's Yvelines department] launched a preliminary investigation at the beginning of June concerning the Spiritual Association of the Church of Scientology (Celebrity Centre) and several of its members for alleged acts of "psychological harassment" and "abuse of weakness." The investigation was spurred by a complaint filed on June 3 by twelve employees of Arcadia, a company that is based in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône and specializes in conversions of attic space and extensions of houses.
The employees assert that they were subjected to "psychological harassment" during training provided by consultants who, the employees say, are members of the Church of Scientology. "Scientology infiltrated the company for the chief purpose of plundering its resources," says Olivier Morice, the lawyer who is defending the employees.
allow yourself to be insulted for hours
The Versailles public prosecutor's office confirmed that it "assigned the preliminary investigation to the Assistance and Intervention Unit for Sectarian Abuses" [CAIMADES, a police unit specializing in cult-related cases], which operates under the Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons (OCRVP).
The alleged abuses started at the beginning of 2013. "We knew that the president of the company was a Scientologist," says Stéphane, one of the employees (the names have been changed in this article). "He talked all the time about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. But things really degenerated when he brought in his buddies ..." Consultants were called in to "improve the company's performance" and to provide training to the employees.
"At first, it was for an hour and a half every week. Then it expanded to half a day. Then an entire day," says Julie, another employee. A few weeks later, the trainers stopped hiding the Scientology books from which they took the exercises that were supposed to improve communication between us."
Among these exercises, the ones Julie remembers most are the "Training Routines" that the Church of Scientology frequently uses. "The first one involves staying still for two hours without moving or saying anything while facing another employee," she explains. "Later, we had to read passages from Alice in Wonderland. Then we had to repeat the question 'Do fish swim?' and the answer was: 'Yes, birds fly.'"
Julie, a 27-year-old sales representative, complains that she cracked during so-called "bullbaiting" exercises. "For that one, you had to allow yourself to be insulted for hours without reacting. I couldn't do it, so the trainer demonstrated it to me by violently telling a colleague to give him a blowjob!"
"If we didn't comply with their orders, we were immediately placed on a blacklist," adds Stéphane. "They made life impossible to drive us to leave the company." The 33-page complaint is very detailed and states that, in a year and a half, 25 of the 90 employees dropped out of the company by resignation, dismissal, or contractual termination.
"In addition to the controlling the minds of the employees, the main goal of the Church of Scientology was to rake in money," says lawyer Olivier Morice. For example, Cyrille Pincanon, who was hired as a consultant for the technical teams, was paid 437,531 euros through his company, CYP Conseil, for "improving the quality of construction sites."
Though he is named in the complaint, he denied any proselytizing when 20 Minutes contacted him. "Yes, I carried out a mission that went very well. On my scale of 0 to 110%, I obtained a satisfaction rate of 103%. I can show all the evidence of my work, all the documents ... " But when asked about his alleged membership in the Church of Scientology and its methods, he bristled: "My methods are my business and mine alone. As for the Church of Scientology, I have nothing to say to you about that!"
The spokesperson for the Celebrity Centre, Eric Roux insists that he has never heard of Arcadia, but he admits that the names of the persons who are the object of the employees' complaint "ring a bell." "I have no information about this case," he says. "But at first glance, by intuition, it sounds baseless to me ... "
Presumed innocent, the representatives of the Church of Scientology could be summoned by the CAIMADES unit in September.
20 Minutes attempted to contact the president of Arcadia, but he was not immediately available.
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