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The State

The Church of Scientology filed a petition with the California Supreme Court seeking to halt a $25-million damage suit against the church by a former member. About 800 church supporters rallied outside the state court building in downtown San Francisco after marching nine miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Rev. Ken Hoden, president of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles and the church’s attorney, filed the petition with the Supreme Court for an “immediate stay of trial” in the Los Angeles suit by Larry Wollersheim, who was a member of the church for 11 years. Wollersheim contends that counseling he received from the church was “fraudulent and outrageous.” The church’s efforts to have the case thrown out were turned down by a state appeals court last week. Scientologists contend the suit constitutes “an impermissible inquiry into the truth or falsity of its followers’ religious beliefs” and therefore violates the First Amendment.


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