French Court Cuts Sentence of a Scientology Church Leader

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A French appeals court reduced the sentence Monday for a Church of Scientology leader convicted of involuntary homicide in the suicide of a member.

The case centered on the March 1988 suicide of Patrice Vic, 31, who jumped out a window.

Prosecutors said Vic was under pressure from the church to take a $5,000 “purification treatment,” including daily saunas and a diet low in sugar and high in vitamins.

The lower court said in November that Jean-Jacques Mazier had subjected Vic to “psychological torture.” He was convicted of both involuntary homicide and fraud and sentenced to a three-year jail term, with 18 months of it suspended.


On Monday, the appeals court said Mazier’s sentence was too harsh and suspended it, meaning no jail time. He still must pay an $83,000 fine.

The trial centered around Vic’s death, but its scope widened as investigators uncovered evidence of financial wrongdoing, and more Scientology officials were charged.

Founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Los Angeles-based organization teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve human problems.