April 27, 2001
1. I, STEPHEN A. KENT (PhD), Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta , Edmonton , Alberta , Canada , T6G 2H4, offer the following declaration on behalf of THOMAS CARTER PADGETT in the Civil Action No. 92-CI-00444, Laura Vannoy Padgett vs. Thomas Carter Padgett.
2. My professional specialization is in the area of alternative religions. I have worked specifically in this area at the University of Alberta for the past thirteen years. Scientology is among the groups that I have studied. I have been a Full Professor of Sociology since July 1997. Prior to that time I held various positions as Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. I maintain Adjunct Professor status in the Department of Comparative Literature, Religion, and Film/Media Studies, which means that I can co-supervise graduate students and have some of my sociology courses cross-listed for students in Religious Studies. I teach classes on the sociology of religion at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
3. I began formal studies of Scientology in 1986, and since then have published several articles on Scientology and referred to it in still others. My vitae is attached.
4. In light of my professional publications and my knowledge of Scientology practices, I am qualified to speak about Scientology’s use of the legal system against perceived opponents as a means of harassment according to what it used to call the ‘fair game’ policy. In addition, I can speak about Scientology’s practice of ‘disconnection.’ In my professional opinion, Mr. Thomas Padgett has been victimized by Scientologists’ application of ‘fair game’ and ‘disconnection policies.
A. USE OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM AS PART OF SCIENTOLOGY’S FAIR GAME HARASSMENT OF PERCEIVED OPPONENTS
5. A crucial document for understanding Scientology’s harassing legal strategy is the Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter [HCOPL] ( 23 December, 1965 ), “Suppressive Acts[,] Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists[,] The Fair Game Law.” This document can be found on pp. 552-557 of L. Ron Hubbard, The Organization Executive Course, HCO Division 1, Copenhagen : Scientology Publications Organization, 1970. This book was part of an 8 volume (plus index) series known as the “old OEC volumes” or the “old green volumes” because of the colour of their covers and the fact that a new OEC series came out in 1991. Many Scientologists owned the entire “old” series, and all Scientology organizations had copies because members had to refer to it often in order to identify proper organizational procedure.
6. Some time during 1991, the new OEC volumes (“the new green volumes”) appeared. The HCOPL of 23 December 1965RB appears in this new volume, but it had been revised on 8 January, 1991 . The revised version contains much of the wording from the original, but it is reorganized in places, and it has deleted reference to “Fair Game.” I will return to the debate over the role that the old “fair game” doctrine plays in Scientology after 1991. I conclude that its continued place in Scientology legal strategy makes it probable that Mr. Thomas Padgett is a ‘fair game’ target.
7. This specific Policy Letter concerns the identification of and response to persons, organizations, or actions that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard identified as hindering or damaging Scientology’s activities and practices. Hubbard labelled the most serious opponents “suppressive persons” (often abbreviated to “SPs”).
8. According to Scientology policy, Mr. Padgett is a “suppressive person.” The definition given in a Scientology Policy Letter of this term is: “A SUPPRESSIVE PERSON or GROUP is one that actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by Suppressive Acts” (old OEC 1: p. 552; new OEC 1: p. 873).
9. “SUPPRESSIVE ACTS are acts calculated to impede or destroy Scientology or a Scientologist and which are listed at length in this policy letter” (old OEC 1: p. 552; new OEC 1: p. 873).
10. Several of the acts that Hubbard specified were such that Scientology leaders would see Mr. Padgett as a suppressive person committing suppressive acts. Suppressive Acts include:
11. “reporting or threatening to report Scientology or Scientologists to civil authorities in an effort to suppress Scientology or Scientologists from practising standard Scientology” (old OEC 1:p. 553; new OEC 1: p. 876); and
12. “engaging in malicious rumour-mongering to destroy the authority or repute of higher officers or the leading names of Scientology…” (old OEC 1: p. 553; new OEC 1: 876); and
13. “delivering up the person of a Scientologist without defense or protest to the demands of civil or criminal law” (old OEC 1: p. 553; new OEC 1: p. 876).
14. Mr. Padgett’s statements to the media about Scientology (see his “Challenging Scientology’s Claims,” Cap Cod Times, March 19, 1999: A10), his presentations and/or talks about Scientology at conferences, and his attempt to get certain Scientology-derived behaviours introduced into various civil and criminal procedures qualify him and a Suppressive Person according to Scientology policy. The old version of the policy specifically states, “[a] Suppressive Person or Group becomes ‘fair game'” (old OEC 1: p. 552).
á The very next HCOPL in Volume 1 of the old Organizational Executive Course (dated 17 March 1965 ) discusses the “Fair Game Law.” In this context, the Policy says:
16. “[s]o, in Scientology, anyone who rejects Scientology also rejects, knowingly or unknowingly, the protection and benefits of Scientology and the companionship of Scientologists. If the person never was a member of the group or if the person had been a member of it, the result is the same” (old OEC 1: p. 558).
17. Mr. Padgett, of course, had been a Scientologist, so he is covered in this Policy Letter.
18. Also in the old OEC 1 volume is a definition of “High Crimes.” They “consist of publicly departing Scientology or committing Suppressive Acts. Cancellation of Certificates, Classifications and Awards and becoming fair game are amongst the penalties which can leveled for this type of offense…” (HCOPL of 7 March 1965, “Offenses & Penalties,” in old OEC 1: p. 551).
19. Consequently, Mr. Padgett is a “Suppressive Person” and therefore also is a “fair game” target. Indeed, in an October 28, 1999 affidavit by Mr. Padgett filed in Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. Thomas C. Padgett (Criminal Action No. 98-CR-067), he stated that he learned (presumably in 1993) from the Nashville, Tennessee Scientology Celebrity Center that the Scientology organization had in fact declared him to be a suppressive person.
20. In an HCOPL of 18 October 1967 , Hubbard identified what was to happen to a person in either Scientology organizations or its elite “Sea Organization” whom Scientology declared to be an “enemy.” An enemy inside Scientology would receive an “SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
21. Hubbard’s HCOPL of 21 October, 1968 entitled, “Cancellation of Fair Game,” also appeared in the old OEC Volume 1 (p. 489). The four sentence statement, however, reveals that Hubbard ordered Scientologists to stop using the term, “fair game,” because it brought the organization bad public relations. The actual behaviours, however, toward supposedly “Suppressive Persons” were not to change. The Policy read: “[T]he practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease. FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations. This P/L [Policy Letter] does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP [Suppressive Person]” (p. 489).
22. It is true that the new OEC volumes appear to have purged the “fair game” term. Evidence strongly indicates, however, that the organization has never purged the aggressive behaviours that went along with the term regarding “the treatment or handling of an “SP” such as Mr. Padgett.
23. Evidence that the aggressive behaviours continued after Scientology published the new volumes in 1991 comes from an examination of the confidential Scientology publication “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat Checksheet,” dated 1991.
24. On p. 5, the person is required to do a demo[nstration] of the statement, “Why the only way to defend anything is to attack.” This attitude bodes ill for critics such as Mr. Padgett, regardless of the accuracy of their comments.
25. In the 1991 “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat Checksheet,” a person on this course was required (on p. 26 #25) to read “HCO Exec Ltr [Hubbard Communications Office Executive Letter] 27 Sept[ember] 65, “Amprinistics.” This Executive Letter discusses a number of people and “splinter groups” that supposedly took Dianetics and Scientology material. On the first line of p. 3 of that document, it says, “Treatment: They are fair game, can be sued or harassed.” I realize that the Church of Scientology International reissued a revised version of this Executive Letter on 24 September, 1983 , and that the revised version omits mention of “fair game” and accompanying suits and harassment. The “Full Hat Checksheet,” however, did not list this revision (as it did with other items) when identifying the required reading, but instead listed the earlier version containing the “fair game” statement.
26. An L. Ron Hubbard article entitled, “The Scientologist[:] A Manual on the Dissemination of Material,” appears on pp. 151-171 of L. Ron Hubbard, The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology, Volume 2 (1954-1956), Copenhagen and Los Angeles : Scientology Publications, 1976. It first appeared around mid-March, 1955 in Scientology’s Ability Major 1 magazine. This book is part of a twelve-part series now known as the (old) Tech volumes or the old “red volumes” because of the colour of their covers. Serious Scientologists owned the entire set, and all Scientology organizations had copies because members had to refer to the books often in order to identify proper auditing (which is a form of counselling) procedures. Indeed, this item is required reading in the 1991 “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat” course, as indicated by its inclusion on p. 4 of the “Full Hat Checksheet” under Section D: Department 20.” This department is the Department of Special Affairs, which replaced (and in some policies and personnel, continued) the old Guardian’s Office, which was notorious for its use of lawsuits in attempts to silence critics.
27. The paragraph instructing Scientologists to defend only by attacking, even in a court of law, outlines the behaviour that I believe explains many of the current legal and social situations burdening of Mr. Padgett. It states:
28. The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law. NEVER BE INTERESTED IN CHARGES. DO, yourself, much MORE CHARGING, and you will WIN. Don’t ever let them have any other thought than that Scientology takes all of its objectives (p. 157).
29. Moreover, the second-last paragraph on that same page contains two key sentences for understanding Scientology’s attitude toward lawsuits:
á The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will be generally sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, ruin him utterly (p. 157).
31. I note that on p. 5 of the Executive Directive Office of Special Affairs International (1991), Investigations Officers were instructed to study the Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter from August 15, 1960 entitled, “Department of Government Affairs.” That Policy Letter instructed Scientologists:
32. [i]f attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. Peace is bought with an exchange of advantage, so make the advantage and then settle. Don’t ever defend. Always attack. Don’t ever do nothing. Unexpected attacks in the rear of the enemy’s front ranks work best (p. 484 in old OEC 7).
B. USE OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM AS PART OF SCIENTOLOGY’S FAIR GAME HARASSMENT OF OPPONENT THOMAS PADGETT
á Much of the harassment that Mr. Padgett has endured while engaged in legal actions with his former wife, Laura Vannoy Padgett, has been committed by anonymous perpetrators. Consequently, I cannot say with certainty who the perpetrators were. One incident, however, strongly indicates that perpetrators were Scientologists. In the police report filed after Mr. Padgett found that items inside his garage had been vandalized, the officer stated, “written on the newspaper sheet in print were the words, ‘SHUT THE FUCK UP'” [underlines in original report]. The underlined letters, ‘SP’ are the same as ‘suppressive person,’ which has very definite meaning in Scientology.
34. A different event, however, demonstrates that Scientology is committed to publically ruining Mr. Padgett’s reputation. On September 8, 2000 , Mr. Frank Ofman, Director of Public Affairs, Church of Scientology , Boston , published a letter in the Cap Cod Times (p. A10). Its first sentence referred to Mr. Padgett pejoratively as “deadbeat dad Tom Padgett.” It erroneously reported that he had “been officially sentenced to five years in jail.” (Mr. Padgett was released from jail several weeks later when the court learned that he had been imprisoned because of an administrative error in the handling of his child-support checks.) The brief letter went on to ask the newspaper whether its failure to report his imprisonment was because it defended Mr. Padgett’s “views that he shouldn’t pay child support? His disregard for law and order? Crime?” The letter ended by giving a membership figure for Scientology ( 8 million) that almost certainly is grossly inflated, and indicated that Scientologists “will continue to apply the principles of L. Ron Hubbard to create a world without crime.” The content of the letter itself, however, indicates that another application of Hubbard’s principles that Ofman was applying involved the ‘fair game’ practice.
35. Another professional has reached the conclusion that Mr. Padgett has been the subject of serious harassment. Practicing Arbitrator G. Preston Doom stated (on March 24, 2001), “[o]ne cannot ignore in reviewing prolific documentation of Mr. Padgett’s life since 1992, that he has been engulfed in vexatious litigation being protracted by his ex-wife which has advanced into criminal charges. Having a felony label placed on Mr. Padgett would completely dash any hopes of him resuming any decent paying job.” Vexatious litigation and the imposition of a felony label are actions in accordance with Scientology’s ‘fair game’ practices.
36. Earlier, in an arbitrator report, Mr. Doom devoted a paragraph to what I am calling ‘fair game’ practices against Mr. Padgett:
There appears t o have been some unusual out-side interference in this progressive career. Based on conversations with Mr. Padgett and careful review of factual documents, one must conclude that impact caused by a[n] unfriendly and non-traditional entity which in many professional corners is regarded as cultic. Unfortunately, this negative influence will no doubt continue until cognizant authority stays with expected intervention” (p. 2).
Most assuredly, that “unfriendly and non-traditional entity” is Scientology as it implements its ‘fair game’ practices.
C. THE SCIENTOLOGY DISCONNECTION POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR MR. THOMAS PADGETT’S EFFORTS TO OBTAIN UNSUPERVISED VISITATION TIME WITH HIS CHILDREN
á Mr. Padgett’s designation as a suppressive person has important implications for the manner in which Scientologists would view his contact with his the children. Again according to Scientology’s definitions, these children would become “potential trouble sources” because of their extended contact with their father (Mr. Padgett). As Scientology defines the term, a “Potential Trouble Source (abbreviated ‘PTS’)” is “[a] person who is in some way connected to and being adversely affected by a suppressive person. He is called a potential trouble source because he can be a lot of trouble to himself and others” (Church of Scientology International [compiler], The Scientology Handbook, Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, 1994: p. 426).
á More specifically, a “PTS Type I” is “one who is associated with or connected to a suppressive person in his present time environment. By ‘connected’ is meant in the vicinity of, or in communication with in some way, whether a social, familial, or business relationship” (Church of Scientology International [compiler], The Scientology Handbook, p. 428).
á According to Scientology doctrine, Scientologists have their ability to progress in auditing damaged by being in contact with suppressive persons via potential trouble sources. Consequently, one accepted Scientology strategy is to attempt to get the Potential Trouble Source to cease contact (called ‘disconnecting’ in Scientology) from the suppressive person. As a Scientology publication states (after discussing how the organization had cancelled the disconnection practice in the past), “the tool of disconnection was restored to use, in the hands of those persons thoroughly and standardly trained in the technology of handling suppressives and potential trouble sources” (Church of Scientology International [compiler], Scientology Handbook, p. 440).
á Consequently, Mr. Padgett has every reason to believe that his ex-wife is attempting to minimize if not prevent him from having contact with his children. In essence, the children would become “potential trouble sources” from that contact, which in turn would cause problems for the mother in her Scientology activities. Indeed, the current situation regarding his children–in which his former wife has sole custody and Mr. Padgett has restricted visitation–amounts, functionally, to being “disconnected” (to use a Scientology term) from his children (given the great distance that Mr. Padgett lives from them). Likewise, Mr. Padgett has reason to fear that his former wife might be attempting to turn their children against him.
D. THE AMERICAN LEGAL COMMUNITY’S UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENTOLOGY’S ‘FAIR GAME’ PRACTICES
á Taking a broad perspective on the issues in this case, American legal scholars are aware of the kind of harassment that Mr. Padgett has experienced. An article by J. P. Kumar entitled, “‘Fair Game': Leveling the Playing Field in Scientology Litigation” appeared in The Review of Litigation 16 No. 3 (1997): 747-772. Kumar correctly reveals that, “[m]uch to the Church [of Scientology]’s chagrin, opponents frequently cite its own founder, L. Ron Hubbard, for the ‘fair game doctrine,’ a revealing statement that may explain the ferocity and zeal of the organization’s litigation stance” (p. 748). Soon afterward he added, “[w]hatever the Church’s official policy on perceived enemies and actual opponents, there is little question that the Church has practiced a confrontational litigation strategy that has frustrated judges as well as opponents” (p. 748). In the context of the case in which Mr. Padgett currently is embroiled, he can count himself as sharing good company with his frustrations.
á Under a section of the article entitled, “Litigation Tactics,” Kumar identified “Relentless Litigation.” About this strategy he wrote, “[p]erhaps the most obvious feature of the Church of Scientology ‘s use of the legal system is the sheer volume of litigation initiated by the Church in both offensive and defensive situations” (p. 749). Mr. Padgett’s insistence, therefore, that he has been the victim of vexatious litigation is in accordance with what members in the legal community already have identified in other circumstances.
á Later in that same section, Kumar identifies another tactic as “Attacking Credibility.” He concluded:
[f]inally, one of the most controversial features of Scientology litigation is the Church’s vehement attacks on the credibility and character of lawyers, even judges. According to a number of Scientology critics, these attacks have run the gamut from legal avenues, such as formal allegations of bias or misconduct or courtroom accusations against parties and witnesses, to extralegal activities such as picketing, paid advertising, and private investigations of opponents. One common tactic is to uncover or accuse individual adversaries of criminal activity (p. 755).
Mr. Padgett, it seems, has been on the receiving end of a predictable Scientology attack, the basic dimensions of which are well-known to the legal community.
á As Kumar realized, solutions to Scientology’s use of ‘fair game’ in legal settings raises difficult issues for the courts. His concluding advice, however, may have bearing on this case.
[T]rial judges possess the power to maintain control of their courtrooms, to broadly construe and vigorously police the requirement of good faith, and to safeguard the integrity of the legal process. In the event of misconduct, they must be willing to exercise that power without hesitation or fear of reflexive reversal. Instead of turning to sweeping reforms, litigants, the legal system and the public must rely on trial judges to preserve fairness, equity, and order in their domain (p. 772).
In my professional opinion, this court has the power to put an end to the harassment that Mr. Padgett has suffered and at the same time reach a just and equitable solution that places the welfare of children as its first priority.
á I have met Mr. Padgett in person, when we both attended a conference in March, 1999. In addition to several conversations with Mr. Padgett during the conference, he and I spoke for quite a few hours (possibly as many as six or so) after the conference was over. Much of that extended conversation was about his legal battles. In this statement, however, I have tried to base my comments almost exclusively on documents.
á I have not received any remuneration or payment for making this statement.
Under penalty of perjury and under the laws of the United States , I declare that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this day of , in
Stephen A. Kent (PhD)