Suit Against Church Whittled

Source: Boston Globe
Date: April 2, 1982

US District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. has dismissed seven of 14 allegations of wrongdoing brought against the Church of Scientology by a Somerville woman and said he will consider whether the First Amendment guarantee of "free exercise" of religion bars some of the remaining allegations in the $200 million class action suit. The claims were filed by a former member of the church, La Venda Van Schaick, 32, who claimed she was induced into joining the church by false representations, defrauded into spending $8000 for materials, subjected to emotional distress, including being locked in a room for two weeks, and was harassed in many other ways. Garrity ordered both sides in the case to submit briefs and affidavits on whether scientology is entitled to protection as a religion. Garrity dismissed racketeering charges against the church, ruling that Congress did not intend the racketeering statute "as a remedy for private plaintiffs alleging consumer fraud."