Chief Of Police Fires Warning At Scientologist

Source: St. Petersburg Times
Date: April 1, 1994

by Ned Seaton

Police Chief Sid Klein is warning a prominent Church of Scientology official not to interfere in a police investigation again.

Richard Haworth, Scientology's spokesman in Clearwater, could have been booked into the county jail March 24 for obstructing an investigation into an alleged battery of a Scientologist that night, Klein said Thursday in a letter.

Haworth was not charged only because of the "training, patience and professionalism" of a police officer involved in the incident, Klein said.

According to a police report, Haworth intervened when police were investigating a shoving match between John M. Maher, a Scientologist, and Paul T. Irvin, identified as a transient.

Haworth demanded that Irvin be arrested for assault and battery, the police report says. Police said there had been no battery and that they could make no arrest because they had not seen any crime.

Haworth was told several times to stop interfering with the investigation, the report says.

The next day, Haworth met with Lt. Frank Daly.

In a memo to Klein, Daly said he was surprised by Haworth's conduct and described some testy exchanges after Haworth asserted that officers were not doing their jobs and should have made an arrest in the case.

"We can't just arrest everyone we suspect of a crime," Daly said he told Haworth.

"At that Mr. Haworth became very irate and slammed his fist onto the table stating 'I don't want to hear can't,' " Daly's memo says.

Haworth ended the meeting by standing up, pointing at Daly and yelling "that he would continue to fight for safe streets even though the Police Department would not," the memo says.

Klein's letter to Haworth says: "I will not allow any member of the Clearwater Police Department to be bullied, brow-beaten or threatened, particularly when such actions interfere with a lawful investigation. In the future, if you have doubts about the conduct of a Clearwater police officer and choose to meet with a supervisor, then you should learn to control yourself in a civil, lucid manner."

Haworth said Thursday that "the question we need to ask is 'How safe are the streets of downtown Clearwater?' "

The matter grew out of a confrontation at Cleveland Street and Fort Harrison Avenue.

In the police report, Maher and two witnesses - also Scientologists - describe the incident this way:

Irvin, the transient, asked Maher for money as they were waiting to cross the intersection of Cleveland Street and Fort Harrison Avenue. When Maher said no, Irvin bumped, pushed, grabbed and insulted Maher.

Maher pushed back and a shoving match developed that continued as they crossed the street. Maher, fearing a fight was going to break out, telephoned a Scientology security guard. No fight developed; Maher was not injured, and he did not want any action taken.

Irvin's version is as follows:

He asked Maher for work, didn't get any, and the next thing he knew, he was detained by the Scientology guard, who told him he was under arrest.

Klein's letter also scolded Scientology for "arresting" the suspect.

"Church of Scientology security employees have absolutely no powers of arrest," the letter says. "To pose as, or to take actions, that may be construed as those of a police officer is not only dangerous, it is illegal."

Relations between Scientology and police have been strained since the organization came to Clearwater in 1975 under a false name and made the city the organization's international spiritual headquarters.

Relations have grown even more testy since the disclosure in January that police have maintained intelligence files on Scientology for 13 years - the most extensive files in the department on any one organization.

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