The Irish Examiner (Ireland), Dec. 4, 2002
By Vivion Kilfeather
A woman who claims she was brainwashed by the Church of Scientology is suing for damages. Dundalk-born Efforts were made to prevent her leaving the organisation, to silence her and to devalue her. The court was also told efforts had been made to intimidate her and to prevent her suing.
Mr Ryan said the court would be introduced to a language of psycho religous-mythical scope and expressions and words with no meaning other than being defined as Scientology.
Ms Johnson had suffered psychological, psychiatric injuries, panic attacks and post traumatic stress disorder, together with loss of short term memory and that condition had been exacerbated by the subsequent illegitimate conduct of the defendants.
The story began in 1992 when Ms Johnson was emotionally upset after splitting with her boyfriend. She knew one of the defendants, Tom Cunningham, a member of the Church of Scientology, who introduced her to “dianetic auditing” of form of amateur psychoanalysis.
Mr Cunningham continually suggested Ms Johnson should go to the church’s Dublin mission in Middle Abbey Street and have a personality test so that she could become involved in Scientology.
The tests involved money and Ms Johnson was not well off. Under pressure she signed up for a “purification run down” an introduction to the church at a cost of £1,200.
Ms Johnson was required to do a medical examination and was sent to a scientolgist described as a doctor. She spent long periods in saunas and was told this was purification. People such as this were described as “raw meat” by L Ron Hubbard, the church’s founder. In March 1994, she started a “Hubbard Dianetic Auditing” course in Dublin and continued at Saint Hill Foundation in Britain.
In December, a team of recruiters from Saint Hill came to Dublin and she was asked how she was going to further her studies. She said she could not afford further payments and was told she should go to her friends or sell her business.
She gave another £100 deposit for a course on a ship in the Caribbean and subsequently signed a contract for one billion years to work for Scientology.
When Ms Johnson got back to Dublin she was subjected to ever more intimidation.
She left the Church in 1994 after being a member for two years.
The hearing, before Mr Justice Peart, is expected to last about two weeks