Cos Sued for Fraud and Harassment in Holland

Peter Schilte

Patron with Honors
A weekly in Holland published an article on $cientology. I scanned it and you can find it here:
The translation I made:

The scientology church in Holland was, other than Belgium and Germany, never bothered. But now ex-members file complaints with the police for extortion and blackmail. “Scientology is one big money machine.”

It’s warm on the 5th floor of the scientology curch in Amsterdam. Fach Rozemond puts two cans in my hands. “No, like this. You have to keep your fingers around the cans”. Rozemond sits on the other side of the table. Between us is a flesh colored Hubbard Qantum Meter, one of the most crucial items from the toolbox of the scientology church. “With this we can locate the charges of a pre-clear”, explains Rozemond. “Such charge distorts harmony. It can be caused by the grief someone feels, for instance a loss.” The pre-clear, me, is a person that is not yet clear, a person suffering from all kinds of things from the past.
“Think about people around you”, Rozemond asks. While I picture my family, like a good family man, we watch the needle of the meter standing motionless. Nothing happens. “There! What was that!?” Rozemond shouts, as I want to put down the cans. “What were you thinking about?” The needle all of a sudden moved. “Eh, I think I didn’t think of anything”, I mumble. “Hmmm… the meter measures all sorts of pain, mental and physic”, Rozemond says. She doesn’t seem impressed from what I say. Julia Rijnvis, head of external affairs of scientology Netherlands, saves the situation. “Come, we go downstairs”, she says. “O, one more thing”, Mrs. Rozemond says, “the meter only works when both sides are open for it.”

Complete brainwash.

Welcome to scientology, a religion leading you to a higher spiritual level through the bridge of total freedom according to one, a dangerous cult only greedy for your money and which should be prosecuted according to others. The latter includes Willem Geurts. “I left the scientology church after being in for ten years, 150,000 euro’s in dept (220,500 dollars. Navy).” Geurts lost everything he had: friends, his job, his home. He spent a total of 300,000 euro’s on scientology (441,000 dollars. Navy). He knows of people who have spent lots of money and are now tons in debt. “Almost every scientologist is in debt. Only during the last fifteen years it happened to at least 500 people.”
The decision of the Belgian government to sue scientology was for Geurts the final reason to go to the police and press charges. “I pressed charges on extortion, swindle and practicing not allowed pressure. Because these are the ways scientology gets its money.” Geurts told the police of his experiences with the extortions , like the infamous donations. Geurts: : It is expected you donate to the church. This is how it goes: about 50 people gather at some place, a speakers stand in front of them and says ‘we need 200,000 euro’s for a media campaign. Or to obtain some real estate, it doesn’t matter what. Nobody is allowed to leave before the money is donated. If needed the whole group stays all night. Anyone trying to leave is pushed back in, being told he or she is behaving anti-social. It happened to me.There is tremendous social pressure to make you pay. Sometimes more then one person talk to you at the same time, it is complete brainwashing. They continue until you get psychotic and begin making mistakes. When you promised to donate, you have to confirm it in writing. When necessary, five people surround you. On the paper you sign it reads that you voluntarily donated and there is nothing you can do about it. Subsequently they escort you to the bank. When the money isn’t transferred on time, members of scientology come to visit you, or phone you, harass you at your job.”

Afraid of law suits

Geurts not only pressed charges for extortion, he also pressed charges for swindle. Geurts: “The church sold me materials, known within the church as original materials. That is very important to study scientology. I found out these materials were altered. I spent tons for these materials. I want my money back. As far as I am concerned, this is swindle.” A small part of his money Geurts got refunded. After he left scientology, Geurts decided to found an organization to demand as much money back as possible: Geurts: “I managed to get refunds in the amount of 500,000 euro’s, of which 26,000 euro’s for myself. I asked an incasso office for advise.”
Geurts wants other ex-members also to press charges. It wont be easy, because many ex-members are afraid of law suits. “The church always goes to court for long lasting court cases. Most people can not afford that.”
Geurts: “Scientology is one big money machine. The first book I ever bought I payed 300 guilders for (200 dollars. Navy). The following books only were more expensive. Prices of courses you buy also increase very fast. They cost you thousands of euro’s, up to 50,000 for courses that last one year (73,500 dollars. Navy). Then you have audits. They run from 1000 up to 2000 euro’s an hour (1470 up to 2940 dollars). Someone wanting to reach clear needs 250 hours of auditing. Costs run into tons.” He doesn’t understand scientology is let free to do what it likes to. “Judicial authorities should invade them. They should confiscate the archives the church keeps of its members. They yse it to blackmail tehir members. When the authorities would talk with ex-members, the end of scientology would be very near.”

Anonymous phone calls

A person very familiar with the methods of organizations like scientology is exit-counselor Sjoukje Drenth-Bruintjes. The past years she assisted dozens of people who got into trouble because of scientology. Victims contacting her have very similar problems, Drenth-Bruintjes says. “They experienced threats, anonymous phone calls. People get unexpected visitors to their door. Clients are chased on the highway. But what worries me the most: people seem to suffer from identity uncertainties, like what one sees with victims of psycho-tricks.” People contacting Drenth-Bruintjes sometimes have lost everything. Drenth: ”Often their social environment falls away, their friends, family, job, because these are considered hostile.” What happens many times is that complete families join scientology. “Children included. When one wants to leave, chances are this person is disconnected.” One client told Drenth-Bruintjes he paid 20,000 euro’s (29,400 dollars. Navy) for a week course. “This person lost his home.” 20,000 euro’s for a course of a week, more or less paid under severe social pressure, isn’t that criminal? Drenth-Bruintjes: “Very often there is much more money involved in the courses than the client possesses. Leading to financial problems. I am not a lawyer, but I believe this is not considered criminal by Dutch law. Point is that Dutch law assumes these choices are made voluntarily. Not considering these people are subjected to destructive control techniques.”

Previous life in the mid ages.

Apart from Geurts and Drenth-Bruintjes, Peter Steenkamp confirms that several ex-members of scientology are in sky high dept because of the massive social pressure. Steenkamp is active in Ron’s Org, a group of people that consider themselves as liberal scientologists. Steenkamp: “I know ex-members who are in dept for tons. These people are declared bankrupt.” Steenkamp confirms a so called audit costs up to 1000 euro’s (1470 dollars. Navy). Although Steenkamp is very critical to scientology as an organization, he believes in the methods. Steenkamp: "Scientology helped me to overcome my depressions. I found out I suffered depressions at the age of 3. I then went back to my past lifes and discovered the source of my depressions lie in a past life in the mid ages. From then on my depressions were gone.” Peter Steenkamp leads audit sessions with friends and acquaintances, where he goes back in sessions to events in the past. By now Steenkamp could help about thirty people.
Not only the high prices, also the censorship by the scientology church annoys Steenkamp. “The church has an ethics officer. Doing things you are not supposed to do, you are sent to him. It happened to me. I read information on the internet, which wasn’t allowed per the ethics officer. I then said: “I was in university, I decide for myself what to read and what not. I was then told to leave.”
Julia Rijnvis of the scientology church confirms that certain parts of Hubbard’s teachings are confidential. Rijnvis: “Material of the higher levels on the bridge to total freedom are only for advanced members. It is the same with chemistry: you cannot let people use the knowledge of 6th grade in 1st grade. We say: it is not right for your understanding to look at such information, not even when seen on the internet. When people do, and by misunderstanding start to ridicule, and undermining the church, we then declare such person a SP, a suppressive person, as a last resort.”

Largest fraud file

While in Holland scientology is left alone, in neigbouring countries the cult is under siege. In Belgium judicial authorities decided to sue the church. It is accused of being a criminal organization. Fourteen members are suspected to have committed swindle and extortion. Furthermore, there would be false contracts and there would be the practicing of medicine without license. The charges by the Belgian Judicial authorities result in the largest fraud file ever against scientology. The law suit in Belgium is not a coincidence, because the authorities started a parliamentary research commission in the nineties which resulted in 1997 in a inches thick report: “Policies to fight unlawful practices by cults and the dangers of it to society and individuals”. As a result of the report, Belgian authorities decided to found two organizations: one to research and watch dangerous cults, the for every individual accessible IACSSO, and a so called Administrative Coordination cell which coordinates its work with national security organizations. Belgian MP Luc Willems, in 1997 reporting on behalf of the parliamentary commission, knows the methods of scientology very well.”The organization lures people in, and gives them a personality test. He then is offered a course which doesn’t cost much money and gives him a very good feeling after finishing. He then is offered more courses to help the person to become a free human being. These course increase in price rapidly.”
Although the parliamentary commission advised in 1997 to make brainwashing and mental manipulation punishable, it is today still not possible to prosecute organizations which abuse vulnerable people. “In France, contrary to Belgium, cults are forbidden and several scientology members were prosecuted and sentenced.”

War in Europe

In Germany scientology also is strictly monitored. A special security service to protect constitution observes the church now for many years.Leading politicians, among them Bavarian secretary Günther Beckstein, demand scientology to be forbidden. Apart from that, Germany has an organization, payed by the government, handling scientology.Hamburg has a special commission handling scientology which is led by Ursula Caberta. She is the author of “Schwarzbuch Scientology", which was published in august, in which she pleas to forbid scientology because it is not in accordance with the German constitution. Canberta: “Scientology is an anti-democratic political movement.” Every week she is involved with ex-members who report to her they are in debt. On a regular basis she assists people who merely have to go underground after they left the church. According to Caberta scientology is a very aggressive cult. “Countries and organizations critical to scientology are called in scientology-language “the Fourth Reich” and should be attacked by them.” Scientology opened one of its largest European bureaus in Berlin, a 6 story high building with 4000 square meters of space. With this building scientology wants to give acte de présence in one of Europe’s largest cities.According to Caberta the opening of this building is part of a new offensive to conquer Europe. In the past years scientology also opened large bureaus in London, Madrid and Brussels. Caberta: “Scientology aims for more power in Europe. That is why the Brussels bureau is close to the European parliament. Last year a spokesman of scientology said during one of their congresses that they were "at war with Europe”.
While there are information points payed by government in Belgium and Germany, Holland has nothing alike. While in Belgium a parliamentary commission led to the founding of other organizations, in Holland the last report from parliament about cults dates from 1986. In this report that the practices of scientology seem not in accordance with two important rights: freedom of religion, and respect for the individual‘s life. Since nothing happened.

Information and Security Service (AIVD)

The scientology church is not monitored by national security AIVD, while in Germany it is.A spokesman for the AIVD said that in the nineties an investigation was done to the dangers of cults in Holland and that the AIVD concluded there were none. So in Holland there is no governmental involvement, there are no law suits. It seems politicians are not interested in scientology’s practices. Remarkable, because scientology is a strict hierarchical, international branched organization which doesn’t operate in Holland different from how it operates in other countries.
According to Sybrand van Haersma Buna, Christian Democratic MP and spokesman for the Judicial department, “the judicial authorities cannot invade an organization without reason.”Van Haersma Buma: “But when someone pays 20,000 euro’s (29,400 dollars) for a weeks course, , that doesn’t seem normal. Social pressure can evolve into unallowed pressure, and that is punishable under Dutch law, and so are misleading and threats.” Van Haersma Buma: “It is important people press charges when this happens. It could be a good reason for the judicial system to come into action.”
Exit counselor Sjoukje Drenth-Bruintjes is afraid Dutch government has no idea about the daily practices of scientology. “This moment government seem to have no idea about practices like destructive control techniques. People however can have enormous influence on others. Individual rights, identity and free will can be taken away. That is dangerous for every individual, and therefor for society. If the government doesn’t take this very serious, because they are not aware of its existence and the impact of such psycho tricks, you can not blame them for doing to little.
What we do is by no means no 007 nonsense, as some people think. People are destroyed.

(The names of Willem Geurts and Peter Steenkamp are not real names.)

In the little part top right on the 3rd page:

Church of the stars

Scientology is popular among celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Isaac Hayes, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Presley and pop artist Beck. In Holland dentist Hans Beekman from Laren is also a member of scientology. He is known as the dentist of many members of the Royal Family.
BTW, it is not clear how many members scientology has in Holland. Julia Rijnvis speaks of “hundreds of people coming by, while thousands attended courses.” It is also not clear how many members there are worldwide. Peter Steenkamp thinks “it must be millions”. Geurst thinks 40,000 at most.

For additional information:

(Sorry for possible typo's.)
Pleas note that the reporter never used a capital in the CULT's name!