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Portland Crusade

Tim Skog

Silver Meritorious Patron
In 1985 the Julie Christopherson/Titchbourne (hereafter 'Christo') case came to trial in Portland Oregon. It marked the beginning of the Crusade for Religious Freedom and 1000s of Scientologists eventually going to Portland.

Christo was a damages claim case against the Church and LRH. It was for a large sum of money (I don't recall how many million). There were other cases for damages that were also pending at that time, but this was the first biggie to come to trial that I recall.

Background on Damages cases: The Church had in place under DM (Special Unit) a project called Mission All Clear (MAC). It was created about 1982 and its purpose was to handle every damages case or other legal threat so that LRH could someday have a Clear or safe environment so that he wouldn't have to worry about process servers or others coming after him.

When the trial first began I and three others went on a PR mission to Portland to assist the local PR rep there, John Carmichael (ironically John is now the PR in NY, my old post).

I was OSA PR US staff and another one of us was OSA INT, Rudy. Claire Rousseau (spelling?) and Phil (? last name) I could not say which Orgs they were from.

Anyway, Phil and I were the day-to-day PRs and would work with John on trying to establish some more PR area control because it was anticipated there might be entheta coming out during the trial.

Rudy was the Mission I/C and Claire was Ensurance Missionaire. We were under ASI and we reported back daily by telephone conference to msn ops at ASI.

Most of the days were pretty uneventful other than Phil and I going with John to meet another minister from a different church or contact the Oregonian newspaper to see about a meeting.

It seemed that we were more eyes and ears than an actual PR mission.

On one occasion we did get to sit in on a few minutes of the trial, but there was no interesting testimony at the time, just oral arguments between Earl Cooley, the Church's attorney and the Plaintiff's attorney (?name).

The fun stuff didn't start until the trial was over and the jury delivered it's decision in favor of Christo.

Most of ASI higher ups came up that night (including DM) and a major briefing was held. In so many words, we were going to fight the decision and get it turned around and we were going to stay until it happened.

Immediately most if not all of the PAC RPF was sent up to Portland and Scientologists from all over flew into Portland over the next few days all to be part of the Religious Freedom Crusade. We even had some Black Baptist minister who was an ally of the Church come up for a couple days for the demonstrations and speeches.

Supposedly John Travolta flew in one night just to was to the crowd.

Vaughn Young and Heber Jentzsch came up and Ken Hoden. After awhile I began to wonder who was left in PAC or LA.

Demonstrations were held outside the courthouse. In addition rallies were held a few blocks away in a large downtown park. The first few days were the most exciting because it was all so new and there were so many people amassing for this fight to the finish. On the first or second day the Baptist minister gave a speech in the park and afterward everybody sang "We Shall Overcome".

Scientologists continued to arrive and the demonstrating and rallying continued.

The logistics of this Crusade were insane and many of the RPFers stayed in a
large hall owned by the Elks Club or some such group. Where everybody else stayed I have no idea. It truly was an amazing event; Scientologists coming to Portland, even some from other countries.

If I remember correctly, during all this the Judge Laudner went back into the courthouse to hear further post trial arguments from our attorney with the Plaintiff's attorney being present as well. Apparently there was some procedural aspect of the trial or instructions to the jury that Cooley argued could be reversed on appeal.

So the judge was under some pressure in regards to having his decision possibly reversed, as well as the daily demonstration going on outside his courthouse.

With all the Scientologists seeming to take over the downtown it was all a bit overwhelming. And it didn't seem like we would be leaving anytime soon.

Eventually the judge overturned the jury award for some procedural error. I don't recall the exact technical nature of the error.

The Crusade celebrated and eventually everybody went home.

There were some funny incidents that occurred while our mission was in Portland. One such incident was after the jury awarded Christo, but before the reversal by the judge. The Plaintiff's attorney was going to hold a press conference that afternoon and somebody got the bright idea that we should send in someone to cover it as a reporter.

Well lucky me and John Carmichael were picked as the two Freedom reporters to attend this press conference. Of course we had no press credentials or anything that showed we were press. Also, Gerry Armstrong who had been a witness for the plaintiff was at this press conference. Before the conference got underway while we and the real media were sitting there someone asked John and me what media we were with. When we responded Freedom News, Gerry flipped out and said "they're Scientologists." Needless to say we were asked to leave. Of course John and I felt stupid as hell and just walked out with our tails between our legs.

When we got back our Mission ops (who was in Portland at this point) wanted to know how it went and we told her. She thought it was funny. Yep, the yolks on us.

Ironically, it was years later when I was investigating Scientology on the internet that I learned about the records of LRH that exposed him as a fraud.
These were the documents that Gerry Armstrong had revealed about LRH lying about his past. So thank you Gerry and if we ever meet again I would prefer to shake your hand and say well done!

So what came out of all of this was Christo got screwed out of her settlement and a Crusade was created that would later be used at the Wollersheim case.

I wish I could provide more details about this major event but I am going on memory that is 23 years ago. I am sure that people who flew in from outer orgs to be part of the Crusade have interesting memories of this event.

There was one silly PR caper at the end. In fact the Crusade had pretty much broken up and people had gone home.

Somebody thought if we held a stunt display downtown that it would created some goodwill with the townies. So through someone's connections through celeb lines a hollywood stuntman was brought up to Portland for a demonstration of a real Hollywood stunt to be performed at midday. The stunt was the guy jumping off the roof of a downtown building. The trick was to show how it was done for a movie and the special hardware that was used that pulled the jumper up short from hitting the sidewalk. I think he did the stunt twice and there were a handful of townies who came out to see the show. Looking back it was all pretty lame and it wasn't like we were cementing PR area control. The prevailing attitude of the townies was "thank god those Scientologists are gone and we have Our city back."

Later that night the mission went out to dinner with the mission ops. It was a nice restaurant and the perfect place to pull a prank on the mission I/C, Rudy. Rudy had been the prankster throughout our mission, but this time I got him back. This was back in the old days of communications tech and Rudy had a pager in case msn ops needed him to get in touch pronto. It was the type that beeped as well as pulsed. Anyway, while we were all sitting at dinner I excused myself to use the men's room. Next to the men's room was a bank of pay phones, so I called Rudy's pager number and then headed back to the table. Soon enough Rudy's pager beeped and he headed for the phone bank. He called and of course the phone at the end of the bank rang and no one answered. He came back to the table scratching his head and wondering about the number that was showing up in his pager. A short while later I repeated the trick and again Rudy called the phone at the end of the bank. Finally as we were leaving I went ahead to the phone bank and paged Rudy one more time. One more time he came to the phone bank and tried the number and the end phone started ringing. I waited for a couple of rings and then picked up the phone and said "hello Rudy I've been waiting for your call." Rudy loved it and we all had a good laugh.

So, was the mission ready to head back to LA. Not exactly. Earl Cooley, DM and who knows who else had to go to Boston so we ended up having to tag along. Why, I don't know, but we got to stay in a cool highrise condo for one night and than it was back to LA the next day.

So that's the story of the Portland Crusade. Goodnight.:D


Gold Meritorious Patron
Thank you for that story Tim.

I couldn't get time off of work to go, so I donated $1500 so others could go and help to suppress the justice system:duh: Oh hindsight.

you said,
"Eventually the judge overturned the jury award for some procedural error. I don't recall the exact technical nature of the error."

I am curious how this could happen as it seems not the intent of justice.:no:

Maybe some one else can clarify.


Gold Meritorious Patron
I was at Flag at the time. Thankfully, I didn't go. People were sleeping all over the place. And logistics for food was a mess. From hearing other people's stories, I'm so glad I didn't go.


Thanks for that info Tim Scog. It's interesting to read your perspective, and in light of data I've read about the actual case.

I feel somewhat sick/ill about my naivity back then. We were so excited about going and thinking we were doing a good thing, fighting a just cause. Oh my, oh my, oh my! :duh: Such miss guided souls we were at the time!

I looked at on old passport of mine - we were there in late May (for one day), and arrived at the crusade org. It was 'insane' to say the least. Very heavy ethics in the 'crusade org', and they wanted me to start sec checking the 'out-ethics, defiant negative' crew and staff of that 'crusade org' :duh: WTF? Not why we were there! :grouch:. And sec checking at a time like that, in a temporary org put there for the protest? :eyeroll:

Rather than become a 'working installation', I knew we had to get out of there. That wasn't an easy feat, with SO crew with walkie talkies, along the street and at the corner of EVERY block, and when they had our luggage (but that's another story).

I'm still p'ssed off that we had no idea what was really going on at the time, and I still have questions about who was running that 'crusade org'. Hopefully someone who was in there will know, and be able to tell.


I was in a Cl V org at the time. All "non-essential" staff were to go. So we sent a treas guy, our cope officer (who went out-2d, but that is another story) and a few others. I was fortunate to be considered "essential" even though I would have liked to have gone for a week or so.

Here is a link to a Washington Post article about that and other suits going on at the time: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.scientology/msg/4270525212afafc9?pli=1

and a vid: