In Cultology news, according to an October 13, 2002 ddp press release from Munich, Germany:
Study: Scientology possibly a "criminal association"
Munich (ddp). According to an academic study, the controversial Scientology organization has the potential to be a "criminal association." The "Focus" news magazine printed a preview on Sunday of an upcoming article, in which it reported that this is the conclusion come to by an academic investigation as commissioned by the Bavarian State government. The study was reported to have said that numerous activities, plus the internal structure, of Scientology were in conflict with principles central to our legal system. The 680-page report is entitle "Gesundheitliche und rechtliche Risiken bei Scientology" ("Risks of health and law in Scientology").
Many of the courses offered by the organization were regarded as "criminal, illicit practices of medicine." In addition, parts of Scientology were said to fulfill the conditions required for findings of fraud. Based on the form of illicit activity, the research scientists recognized indications for the implementation of an association ban."
The FOCUS article of October 14, 2002 by Thomas Roell and Walter Schuette is entitled
Psycho-Cult vs. German Law
The article states that the government of the Free State of Bavaria paid 250,000 Euro-dollars for the "most comprehensive scientific research to date" on the controversial Scientology psychocult. The 680 page study was four years in the making and is the result of efforts by psychologist Heinrich Kuefner, forensic psychiatrist Norbert Nedopil and legal scholar Heinz Schoech.
The study's legal findings are particularly stimulating. Several of the psychocult's areas of operations and its internal structure are said to be "in conflict to central principles of our legal system." The author were particularly critical of cult members being subject to constant demands of improvements in performance, including cutting off contact to close relatives and having relatively minor infractions regarded as crimes. Many of the cult courses were regarded as illicit practice of medicine, with some texts fulfilling preliminary conditions for fraud. For these reasons the authors saw that conditions of a criminal association were potentially met, and that there was sufficient evidence present to warrant consideration of an association ban.
On studying the effects of Scientology and Dianetics methods, the researchers ran into a brick wall. Scientology had refused to let active members of its organization be interviewed, so the researchers had to make do with former members. The researchers were aware that those who had left would have an overwhelmingly negative opinion of the methods being studied, but there was no alternative available.
The Interior Ministry of the Free State of Bavaria expressed its satisfaction with the findings of the researchers. In particular, they were interested as to the potentially criminal aspects of the organization. It was said that legal alternatives would be carefully weighed, and that these deliberations would set the tone for future dealings with Scientology.