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Judge orders Scientology leader jailed
Times Staff Writer
Scientology's leader was or-
dered jailed-without bail in Spain
on Wednesday pending possible
charges of engaging in criminal
acts. if convicted, he could face
more than 30 years in prison, offi-
cials said.
Heber Jentzsch, 53, president
of the Los Angeles-based Church
of Scientology International, was
ˇ interrogated by Judge Jose Maria
Vasquez Honrubia.
The judge ordered that
Jentzsch and 10 other church
members be held pending possible
charges including illicit associa-
tion, coercion, fraud, labor law vio-
lations, tax evasion and flight of
capital, officials said.
Bail "won't be allowed in this
case," said Helga Soto, a spokes-
woman at the Spanish Embassy in
Foreign reporters said Ľas-
quez Honrubia told the Scientolo-
gists they could appeal the bail to
higher courts, but "this process
could last months or even years."
The judge also ordered $1.75-
million of the church's assets fro-
zen pending the outcome of the
criminal proceedings.
Scientologists immediately
protested Vasquez Honrubia's ac-
tions and said they would sue,
claiming the judge acted illegally.
The Spanish raid on Scientolo-
gy, which has its spiritual head-
quarters in Clearwater, was the
culmination of a 9-month investi-
gation involving 30 wiretaps and
searches of church offices in seven
Spanish cities.
Police on Sunday detained 70
church members who had come
from 15 countries to attend a Sci-
entology conference in Madrid.
But in the next three days 59 of
those arrested were released --
11 with orders to leave Spain be-
cause they were "undesireable al-
Two of those deported were
Americans, said Bob Meade, press
attache at the U.S. Embassy in
Madrid. One other American, iden-
tified as Gerald T. Finn, was or-
dered held along with Jentzsch,
who lives in Los Angeles, Meade
However, foreign press re-
ports listed the other arrested
American as Tim Gerald Thomas,
42, of Boston.
Spain's investigation of Scien-
tology focused on two of the
group's divisions -- the Civil Di-
anetics Association and Narconon.
Dianetics is the title of church
founder L. Ron Hubbard's 1950
book that established the move-
ment, and Narconon is a Scientolo-
gy drug rehabilitation program
based on megavitamins and sau-
Hubbard, who died in 1986,
wrote that counseling with a lie-de-
rector-like device called an "E-Me-
ter" could rid individuals of
deep-seated psychological prob-
But Vasquez Honrubia told re-
porters that Scientoiogy's opera-
tions were "similar to a pyramid
scheme" to make money and re-
crnit new members to make even
greater profits.
Similar allegations have been
made in lawsuits and criminal
cases in the United States and
Canada. In Spain, the judge said,
the church turned a profit of
$660,000 in 1986, even though it
was supposed to be a not-for-profit
The seriousness of the charges
could mean Jentzsch's spending
more than 30 years in prison ff
convicted, officials told United
Press International (UPD.
As he was taken to face the
judge, Jentzsch told reporters that
he was the victim of "the new
Spanish inquisition."
Soto of the Spanish Embassy
responded that Jentzsch was for-
getful of historical facts. "First of
all, I think we have to be very
careful about history and accusa-
tions," she said. "And second of
all, we have charges of tax evasion
and flight of capital."
Richard Haworth, a Scientolo-
gy spokesman handling press in-
quiries in the United States, did
not return several phone calls
Wednesday. Earlier this week
Haworth told the St. Petersburg
Times, "Whoever is behind these
actions stands to profit by increas-
ing the drug proliferation and ad-
diction expansion."
In Spain, Edith Buchele, the
church's chief officer for interna-
tional affairs, said that the Interna-
tional Criminal Police Organization
-- Interpol -- was responsible for
sending false criminal reports
about Scientology, UPI reported.
Critics of Scientology said the
charges against Jentzsch could af-
fect church operations throughout
the world. They said the church's
ˇ retention of the international pub-
lic relations firm Hill & Knowlton
was consistent with a tradition of
taking the offensive.
For instance, they said, Tues-
day night Haworth appeared on a
Fox television network newscast
in Los Angeles. He had Jentzsch's
4-year-old son at his knee.
According to several people
who saw the broadcast, Haworth
said, "This boy doesn't have a
daddy tonight."
"That's the 'policy -- to at-
tack," said Jerry Whitfield of Los
Angeles, who in the 1970s was
vice president of public relations
for Narconon.
Bent Corydon, author of the
controversial 1987 book L. Ron
Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?,
said, "I think they're in some trou-
ble, and I think they're somewhat
in a panic ....
"There will be people flying in
(to Spain) from all over the world.
They'll spend millions of dollars."