by Tony Ortega — Village Voice
Six years ago, when I was a reporter at New Times LA, I’d written several stories about Scientology (Los Angeles is one of its headquarters), and I was about to uncork the longest one yet—a 7,000 word piece about an embarrassing, $8 million defeat Scientology had just suffered, when the weekly paper suddenly folded.
That unpublished story has been sitting in storage ever since. Fast forward to 2008, and the world of reporting on Scientology has changed radically, thanks in part to the lunacy of Tom Cruise, but also in part to a worldwide, leaderless movement that calls itself Anonymous. Ravenous for any information about L. Ron Hubbard’s strange organization, Anonymous scours the world for the least tidbit about Scientology.
Well, here was a pretty meaty morsel just sitting in my hard drive. It’s still a substantial bit of reporting, and it fills in some gaps in the historical record of one of the most humiliating court losses Scientology has ever suffered.
Originally scheduled to be printed in October 2002, the piece follows. (It’s unchanged except for updates in [brackets].) This material may come as a revelation to some readers, but even for the know-it-alls at Anonymous, there are juicy bites. — Tony Ortega