THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA
STATE OF FLORIDA
Case No. CRC98-20377-CFANO-S
AFFIDAVIT OF PAUL KELLERHALS
STATE OF FLORIDA
I, Paul Kellerhals, being duly sworn, hereby depose and say:
1. I am over the age of 18. I make the following statements of my own personal knowledge, and if called to testify as to these matters, I could and would do so competently.
2. I have been in Church Security since October 1981. I arrived in Clearwater in late September 1993 to work for the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization (“FSO”) and was administratively senior to the Security Force from that time until May 1996 when I became the Security Chief.
3. In my experience in Church Security I have had to deal with a great deal of harassment, attacks and threats against Scientologists in Clearwater. The environment in Clearwater became extremely hostile and dangerous toward the end of 1996. Attacks Church and individual Scientologists escalated to a level far higher than I had experienced here or anywhere else.
4. Examples of
incidents that have occurred since that time are set forth in the
following paragraphs, based on contemporaneous records in my custody.
I ensured that when appropriate these threats and attacks were reported
to police, that they were documented in police reports and that we
kept the official report numbers on file. Examples of some of the
hundreds of instances of harassment and crimes against our staff and
our property are as follows.
5. On the 26th
of December 1996. two cars drove past the Hacienda Gardens (an apartment
complex for Church staff in Clearwater) and fired several shots in
the direction of the buildings from an automatic firearm. One of the
neighbors reported that one or two bullets had hit his house. The
police arrived on the scene and they pursued the cars that came driving
by again, but apparently did not catch the perpetrators. We heard
nothing more on the matter.
7. In early 1997, faced with religious bigotry and hatred of an intensity I had never before experienced, I invested a great deal of time and Church funds to develop procedures for dealing with bomb threats and other physical attacks against FSO. This required professional consultation and drilling of staff to deal with threats to the Church and its members in the event that any such threat were to be carried out. Continuing to the present. FSO has had to retain former law enforcement personnel who specialize in protective services on a permanent basis to guarantee the safety of the Church. its parishioners and staff.
8. On the 17th of April. 1997. a bomb threat was received by a Church staff member over the phone. The man said, “A bomb has been installed in one of your buses across the street. in a brake line in the rear wheels. It will detonate at a certain speed and a lot of people will get killed.” The police were called, a thorough search was conducted and no bombs were found. The source of the threat was never found by the police. We never heard anything further on the investigation.
9. On the 18th of April 1997, a man wearing a ski mask jumped over the wall into the courtyard of the Fort Harrison Hotel. He left the property after being seen by parishioners and was followed by two Church security staff When the staff members approached him, he pulled out a knife and lunged at them, attempting to stab them. The police were called and he was very belligerent with the police about Scientologists and Scientology and even admitted that he had made bomb threats to the Church in the past.
10. On the 9th of May, 1997, a threatening phone call was received by the Church’s phone switchboard operator. A female voice said, “you know you just killed another person — how do you feel about that? We’re going to run you out of town, we’re going to burn you out!” and then hung up. This was investigated by an arson detective and traced back to a teenage girl from a nearby town who, with other teenage girls, had been reading a recent St. Petersburg Times article regarding Lisa McPherson and decided to make the threat.
11. On the 20th of June, 1997. a sports utility vehicle passed in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel and a passenger of the vehicle tossed several firecrackers into a crowd of Church staff who were waiting for the Church’s bus to take them home.
12. On the 4th of July. 1997. a car drove past the front gate of the Hacienda Gardens, and the passenger threw a smoke bomb over the fence onto Church property.
13. On the 6th of July. 1997. a car carrying two males drove past the front of the Fort Harrison Hotel. The passenger in the vehicle threw a firecracker at the front of the building.
14. On the 3rd of August, 1997, one of the Church staff members living at the Hacienda Gardens reported that he had heard a sound like “an exploding light-bulb.” Investigation found that one of the apartments had been shot at with a BB gun. breaking the window.
15. On or about the 18th of September 1997, a man was charged with assault for verbally threatening to shoot two Church staff. Then, on the 20th of September 1997, the same man attacked two Scientologists on Fort Harrison Avenue. He lunged at one of the Scientologists and slapped the other one several times and spit on him. The police responded to a call and arrested the man for battery. Before the police arrived, the man expressed confidence that the police would support him in his attack because the “Clearwater police hate Scientologists.”
16. On the 14th of November, 1997, a telephone call came into the Church and a man with a deep, calm voice said, “There is a bomb in the Coachman [building], it will go off at three p.m.” The police were called. the building was evacuated with more than a thousand staff and parishioners forced onto the Street, and a thorough bomb-search was done. No bombs were found, but the harassment was extreme, putting all of our parishioners in fear. The source of the bomb scare was never located by the police and we've never heard about further investigation.
17. On the 23rd of December. 1997, a pick-up truck drove by the Hacienda Gardens and one of the passengers in the truck threw a smoke bomb over the fence and onto our property. The truck circled the property and then one of the occupants threw a homemade "acid" bomb over the fence into the property. The bomb consisted of a large plastic bottle full of sulfuric acid into which pieces of aluminum foil had been dropped, creating a chemical reaction and heat to result in an explosion. The bomb made a loud explosion, splattering acid over a large area. The police were called and both the Clearwater police and the Sheriff Forensic Unit responded.
18. On the 28th of January, 1998, a car was driving around the Fort Harrison Hotel, with the driver yelling obscenities about the death of Lisa McPherson. The driver was a white male. He then called the Church and said he was Lisa's brother (Lisa’s brother had been dead for many years) and threatened to kill one of the Church’s staff. The police located the man but the State Attorney refused to file charges.
19. On the 4th of April, 1998, a Church staff member was standing on the corner of Cleveland and Fort Harrison and was hit in the back by a dart shot from a dart gun from a passing car.
20. On the 11th of June, 1998, an unidentified person threw a flare-type firework onto the balcony of an apartment at the Hacienda Gardens.
21. On the 6th of July. 1998, a Church staff member was punched in the face by a drunk on a bicycle. The police arrested him for battery. During questioning he stated several times that he “hated Scientologists.”
22. On the 7th of July. 1998. a pick-up truck drove over the newspaper boxes on the sidewalk in front of the Church’s Fort Harrison Hotel. It then backed up and drove into the hotel lobby smashing through the front doors. which were locked for the night. The police were called, they located the truck and the driver was arrested. The driver was later identified as a Clearwater native who has participated in demonstrations in front of the Church, protesting over the death of Lisa McPherson.
23. On the 4th of December. 1998, a bomb threat was received by the police department on the 911 line. The caller said there was a series of seven devices that had been planted along the exteriors of some of the Church buildings along Cleveland Street. The Pinellas County Sheriffs Office conducted a bomb sweep of the entire area, and a full bomb search was done of our buildings, but nothing was found. The perpetrator was never located and nothing further was heard from the police on the investigation.
24. On the 10th of December, 1998, one of the Church’s staff was approached by a man in a car who asked him if he was a Scientologist. When the staff member replied that he was, the man said, “You need to find yourself a new town, buddy! I'm giving you a fair warning! I’ll be back!” Also on the 10th of December 1998, a Scientology parishioner was hit by a half-full can of coke thrown from a truck.
25. On the 1 1th of December, 1998, the child of a Church staff member was punched in the face by a local man.
26. On the 1 5th of February. 1999, a man came to the front doors of the Fort Harrison Hotel and told a staff member that if we didn’t call the police, he would hurt someone. He continued to attempt to start a fight until the police came and arrested him for drunk and disorderly conduct.
27. On the 25th of February. 1999, an unidentified man made threatening phone calls to the Church on two occasions. He told the receptionist he was going to torture him and chop his legs off and stated that all Scientologists should die. In the second call, the man said angrily. “Go fuck yourselves, go kill yourselves!” and hung up. This was reported to the police but we never heard back on the investigation.
28. On the 10th of April. 1999, a Church staff member was hit and run over by a car which then fled the scene. The staff member was hospitalized with multiple fractures to his right arm.
29. In October 1999, a series of anonymous letters were sent to Church executives in Clearwater, threatening violent assaults on the Church. One letter mentioned building an “arsenal” and that C4 explosives with remote detonating devices had been placed in our new building under construction, to forward a “jihad” because of Lisa’s “cruel death”. It brought that buildings construction to a halt, required the evacuation of non Scientologist contractors, and the need to bring in both local and Federal (FBI) law enforcement to inspect the entire site (including the use of bomb sniffing dogs) to locate any explosives that were said to have been planted. The police were provided the name of the suspected perpetrator. We never heard anything back on the investigation. (Ex. 1)
30. On November 1, 1999, the owner of the local anti-religious hate group, the Lisa McPherson Trust Inc., struck a Church staff member with a picket sign. The assault resulted in the entry of a restraining order against the group to stay at least 10 feet away from all Church buildings, and the filing of criminal charges against the assailant.
31. On November 22. 1999, a Church staff member walking on Fort Harrison Avenue to the church was approached by a pick-up truck. The passenger in the truck threw a cup of soda on the staff member and sped off
32. On 16th of February. 2000. an anonymous message was sent to the “Scientology.org” internet site, stating. "We are going to start killing Scientologists, be extra alert to any psychos around, they might have been sent here for this purpose.”
33. On three occasions since I have been Security Chief at the FSO. I have been threatened and another Church staff member has been threatened with felony arrest by Clearwater Police Officers, when there was no reasonable or arguable violation of law. The threats appear to arise out of pure bias. I have also been present during several police investigations of criminals who have made attacks on Church staff members and individual Scientologists and in each case the assailant spoke to the police as if they were allies in their assaults against Scientolo2ists. as if it were a well known fact that police would side with them against any Scientologist.
34. This affidavit is only a summary of incidents of harassment and threats made to individual staff members. There are many, many other incidents of vandalism or damage to property, which literally number in the hundreds.
instrument was acknowledged before me to be true and correct to the
best of his ability this 21st day of March 2.000. by Paul Kellerhals.
He is personally known to me and did take an oath. Notary Public in
and for the State of Florida
Notary Public - State of Florida My Commission Expires Oct 10. Commission # CC878437