Scientology had Mark arrested by off duty Chicago police officers while Mark attempted to conduct a video interview by two dentists who had been defrauded by Scientology to the tune of $100,000.

The dentists had been trying for two years to recieve a refund of $20,000 for Scientology courses they had never taken. Scientology refused to give them the refund. After the dentists contacted the Lisa McPherson Trust, it was arranged that Mark would fly up to Chicago to conduct an interview so the couple could share their story.

The Chicago Police Department had helped arrange a meeting between the dentists and the Chicago Scientology Org on the evening of January 25, 2000. Mark went along to videotape a brief interview with the couple before and after their meeting.

  When they arrived at the Chicago Org, two off-duty officers, dressed in black leather jackets, ran out of the front door of the Org. They raced past the dentists and grabbed Mark by his arms. Within seconds, they had arrested Mark for trespassing even though Mark was on a public sidewalk the entire time.

After being placed handcuffed into the back of a squad car, Mark spent four hours in a jail cell at the Belmont and Western precinct until released on $75 bail. When Mark reclaimed his possessions from the police, everything was returned except his videocamera which had been placed into property lockup and supposedly shipped to another location.

The following day, Mark returned to get his camera and was sent from one location to the next before finding it back at the Belmont and Western precinct. When the camera was finally returned from the police lockup, the videotape had been removed from the camera. Although official requests were filed to protect the videotape as evidence, the tape was never recovered.

The State tried to place the blame for the disappearing tape on Mark or the dentists but the camera, which recorded the entire event and arrest, was running and recording as the police took it into their possession.

By the time Mark returned to Clearwater, Florida, Scientologist PR representatives Pat Jones and Al Buttnor had been showing Mark's mugshot from the arrest to neighboring businesses, warning them that Mark was a criminal.

Scientology assigned Elliot Abelson, one of their top attorneys, to handle the case. He flew to Chicago repeatedly to hold meetings with the state attorney. He provided them with enough "Dead Agent" material to at one point convince them to add charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and battery against a police officer and to treat the incident as a hate crime.

By the time the case went to trial it was once again a simple misdemeanor trespassing charge. Most such cases are thrown out as being too trivial to try in court or the defendant chooses to plea guilty for a small fine but Scientology put enough pressure on the State that they took it to trial.

Mark fought the charge and, in the end, won the trial. It took over a year for it to get to court and cost a lot of time, money and energy to prevail but it brought out into the open the tactics Scientology will use in an attempt to prove that their critics are "criminals."

In the end it took just 25 minutes for the jury to find Mark "Not Guilty."


November 17, 2000 pre-trial hearing transcripts

February 5, 2001 Opening transcripts

February 6, 2001 trial transcripts Vol #1 

February 6, 2001 trial transcripts Vol #2 

 Excerpt of dentists' testimony from February 6, 2001 transcript.



An announcement to the newsgroup Alt Religion Scientology by Bob Minton.

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