DECLARATION OF ARNALDO P. LERMA
I, Arnaldo P. Lerma, do declare and state as follows:
1. I am a defendant in the captioned action. I make this declaration in opposition of the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against me and in support of my motion to vacate the writ of seizure and order of impoundment that was entered against me in this action. Except as expressly noted to the contrary, the following statements are made upon my own personal knowledge. I am competent to and could testify under oath to the facts set forth herein if called upon to do so in a court of law.
2. I am a resident of Arlington. Virginia and I am 44 years old.
3. For most of my adult life, I have made my living as an electronics engineer. Since approximately 1978, I have made my living as a freelance electronics engineer and, since approximately 1990, also as a computerized graphical designer. The use of computer equipment is integral to my profession and I have become well-versed in the use of computer hardware, software and the Internet as part of my business.
MEMBERSHIP IN SCIENTOLOGY
4. I became a Scientologist in approximately 1967 or 1968 and was a member of the Church until approximately 1977.
5. From approximately 1970 through approximately 1977, I was a member of the Sea Organization, a branch of the Church of Scientology that consists of members who have pledged themselves to the Church for one billion years. During this period, the Sea Organization assigned me to work in Staff positions at various Church entities, Among other assignments, I served as the Flag Banking Officer or controller for national publications at the American Saint Hill Church of Scientology; I was assigned to mission duties; and I served as a Flag Services "consultant" or salesman and was required to attempt to sell high-priced church services to members. In the latter capacity, I was encouraged to persuade people to give up their savings, mortgage their homes, and borrow money from friends and relatives in order to pay for the church services that I was required to sell. I was not particularly effective at persuading people to give the Church large sums of money and was told by my superiors I needed to "make it go right."
6. Throughout the period of my employment by the Church, I was paid a stipend barely sufficient to meet my daily needs. I depended upon the Church for assistance with housing, food and . other necessities. As a staff member, I was given access to spiritual counseling, auditing and other services without charge. The Church maintained records of the services that I and other members received in order to be able to calculate the total value of those services, which was referred to when a member left as the amount of "freeloader" debt. I knew that it was the policy of the Church that if I ever left the Church, I would be forced to repay the entire amount of any freeloader debt because I had no money of my own. I was afraid of the economic sanction that would be imposed upon me if I left the Church.
7. From the time I first joined Scientology, I was subjected to a constant and gradually increasing effort to suppress my sense of connection to the outside world and to isolate me from my family, friends and lift outside of the Church.
8. I and other members were discouraged from communicating with nonmember friends and with our families if our relatives were not members of the Church. I and other members were discouraged from watching television, reading newspapers or magazines, and from reading books or written materials that were not authorized by the Church.
9. As part of the counseling and auditing processes that I was required to undergo, I was pressured to confess to Church officials my darkest secrete, my moat deeply personal and embarrassing flaws. I was informed that, unless I fully confessed all of my fears and transgressions, I would not develop spiritually and would not be permitted to progress in the Church, This personal information was maintained in a file. My later observations and experiences in the Church demonstrated to me that the Church did not hesitate to use the information contained in such files to control members who were accused of deviating from the Church's rules or doctrines.
10. The Church sometimes required members accused of violating a rule or departing from Church doctrine to participate in a "SEC check." During a "SEC check," Church officials would attempt through interrogation to elicit "withholds" -- further secrets or embarrassing facts that the member might have. I was once falsely accused of being an agent of "enemies" of the Church, and was interrogated and padlocked in a wire cage for an afternoon. I ultimately convinced my interrogators that I was not guilty of the charges, and was released and returned to duty in the Church. This experience greatly increased my fear of retribution by the Church if I were to leave it.
11. Over the course of my tenure in the Church, I successfully progressed to the level of advancement known as "OT III" and, upon qualification for each level, was given training by more "experienced" Church personnel who worked with me using Church documents known as OT I, OT II and OT III. Each time I completed the training associated with a particular level, I was left confused about the true secrets of Scientology, but remained convinced that, if only I were able to progress to the next level, the truth of the religion would be revealed to me. Thus, I desperately wanted access to each successive level of OT training and believed that if I advanced far enough in the Church doctrine, I would be able to justify all of the atrocities that I had suffered.
12. On at least some of the occasions I was admitted to higher OT levels, I was required to sign forms that I was told concerned the confidentiality of OT training. I did not read the forms before signing them. I would have signed anything in order to obtain advancement to the successive OT levels in hopes of having the secret that would make my experiences make sense revealed to me. Similarly, in connection with my assignment to various jobs within the Church, I was required to sign forms that I was told concerned my obligation to keep Church secrets. I do not recall reading these forms and would have signed anything the Church required of me. Indeed, it was common knowledge that a staff member's refusal to sign such a form would have resulted in immediate investigation and discipline, and possibly expulsion. In particular, I was aware of a Church doctrine called "fair game," under which persons who left the Church or were expelled from it could properly be harassed, sued, and subjected to theft or personal injury by Scientologists as a legitimate means of "protecting" the Church. I feared that if would become the victim of "fair game" if I refused to comply with orders to sign confidentiality pledges. Until near the end of my tenure in the Church, I would have done almost anything to avoid expulsion from the Church.
13. Near the end of my tenure in Scientology, I became romantically involved with one of L. Ron Hubbard's daughters, Suzette Hubbard. We obtained a marriage license in Clearwater, Florida, where she was then stationed, and were waiting the required period before proceeding with our marriage. The Church insisted that we break off our relationship and, in exchange for safe passage for myself out of Florida, I agreed to do so.
14. I returned to duty at a church office in New York and, because of the Church's interference in my relationship with Suzette, some weeks later, I left.
15. In approximately 1991, I was contacted by Ty Dillard, a field staff member of the Church, who attempted to "recover" or recruit me back into the Church. In the course of attempting to recover me, Mr. Dillard told me that the Church would forgive my freeloader debt if I rejoined the Church and paid a fee of something like $2,500, When I told Mr. Dillard that I did not have $2,500, he attempted to persuade me to mortgage my home or borrow on my credit cards. I did not rejoin the Church and have no intention of ever rejoining the Church.
16. On May 6, 1991,
Time magazine published an article titled, "The Thriving Cult of
Greed and Power," which described the activities of the various entities
comprising the Church of Scientology and chronicled the allegations of
harassment and abuse made by numerous former members of the Church. A
true and correct copy of the article is attached hereto as Attachment
18. A newsgroup is one type of forum on the Internet for the exchange of information and ideas. Newsgroups typically involve the exchange of documents, commentary and other data or materials between persons interested in the subject of the particular newsgroup.
19. As its name implies, ARS is an electronic forum for the exchange of information and ideas regarding Scientology. Based upon my reading of postings to ARS, users of ARS include current, prospective and former members of Scientology, scholars and other interested persons. Each user can participate in an interactive, continuous dialogue regarding Scientology, its precepts, and the activities of its adherents.
20. Prior to the advent of the Internet and ARS, I was unaware of any public dialogue regarding Scientology or at least there was no active dialogue involving former members and critics of the Church because of the threat of harassment that could easily be carried out by the Church on isolated ex-members. The creation of ARS on the Internet has provided an electronic forum in which former Scientologists and others can responsibly voice their opinions in relative safety, because any actions taken against them as a result of their speech will immediately become known to a wide community.
21. FACTNet, Inc.
("FACTNet") is a non-profit educational and charitable corporation
organized under the laws of the State of Colorado. FACTNet was founded
by Lawrence Wollersheim. Mr. Wollersheim is an ex-member and former minister
of the Church of Scientology.
23. FACTNet's two primary purposes are 1) to serve as an archive for information concerning groups engaged in coercive mind control, including Scientology, and (2) to disseminate to the public accurate factual information and informed opinion regarding such groups, including Scientology. FACTNet acquires commentary, data, and documents concerning groups such as Scientology through submissions from the authors of such materials by purchasing such materials, and by obtaining such materials from public sources.
24 . FACTNet's primary source of funding is the money donated to it by patrons who are concerned about the growing power of cults in this country. In addition, board members sometimes pay some of FACTNet's operating expenses out of their own pockets.
25. Most of FACTNet's information is made available to the public free of charge, often by posting it on the Internet or through its Web Page. I also understand that FACTNet undertakes specific research projects upon request, and charges the requester a fee sufficient to cover any expenses FACTNet incurs in connection with the research project. FACTNet also will provide copies of documents in its public archive upon request, and charges a fee to cover the cost of copying. FACTNet maintains a separate, private archive of materials that it has lawfully acquired but which it does not have permission to copy. This private archive is used purely for scholarly purposes and to the best of my knowledge FACTNet does not distribute copies of works in it.
26. In addition to maintaining its archives, FACTNet publishes a newsletter which provides news and information regarding cults and organizations that employ mind-control.
THE "OT" MATERIALS
27. Although it is
difficult to summarize the tenets of Scientology, Scientologists believe,
as a matter of historical and scientific fact, that every human is surrounded
or occupied by spirits that attach themselves in groups or "clusters"
and negatively influence the life of the person to whom they are attached.
POSTING THE FISHMAN
DECLARATION TO THE INTERNET
29. I first became aware of the existence of ARS in approximately July or August 1994 when I was reading a book about the Internet that included lists of newsgroups.
30. My initial motivation for becoming a participant in the forum on ARS was to locate former friends of mine. Because of the requirement of "disconnection" in Scientology, when a member left the Church, we were required to cease contact with that member. Accordingly, over the years, I had lost touch both with my friends who had left the Church before I did, as well as those who remained in the Church after I left.
31. In my first postings on ARS, I told the story of my own involvement in and experience with Scientology and I invited contacts from other former members. As a result of these postings, I began a series of electronic "conversations" (sometimes referred to on the Internet as "threads") with other former Scientologists struggling to recover from their ordeals within the Church. These former Scientologists included several people who had-once been friends of mine. We exchanged our personal stories about the Church and discussed the Church, its precepts, and our views of the ways in which the Church and its doctrines could be harmful.
32. As I continued to participate in the public discussions on ARS, I became aware that not only former Scientologists engaged in the conversations, but prospective Scientologists, current Scientologists and other interested parties joined the debate. Some participants began to post various documents to the newsgroup, including affidavits and stories of former members for discussion.
33. I have the equipment and capability to scan documents into a computer and this permits me to post them to the Internet. Such equipment can be expensive and not all users of ARS or other newsgroups have this capability.
34. Because my ability and willingness to post public records to the Internet are well-known, I frequently receive unsolicited materials pertinent to mind-control cults, including materials relating to Scientology. In particular, I regularly receive copies of affidavits, deposition transcripts, pleadings and other papers from litigation involving the various Scientology entities. Often, the material is provided to me by anonymous sources. If the material in question appears to me to be pertinent, authentic and in the public domain, I will post the material to ARS for the information and benefit of all persons who participate in the newsgroup. On occasions when I have been uncertain of the material's authenticity but have determined that it was pertinent to the issues with which FACTNet and ARS are concerned, I have posted the material, but in discussion threads expressed my concerns and reservations.
35. Between July 1994 and June 1995, I posted to ARS hundreds of pages of affidavits, pleadings and other court documents related to Scientology. Because the Church is frequently a plaintiff in litigation and has increasingly found itself a defendant in litigation so that the supply of such materials is never-ending. I post these materials to make them available for analysis and discussion, both within ARS and among scholars and others who study and debate the Church and its tenets in classrooms and livingrooms.
36. In addition to posting Scientology-related materials to ARS, in October and November 1994, I also posted many of the materials to America Online, a commercial bulletin board that reached people who were not otherwise aware of ARS.
37. My postings of court documents regularly engender inquiries and comments and I regularly participate in a number of e-mail conversations as well as threads regarding the documents, their authenticity, their significance and what they reveal about the legitimacy of the Church.
38. After I became a director of FACTNet, given my technical capabilities, I volunteered to undertake in my official capacity to distribute to the public via the Internet public records and other documents in the public domain pertinent to mind-control cults, including Scientology. Although many people who criticize the Church choose to remain anonymous, I have not. Therefore, I believe that my undertaking in this capacity is well-known among users of ARS and related Internet groups.
39. In approximately June or July of 1995, I received in the mail an envelope containing what appeared to be a declaration submitted by Steven A. Fishman in an action styled Church of Scientology International v. Fishman, et al., No. 91-6426 HLH (Tx) (C.D. Cal.). The declaration stated on its first page that it was filed in support of the defendants' joint motion for reconsideration of an order transferring the case to Florida and the first page also bore a stamp stating that it had been filed in U.S. District Court on April 9, 1993. The declaration was accompanied by a number of exhibits and other documents, including exhibits that appeared to me to be excerpts from documents or scriptures relating to the levels of Scientology training known as OT I through OT VII. (Hereafter, the declaration, exhibits and other documents accompanying the declaration are referred to together as the "Fishman Declaration.") I believe that the document attached hereto as Attachment B (but which is filed under seal) is a true and correct copy of the Fishman Declaration as I received it, but because the version of it that I posted to ARS has been impounded by the RTC, I have been unable to ascertain for certain that Attachment B is actually what I received in the mail.
40. I previously had heard descriptions of the Fishman Declaration and, because of my previous postings to ARS, I am familiar with the appearance of affidavits and other court documents. Upon inspection, I determined that the documents I had received in the mail likely were authentic copies of the documents filed with the court in the Fishman action. I confirmed my impression in a conversation with Lawrence Wollersheim, during which he told me that the documents came from FACTNet's optical archive, and indicated that the documents originally had been obtained from the court's file. I consulted an attorney who advised me that it was legal to copy court documents. Accordingly, I understood that, because the documents were obtained from a public court file, I properly could post the documents to the Internet if I so chose.
41. After having reviewed the Fishman Declaration, I concluded that it contained significant, newsworthy information and that it was important for members of the public who could not themselves travel to the federal courthouse in Los Angeles to have the opportunity to review this portion of the court's file. I was aware that portions of the material contained in the Fishman Declaration previously had been posted on the Internet, but I did not believe that this Fishman Declaration itself had ever, in its entirety, been posted.
42. Accordingly, on July 31, 1995, I posted to ARS all of the 131 pages of material comprising the Fishman Declaration. I later learned that, because of the quantity of material I was posting, my posting was cued and did not appear immediately on the Internet. Indeed, it did not appear on the Internet until August l, 1995.
43. Because I was not able to locate my posting on the Internet on July 31, 1995, I incorrectly believed that my initial attempt to post the materials had not been successful. Therefore, I reposted the entire Fishman Declaration to ARS again and, when I could not locate that second posting on the Internet, I reposted portions of the Fishman Declaration a third time during the period July 31, 1995 to August 1, 1995. Upon information and belief, all three of the postings in question ultimately appeared on the Internet during the period August 1, 1995 to August 2, 1995.
44. Prior to my posting of the Fishman Declaration on the Internet on July 31 and August 1, 1995, I had seen various postings on the Internet that contained what appeared to be virtually identical materials with respect to portions of OT I, OT II, and OT III. A substantial portion of these postings took place in December 1994. I do not know the identity of the source or sources of these postings.
45. Prior to my posting of the Fishman Declaration to ARS on July 31 and August 1, 1995, I also saw postings on the Internet that contained what appeared, upon information and belief, to be virtually identically materials with respect to portions of OT VI and OT VII. A substantial portion of these postings took place in December 1994 and, because I was not exposed to these OT materials as a member of the Church, I cannot now be certain that the documents were what they purported to be. I do not know the identity of the source or sources of these postings.
46. At no time, other than when I was a member of Scientology or was being recruited by Scientology, have I ever used OT materials for any purpose other than as a basis for commentary about or criticism of Scientology. Since leaving the Church, I have not used OT materials for solo auditing of myself or for providing counseling or guidance to any other person. I have no intention of ever using any OT materials for solo auditing of myself or for providing counseling or guidance to any other person. Indeed, it has been my goal through my participation in ARS to provide the public with sufficient information so that they can decide for themselves whether the so-called "scriptures" of Scientology are appropriate bases for faith or effective technologies for spiritual development.
47. There exists a group of people who refer to themselves as members of the "Free Zone." My understanding is that members of the Free Zone believe that philosophy, religion and techniques for dealing with the spiritual have ideas of value, and members of the Free Zone incorporate portions of various theories and theologies into their practices. I am sympathetic to the philosophy of the Free Zone and, while I believe that efforts at spiritual improvement are important and valuable, I do not believe that the OT materials are necessary or desirable for spiritual improvement.
48. No one associated with the Free Zone has ever asked me to provide them with OT materials or to post OT materials to the Internet. Rather, my decision to post the Fishman Declaration to ARS was motivated by my long-standing goal of providing the public with sufficient information to decide for themselves the true nature of Scientology.
49. I am aware that the Church of Scientology has accused various persons of stealing copies of the OT materials over the years and that the Church has alleged the existence of a carefully planned scheme to acquire the OT materials and to publish them. I have never participated in any plan or scheme to steal or otherwise unlawfully obtain copies of OT materials, nor am I aware of any such scheme or plan. I have not participated in any theft of OT materials nor do I have knowledge regarding any such theft other than knowledge acquired by reading about the alleged thefts on the Internet.
DIGITAL GATEWAY SYSTEMS
50. I am now, and at all times pertinent to this action have been, a subscriber to the Internet access-provider Digital Gateway Systems, Inc. ("DGS"). DGS is one of my co-defendants in this action.
51. As set forth in more detail above in paragraphs 39 to 43, on July 31, 1995 and August 1, 1995, I posted to the ARS the Fishman Declaration. I used the facilities of DGS to do so.
52. I did not notify DGS or any of its employees or agents that I planned to post the Fishman Declaration to ARS prior to making the postings on July 31, 1995 and August 1, 1995.
53. I did not notify DGS or any of DGS's employees or agents that the Religious Technology Center ("RTC") or the Church of Scientology or entities related to them did or might assert a copyright in, or claim trade secret protection for, any of the material constituting the Fishman Declaration.
54. Neither DGS nor any of its agents or employees ever have provided me with a copy of the Fishman Declaration. To the best of my knowledge and belief, neither DGS nor any of its agents or employees ever have provided FACTNet with a copy of the Fishman Declaration.
55. Neither DGS nor any of its agents or employees asked me to or induced me to post the Fishman Declaration to the Internet.
56. I have not posted any portion of the Fishman Declaration since August 2, 1995.
57. Apart from the general subscription fee I pay for access to DGS's facilities, I have not paid DGS, nor provided DGS with financial consideration in any form, with respect to my posting of the Fishman Declaration. To the best of my knowledge and belief, FACTNet has not paid DGS, nor provided DGS with financial consideration in any form, with respect to my posting of the Fishman Declaration.
58. On Monday, August 6, 1995, I notified DGS in writing that I had no intention of posting any further materials to the Internet that are alleged to contain copyrighted "OT' text. A true and correct copy of my letter to DGS is attached hereto as Attachment C.
INCIDENTS PRIOR TO THE SEIZURE
59. On the evening of November 4, 1994, a few days after I had posted a substantial number of affidavits and other Scientology-related court documents to America Online, I ate dinner at a diner near my house, as was my custom. As a regular customer of the diner, I am familiar with and to the other regular customers. That night, a stranger approached me at the diner and offered to buy me a drink. We continued to talk after eating and the stranger continued to buy me drinks. The man eventually told me that he had "a trunk-full of cash" and that he had a girlfriend who was a drug addict who liked to "party." The man spoke of "selling out," and suggested that every person has a price for his or her principles, and that only a fool would not be sensible enough to sell out when the opportunity was offered. I terminated the conversation and left the diner. To this day, one of the regular customers who was in the diner that night and who heard my conversation with the stranger jokes with me about the man and his peculiar statements.
60. Early the next morning, on November 5, 1994, two men knocked on my door. The two men were strangers to me and, when I opened the door, one of them stated his name, which I no longer remember, and then said, "We represent the Church of Scientology." I closed the door, fearing that they had come to harass me or punish me for criticizing the Church on the Internet.
61. After the men left, I telephoned an attorney, who advised me to report the incident to the police and post a description of it to the Internet. I telephoned the police, who said that they would send an officer to take a report and posted a description.
62. Shortly after I telephoned the police, a document arrived over my home facsimile machine. A true and correct copy of the document is attached hereto as Attachment D. As indicated in the documents, I had made some postings to America Online under the "handle" or "profile" Pat Broeker. Mr. Broeker, who had been a close friend of mine while we were both members of the Church, had been a prominent Church official until he lost a power struggle with the Church's current leader, David Miscavige, and then disappeared. I had hoped that, by using his name to draw attention, I might either establish contact with him, or with people who knew his whereabouts. As is indicated by the fact that the Church easily was able to identify me as the author of the posting, I did not intend to hide behind the Broeker name, but merely to use it as a signal, much as the authors of the Federalist Papers used handles such as "Cato" and "Publius" to signal their readers. Other than the allegation that I had posted material under the handle Pat Broeker, all of the allegations in the document that I had committed fraud, illegal or illicit or improper acts are unfounded.
63. Shortly after receiving the facsimile transmission, I discovered wedged in my front door another document. I believe the document was seized by the Church when my home was raided and is amongst a disputed group of materials that have not yet been returned to me. This document purported to be an affidavit by me in which I was to "admit" that I was a drug addict and that I had left the Church because I was "unable to maintain a high enough ethical standard." The document and the demand that I sign it were threatening and I began to fear for my safety, knowing the history of the Church's conduct.
64. Not long after I discovered the document in my door, a uniformed officer arrived and took a statement from me regarding the events of that day.
65. After this incident, I wrote a letter regarding it and sent the letter to a number of news media organizations, including the Washington Post. I described the incident and included with the letter materials related to Scientology. I hoped that someone would investigate and bring the Church's tactics to the public's attention. I was contacted by Richard Leiby, who interviewed me for an article that appeared in the Washington Post on Sunday, December 25, 1994. A true and correct copy of Mr. Leiby's article is attached hereto as Attachment E.
66. After Mr. Leiby interviewed me for the article, from time to time I would come across items on the Internet that I thought would interest him and I would provide him with copies of the items. In addition, on occasion, Mr. Leiby would ask me on a confidential basis to research particular topics on the Internet, which I did. My exchanges with Mr. Leiby regarding this research took place through private Internet communication services and it would not be possible for anyone to have knowledge that I served as a source for Mr. Leiby unless that person had access to the copies of our electronic correspondence stored on my computer disks or on Mr. Leiby's computer disks.
67. On Saturday, August 5, 1995, I received a letter from a lawyer in Chicago who demanded that I stop posting the Fishman Declaration or any similar documents to the Internet. A true and correct copy of that letter is attached hereto as Attachment F.
68. Later in the day on Saturday, August 5, 1995, two women who identified themselves as Sue Taylor and Pat Jones arrived unannounced at my home and asked to speak with me. When they identified themselves as being from the Church of Scientology, I asked them for their permission to audiotape our conversation and they agreed that I could do so. Attached hereto as Attachment G is a true and correct transcript of that audiotape of my conversation with Sue Taylor and Pat Jones. The transcript contains blanks where certain words cannot be deciphered from the recording.
69. As the transcript of our conversation reveals, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Jones came to inform me of the Church's position that my posting of the Fishman Declaration infringed the Church's copyrights. See. e.g., Attachment G at 1-3. I explained to the two women my understanding that, because the material was in an open court record, my posting of the documents to the Internet was not a violation of copyright law. Id. at 2-3.
70. I willingly answered most of the questions put to me by the two women, including regarding my motives for posting the material to the Internet, id, at 4, my past involvement with Scientology, id, at 5-6, and I told the women that I would consider their claims and do some research regarding the law before posting the Fishman Declaration anywhere else, id. at 11. Indeed, I expressly and repeatedly informed the two women that I would not post the documents again until I had verified their status as an open court record. Id. at 17, 24, 31. We parted on what can only be described as a friendly basis. Id, at 31-32.
71. I was aware at the time that I posted the Fishman Declaration to ARS that the Church had recently taken drastic actions against certain former members who had spoken out against the Church and my understanding of those incidents left me with the impression that the Church had or would manufacture evidence e against its critics. My conversation with the two Scientologists who came to my house on August 5, 1995 left me concerned that the Church might attempt to harass me or to steal my records and, in order to preserve a record of the fact that I had posted a court document to the Internet, on the evening of August 6, 1995, I mailed all 131 pages of the original hard copy of the Fishman Declaration to Mr. Leiby at the Washington Post.
72. At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, August 12, 1995, I heard a knock on my door and opened it to discover Warren McShane, the president of RTC, and at least nine other persons demanding entrance to my home. A man who identified himself as a Deputy United States Marshal handed me some papers, told me that a court had ordered that all of my computer equipment and files were to be seized, and then made way for the other persons standing outside my house to enter.
73. Although the papers that I was handed by the marshal on the morning of August 12, 1995, included a writ of seizure, I was not provided until several days later with a copy of the Court's temporary restraining order, nor was I ever provided with a copy of the bond that I understand the RTC was required to post.
74. As soon as the marshal gave the other persons access to my home, a photographer and a videographer, whom I understand to be employed by RTC, immediately began taking pictures of me and my home.
75. The two men who identified themselves as marshals generally remained standing in the foyer, or seated in my living room, or outside my house while Mr. McShane and the other Scientologists and representatives of the RTC searched my house. One of the marshals forcibly prevented a friend of mine who is an attorney and who wanted to videotape the search from entering my house. I ultimately was able to persuade the marshals to let my friend in.
76. The Scientologists searched every room of my home from the basement to the attic, opened every drawer and every closet in my home, looked into boxes, envelopes and other containers of every sort. The Scientologists and their representatives split into groups and searched various areas of my home simultaneously and, therefore, I was unable to monitor what they were doing to and with my property.
77. The Scientologists and their representatives, who were in my home for approximately three hours, carried away many boxes of my possessions without affording me an opportunity to inventory what they were taking. The Scientologists seized virtually all of my computer equipment, including my central processing unit, monitor, optical character scanner, two keyboards, cables and various other components, including inventory intended for resale. They seized all of my computer disks and files, amounting to several hundred disks, including commercially available software such as word-processing, accounting programs and games. Given the contents of those disks and the two hard drives in my central processing unit, the Scientologists seized hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from me. Included among those documents were my personal address lists, my business customer lists and customer records, financial records, personal correspondence, and other documents all entirely unrelated to Scientology.
78. As of this date, I still do not have all of my computer equipment or dozens of my computer disks back, including my "D" drive or my "C" drive. The copy of my "C" drive that was returned to me has been "cleaned" of thousands of pages of material that does not quote the works of L. Ron Hubbard including, for example, hundreds of pages of personal mail.
79. My business has suffered substantially as a result of my inability to use my computer and my inability to access my customers' files. It is too early for me to determine the full extent of the effect of the seizure on my business, however, I have been unable to complete several computer and graphic consulting assignments. In addition, several customers who, to the best of my knowledge and belief, have nothing whatsoever to do with Scientology, have expressed deep concern that their unlisted home telephone numbers and other private data have fallen into the hands of a cult. Whether these customers will, in the future, be willing to entrust sensitive information and data to me remains to be seen. At least one client, for whom I was preparing an order at the time of a raid, have refused to take delivery of almost a thousand dollars worth of hardware that was handled by the Scientologists.
80. In addition, if and when my computer files are returned to me, I will not know whether I will be able to rely upon the integrity of the files. The data and information may have been corrupted, intentionally or inadvertently, while it was held by the Scientologists.
81. In addition to my public communications regarding Scientology, I also participated in several small, private mail groups. Many of the members of these groups, some of whom are former Scientologists, did not wish to publicly identify themselves. For example, one of these private groups is called "Halo Jones" and has 27 members. All of our communications were private. Copies of those communication, along with the names of the members of the group, were on the disks seized by the Scientologists. I am deeply concerned that my ability to communicate with these people has been permanently compromised and I fear for their personal safety. Similarly, among my computer files was a membership list for an organization known as the New Civilization Network, which includes some former Scientologists. Their identities and locations may now being the hands of the Church.
82. Since the date of the seizure and the acquisition by the RTC of my address lists and correspondence, a number of my contacts, including other critics of Scientology, have reported to me that they have begun receiving crank telephone calls. In addition, my mother has reported to me that, shortly after the seizure, she began regularly receiving telephone calls in which the caller would hang up when she answered. My mother reported to me that she was receiving such calls at least twice per day up until the past few days. My mother had not previously received this type of crank call. I have no way of knowing whether this harassment is the result of the raid on my home and the acquisition by RTC of my personal records and I probably never will know. The chilling effect that the raid and these events have had on my relationships with my friends, colleagues and family, however, is palpable.
83. Since the raid on my home, I have been experiencing nightmares that have prevented me from getting rest. I feel like an enemy has been permitted to rape me and I feel as if everything in my home has been soiled by the Scientologists who handled and disturbed nearly everything I own. I do not feel secure in my home and have tried to stay away from my house, particularly at night. Each time I recall the experience of having these Scientologists in my home, I am traumatized anew and find myself reduced to tears and unable to speak. I presently intend to sell my home and move to a new location in order to escape the memories of what took place on August 12, 1995. If the RTC or the Church of Scientology intended to upset and intimidate me, they have half succeeded. However, the Scientologists will not succeed in intimidating me, and I will, never give up my fundamental right to speak out in public, lawfully, on the evils of this cult.
I, Arnaldo P. Lerma, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on this
6th day of September, 1995.