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Subject: Big Suprise Woman accuses Scientology guard of threat St. Petersburg Times Friday October 20, 1995 By Jane Meinhardt
Date: 24 Oct 1995 14:16:42 +0100
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Woman accuses Scientology guard of threat
St. Petersburg Times
Friday October 20, 1995
By Jane Meinhardt
CLEARWATER - A Mexican woman has alleged that the Church of
Scientology's security chief chased her and threatened to kill her
for leaving the church.
The case has been referred to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's
Office; no charge has been filed. A statement from a Scientology
spokesman said the security guard has been suspended during a
The police investigation began Sept. 28 after Naxilly Sofia
Perez-Morales, 22, called 911 about 7 p.m. from the Post Office on
According to a report by Clearwater Detective Tom Miller,
Perez-Morales complained that she had been threatened by a
Scientology security guard, but she was initially afraid to speak
to detectives because church members told her police worked "hand
in hand" with them. The report's cover sheet indicated that
Perez-Morales, who could not be reached Thursday, did not wish to
Miller's report described her as shaken. She told detectives she
was recruited as a church member by a friend in Mexico and that she
moved to Clearwater, Scientology's international spiritual
headquarters. But she said she had been harassed continuously since
she broke what she called her "billion-year" contract with the
She told Miller that a Scientology security guard had said to her,
"You're a suppressive, you denigrated the church. We're going to
kill you! You will be dead!"
Church spokesman Brian Anderson said Thursday that the police
report was inaccurate and illegally "leaked" to the media.
In a written statement, he said Perez-Morales had been a
Scientologist for 1 1/2 years before coming to Clearwater. She left
the church in June after working there about three months. Anderson
said she misrepresented facts, which disqualified her as a member.
"When the working relationship of Ms. Perez-Morales was terminated,
the church was very concerned that she return to Mexico and not
make false representations about her immigration status as she had
only been legally in the country based on her working for the
church," the statement said.
He said she completed five courses while on a training program.
Perez-Morales said that instead of the free classes she was
promised, she was put to work renovating the old Clearwater Bank
building and was injured. She told Miller she was belittled by
other church members for her work pace and asked to work longer
than 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in maid service at the Fort Harrison Hotel,
according to the police report.
Anderson said he could find no record that Perez-Morales was
injured while at the church. Members work about eight hours a day
and study 2 1/2 hours a day, he said.
"It is church policy and done on the basis of a prior written
agreement that persons who terminate their staff relationship with
the church are to pay for the training they received free of charge
while a staff member," his statement said.
Perez-Morales said she decided to quit after having some kind of
temporarily disabling medical problem. She stayed in Clearwater,
but moved often because of conflicts with church members, according
to Miller's report.
On Sept. 28, Perez-Morales went to the Fort Harrison Hotel to watch
the children of a friend. A former supervisor saw Perez-Morales and
A security guard identified by police as Bill Johnson, 44, yelled
at her about owing money to the church and escorted her out of the
building. She alleged that Johnson followed her, called her obscene
names, told her she was in the United States illegally and
Frightened, Perez-Morales ran into a martial arts school at
Cleveland Street and Garden Avenue. Jim Bridgeforth, owner of
Clearwater Martial Arts, said a Hispanic woman who was crying came
into his school.
"She said somebody was following her," Bridgeforth said Thursday.
"She asked if she could stay and sat down with some of the
Concerned about protecting the children in his class, he went
outside and saw a man in a uniform. The man left after speaking
briefly with Bridgeforth.
"He looked like a security guard," Bridgeforth said. "He said
something about her trespassing. He never came in. It all took
place in about 30 seconds."
After Johnson left, Perez-Morales called police from the post
Johnson told detectives he was recently made head of the church's
security. According to the church's statement, Johnson was security
chief "on a temporary basis."
Miller's report stated that Johnson said he was angry at
Perez-Morales for leaving the church after she got a visa as a
student of Scientology. He also said she was talking to other
Scientologists about leaving the church.
Johnson said he followed Perez-Morales to tell her she owed the
church money. The report said he admitted calling her obscene
When detectives asked Johnson if he ever threatened her, he said he
did say something "about killing her if she did not leave the
country," the report said.
Tampa lawyer Paul B. Johnson, who represents the church and
Johnson, said church records show Perez-Morales had a religious
worker's visa that expired Aug. 21. He said it is the church's
practice to advise people who have left the church that they have
to return home.
The lawyer said his client did not chase Perez-Morales or yell
obscenities, but did say something about killing her.
"It was just an expression, not a threat," the attorney said.
"Admittedly, it was inappropriate, but it was not a crime. He had
no intent to hurt her. He was exasperated with her. The whole thing
has been blown out of proportion."