Spokesmen for the Church of Scientology say a raid...


TORONTO -- Spokesmen for the Church of Scientology say a raid on their headquarters by 100 Ontario Provincial Police officers, some wielding sledgehammers to break down steel-reinforced doors, was instigated by psychiatrists and former church members.

The police, armed Thursday with a 15-page two-day search warrant signed by Chief Provincial Court Judge Frederick C. Hayes, searched the church's offices, located on four floors of a downtown Toronto building, as part of a two-year investigation related to tax and consumer fraud, the OPP reported.


In a statement read by spokesman Scott Carmichael, the scientologists charged that complaints from former members of the church were behind the police investigation. He suggested that psychiatrists, angered by the church's stand against electro-shock treatment, may have encouraged the action.

'Some years ago we performed a major reform within the church to clean out members who had violated church policy,' the statement said. 'We have found that these people have in turn gone to the government and complained about acts they themselves committed in violation of those church policies.

'Psychiatry has raised a hue and cry against our religion ... and we cannot help but wonder if they do not lie in the background in this incident.'


Carmichael said it was the first police raid of a Scientology office in Canada.

Police, aware of accusations that unnecessary force was used by U.S. law enforcement officers in similar raids on the Church of Scientology in 1977, videotaped the operation.

The police arrived in three buses and rushed into the building where 40 Scientologists were present. Where they found a locked door, they called for it to be opened. If their order was not heeded, they smashed the door down.

But damage is said to be minimal and Scientologists said the officers were well-behaved. No arrests were made.

Teams of accountants have begun poring through voluminous Scientology files.

Scientology public executive secretary Belinda Macklam, 24, said the warrant authorized the seizure of one copy of any book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, various policy letters written by Hubbard and confidential files compiled by counsellors on members. The counselling files contain detailed 'personal and confidential' informationabout members' problems, she said.

The Scientologists were allowed to post an observer in every room as long as they did not interfere with the investigation, said a police spokesman.

The church says it has 500,000 members in Canada.

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