French court to try Church of Scientology

PARIS, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Lawyers say a court case against the French branch of the Church of Scientology could go to trial by year's end.

The Church of Scientology in France was charged with "organized fraud" after a woman alleged she was offered a free personality test on a Paris street in 1998 and then ended up spending thousands of dollars for illegally prescribed drugs and an "electrometer" to measure fluctuations in her mental state, the BBC reported Monday.


The Church, founded in the United States in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, has faced stiff opposition in France and in Germany, where it has been declared unconstitutional, the BBC reported. France categorizes Scientology as a commercial operation, rather than as a religion.

The Church, which has attracted U.S. celebrities such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and the late Isaac Hayes, insists it promotes an understanding of the human spirit and does not exploit its followers.

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