Friday, July 20, 2018
News Roundup

Church of Scientology: The Headley Lawsuits

The HEADLEY LAWSUITS

Former Scientologists Claire and Marc Headley are suing the Church of Scientology in separate actions in federal court in Los Angeles.

Marc Headley, 37, alleges he was the victim of unfair business practices, labor law violations and forced labor, or human trafficking, during his 15 years in the church's Sea Organization.

Claire Headley, 35, alleges the church forced her to have two abortions during her 13 years in the Sea Org. She also claims working conditions at the church's international management base near Hemet, Calif., constituted human trafficking.

Church lawyers have fought both actions aggressively, deposing the Headleys and other former Sea Org members and filing thousands of pages of motions, memoranda and arguments.

Filed in January 2009, the cases are scheduled for trial in January 2011. The church won a key round in April when U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fisher ruled that Claire Headley, employed by a religious institution, was a ''minister'' covered by the "ministerial exemption,'' not subject to wage and hour laws.

Church lawyers are using that ruling to argue that both Headley lawsuits should be dismissed.

The church says Marc Headley's work also qualifies for the ministerial exemption, voiding his labor law claims.

Human trafficking laws, the church argues, cannot be applied to the "employment relationship between a church and its ministers.''

The church says the Headleys were not held against their will. They lived in apartments and a house off the base property, had cell phones, visited relatives, went shopping, took trips.

The church's motion to dismiss Claire Headley's case said she had her abortions at a young age "because she did not want to lose her status as a Sea Org member.'' The church says the Sea Org policy that requires its members not have children is protected by the First Amendment.

The Headleys, married 17 years, counter that the Sea Org controlled them with psychological coercions, including threats of punishment.

A hearing on the church's motions to dismiss both cases is set for July 26.

Comments
Pasco sheriff: Woman faked kidnapping attempt on her daughter to frame former business partner

Pasco sheriff: Woman faked kidnapping attempt on her daughter to frame former business partner

HOLIDAY — The mother of a 12-year-old girl was arrested Thursday after authorities said she faked a kidnapping attempt on her daughter in an effort to frame a former business partner.After the mother was taken into custody, detectives said she tried ...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Sheriff’s Office warns of IRS phone scams in Pinellas County

Sheriff’s Office warns of IRS phone scams in Pinellas County

Beware of callers saying they’re with the IRS and demanding payments, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office warned Friday.According to a news release from the agency, scammers have been phoning residents across the county this week and trying to trick...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier leaves game with foot discomfort

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier leaves game with foot discomfort

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who missed two months earlier this season with a thumb injury, left Friday night's game against the Marlins with what the team described as "right foot discomfort."It wasn't immediately clear when the injury occurred,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Iraqi interpreter whose citizenship fight was profiled in the Times to become an American

Iraqi interpreter whose citizenship fight was profiled in the Times to become an American

An interpreter who risked his life helping U.S. forces in Iraq and then fought for two years to become a U.S. citizen will soon be an American.On Friday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service notified Haeder Alanbki, 36, that his request for c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
No arrest in fatal shooting during argument over handicap parking space

No arrest in fatal shooting during argument over handicap parking space

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Friday that his agency will not arrest a man deputies say shot and killed another man during an argument over a handicap parking space.The incident falls under Florida’s self-defense law kn...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Officials speak out against demolition plans for historic Jordan Park section

Officials speak out against demolition plans for historic Jordan Park section

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County School board chair Rene Flowers was fired up Friday. She talked about growing up in Jordan Park, the city’s first public housing project and a sentimental and historic marker of St. Petersburg’s African-American commu...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Editorial: NFL calls wise time-out on disciplining protests

The National Football League kept an embarrassing situation from becoming even worse by shelving its new policy clamping down on players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.The league announced late Thursday it would suspend the 2-month old p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays dream big but follow trend in plans for smaller stadium

Tampa Bay Rays dream big but follow trend in plans for smaller stadium

TAMPA — When it comes to filling a ballpark, the Tampa Bay Rays are Major League Baseball’s perennial bottom-dweller.The team has finished last in average attendance the past six seasons at Tropicana Field. As of the All-Star Game, the season’s tradi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Carlton: Rotary Clubs support no-women-allowed dinner. What year is this?

Going "stag" sounds so old-fashioned — boys night out, sans the gals.But it’s not so outdated in certain Rotary clubs in the Brandon suburbs and still rural Plant City. There, the decades-old no-women-allowed tradition of the yearly stag Wild Game Di...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs, Jensen reach out to fans as training camp approaches

Bucs, Jensen reach out to fans as training camp approaches

SARASOTA — The backdrop at University Park Country Club had a larger-than-life image of Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy with one of the team's slogans for 2018: "JOIN THE KREWE."New Bucs center Ryan Jensen was on hand for a luncheon hosted b...
Updated: 3 hours ago