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Sara's choice

The Church of Scientology pressured Sara Goldberg to "disconnect" from her son, a church outcast. She refused. Church clergy then forced her to make a nightmarish choice: Son or daughter.


"Inside Scientology" is a multi-part investigative series by the Tampa Bay Times. Dating back to 2009, the reports shed unprecedented light on the inner workings of the secretive church, which has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater.

The multimedia presentations feature first-hand accounts from Scientologists, former Scientologists and many others, as well as documents, recordings and video interviews.

Click here for the Times' previous reports

Inside Scientology



  1. Federal judge to rule on validity of Scientology's refund process

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — A federal judge on Thursday urged both sides in a lawsuit over the Church of Scientology's fundraising tactics to settle matters on their own before he is forced to make "a difficult decision" after two days of hearings.

    Plaintiffs Luis and Rocio Garcia  spent $1.3 million on church services and causes.
  2. Former Scientologist disputes church claims about granting refunds

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — A closely watched lawsuit over the Church of Scientology's fundraising tactics is expected to reach a pivotal point today in U.S. District Court.

    A judge will decide whether Scientology’s internal justice system takes precedence over the U.S. legal system when it comes to former church members who want their money back.
  3. Church of Scientology works behind scenes against Clearwater Marine Aquarium

    Special Topics


    Does the Church of Scientology just want downtown Clearwater all to itself?

    A rendering shows the entry for a possible aquarium at the current site of City Hall on S Osceola Avenue.
  4. Ex-Tampa mayor Dick Greco: Clearwater should work with Scientologists

    Special Topics

    Check out the Church of Scientology's latest glossy Freedom magazine, and you'll see some advice for the city of Clearwater from former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco.

    Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco is listed as author of an op-ed piece in Scientology’s Freedom magazine.
  5. Scientology starts collecting $1 million judgment from longtime Tampa nemesis

    Special Topics

    The Church of Scientology has begun collecting a $1.07 million court judgment from one of its chief challengers, Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, who has waged high-profile legal fights against Scientology off and on for 17 years.

    Ken Dandar agreed never to sue the church again, lawyers say.
  6. Scientology-related Narconon rehab center may have violated law

    Special Topics

    When the Scientology-affiliated Narconon drug treatment center in Spring Hill was told by Hernando County it could not expand its residential facility, the center didn't try to make do with existing space.

    The Narconon program in Spring Hill rented three facilities, including one at 11033 Hearth Road, after the county rejected its plans to expand. Director Tammy Strickling says Narconon patients were shuttled to this site for “daily therapeutic classes.’’
  7. Operators of Scientology rehab center to open Clearwater halfway house

    Special Topics

    Operators of a drug rehabilitation center in Hernando County, which uses Scientology-affiliated Narconon treatments under intense scrutiny in several states, plan to open a 60-bed halfway house in Clearwater.

    And they won't say why.

  8. Judge: Scientology leader not required to give deposition

    Special Topics

    Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has sidestepped giving a deposition in a high-profile harassment lawsuit filed in Texas by Monique Rathbun, wife of vocal church critic Marty Rathbun.

    David Miscavige, 53, has led the church since 1986.
  9. Pam Bondi's Clearwater fundraiser organized by Scientologists

    Special Topics

    Attorney General Pam Bondi, who already has raised millions for her re-election campaign, can expect to pull in more dollars tonight at a Clearwater fundraiser where all six organizers are prominent members of the Church of Scientology.

    Pam Bondi is aware Scientologists are staging the event, said campaign spokeswoman Christina Johnson. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  10. Outside experts call for Clearwater and Scientology to work together

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — For downtown Clearwater to thrive, city leaders and the Church of Scientology should work together and communicate better, a group of outside experts recommended Friday.

    The Church of Scientology’s seven-story Flag Building dominates an entire block of downtown Clearwater.
  11. Scientology bans couple from wedding

    Special Topics

    Beautifully plated filet mignon. Attentive servers. A rocking band.

    The Vasilaroses of Clearwater rented the Crystal Ballroom in the Church of Scientology Fort Harrison Hotel for their daughter’s wedding. As part of the rental agreement, they agreed to send the church the guest list in advance. Last Thursday, the church informed them that a Clearwater lawyer and his wife could not attend.
  12. Scientology group's flier causes stir at Memorial Day service

    Special Topics

    PALM HARBOR — The Citizens Commission on Human Rights presented itself as a group working to help veterans avoid suicide and asked to put inserts in the program for the annual Memorial Day service Monday at a local cemetery.

    Guests bow their heads Monday morning during the 28th annual Memorial Day Services at Curlew Hills Memory Garden. An insert in the program for the service came from a group linked to the Church of Scientology and attacked mental health care for veterans and suggested the federal government is responsible for “psychiatric drugging gone rampant.”
  13. Scientology foe gets little comfort from federal judge

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — The long fight between Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar and the Church of Scientology didn't end Monday, but a federal judge offered scant support to Dandar as he tries to escape more than $1 million in sanctions by a state judge.

    Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar says the Church of Scientology is illegally trying to restrict his practice, violating his civil rights.
  14. Scientology critics gather for weeklong conference

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — Several critics of the Church of Scientology, including the great-grandson of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, are scheduled to speak this week at a local conference organizers say will draw attention to "human rights abuses'' within the Scientology community.

  15. Florida charter school management company under federal scrutiny


    TALLAHASSEE — The state's largest charter school management company has come under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Education for potential conflicts of interests in its business practices, federal authorities have confirmed.