In 1995, a Scientologist was convicted of sexually molesting his young
stepdaughters. His wife stated, under oath, that the "Church" of Scientology
ordered her not to report it.
This site is not affiliated with the Church of Scientology.
The following document contains excerpts from a legal deposition taken in the case of Florida v. Donald Anthony Strawn. Its importance lies in the fact that in it, the deponent (Strawn's wife at the time) accuses the Church of Scientology of recommending that a capital felony not be reported to the police.
Important parts of the deposition pertaining to this fact have been given additional emphasis with boldface. Because the victims were minors, their full names have been stricken from this document.
Tilman Hausherr posted these excerpts on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology with some annotations. I have included most of these annotations as footnotes, and added some of my own as well.
12 4 That's all I remember about the conversation 5 in the bedroom. I told, told, told him as I was 6 leaving, leaving out of the house, that he had to be 7 gone. That he had to leave. That I was going to the 8 church. That if he was not gone by the time I got back 9 that I would call the police. 10 Q. Did you take the girls with you? 11 A. No, I didn't. 12 Q. How long were you gone? 13 A. Probably about thirty or forty-five minutes. 14 I got down to the church and I went in to see the 15 chaplain at the Church of Scientology. After I calmed 16 down a bit I called the house. I realized I left my 17 kids. And I tried to call the house and there was no 18 answer. 19 I called back and M--- was upset. She 20 answered the phone and she was crying and she said that 21 A---- ran away. I went and jumped in the car and I 22 broke every speed limit between the Church of 23 Scientology and my house. 24 Q. Had you met with the chaplain yet? 25 A. I saw somebody. It was an assistant chaplain
13 1 or something. And I was actually in the office when I 2 was calling home. I got back home and A---- was at 3 home. I got the girls and I left. 4 Q. Was Tony there or was he gone? 5 A. Yes, he was packing his belongings. 6 Q. Did you have any further discussion with him? 7 A. No. I didn't even see him. He was in the 8 room, in our bedroom, with, with the door closed, 9 packing. 10 Q. Did A---- at the time tell you what had been 11 going on? 12 A. That day. 13 Q. At that time? 14 A. Yes, she told me. M--- told me as well. 15 Q. When is it that A---- told you? 16 A. You have to remember that my life at that 17 time was a total blur. I don't remember dates or 18 times. I know that I discussed the matter with my 19 children. The reason I waited six weeks to turn him 20 in, the reason why I waited six weeks to turn him in 21 was because of the Church of Scientology. 22 Q. How long have you been a Scientologist? 23 A. I'm not a Scientologist, now. When I met 24 Tony I was introduced to the Church of Scientology. At 25 that time I became a Scientologist.
14 1 Q. Were the children also? 2 A. I guess you'll have to ask them. They did 3 take some courses with the Church of Scientology. 4 Q. When you say you "became one," what does that 5 involve, becoming a Scientologist? 6 A. Well, you just have to make a decision that 7 you're going to be a Scientologist and they have 8 different technologies and you read and apply them to 9 your life. And sometimes you take courses at the 10 church. Sometimes you get auditing which is similar to 11 counseling. 12 Q. Okay. So you wanted to go through the 13 church? 14 A. I had to. I had to go through the church. 15 The Church of Scientology has a tenant to the best of 16 my knowledge and the way I understood it, if you have 17 any legal matter with a fellow Scientologist you're to 18 take it to the Church of Scientology. 19 If you don't, you risk being what is called 20 "Declared" or thrown out of the Church of Scientology. 21 Now that matters nothing to me. But what did matter to 22 me was the fact that I was working as a director in a 23 company, and the owners of the company are 24 Scientologists. In fact, many of the employees, the 25 majority of employees, are Scientologists.
15 1 Q. What company? 2 A. Roberts Cefail and Associates. 3 Q. How long have you been working there? 4 A. At that time, three years. 5 Q. Okay. So you thought your job might be in 6 jeopardy? 7 A. My job was in jeopardy because what happens 8 is if you're declared or thrown out of the church then 9 other Scientologist cannot be in touch with you. They 10 can't talk to you. They can't have, you know, have 11 anything to do with you or they risk being thrown out 12 of the church. 13 Q. Had you ever had any legal matters before -- 14 A. No. 15 Q. -- that went through the church? 16 A. No. 17 Q. Okay. So how did you proceed with that? 18 A. For six weeks I tried to get him thrown out 19 of the church so that I could turn him in without any 20 repercussions. I worked with the Church of 21 Scientology's legal office. It's called the Office of 22 Special Affairs or OSA, O-S-A. 23 I worked with the Church of Scientology for 24 quite some time. Many days I was down there, as a 25 matter of fact, trying to get them to take some kind
16 1 of action. The Church of Scientology recommended that 2 I not turn him in. 3 Q. Why? 4 A. Because they could handle it. They could 5 handle his aberrations. They could handle what made 6 him do this. They said that if I, if I turned him in 7 my children would be taken away from me by HRS because 8 HRS is always looking for a criminal. They told me 9 that Tony would be stuck to me for lifetimes because I 10 had done this, because I had turned him in. They told 11 me that he would be turned over to the "psyches," or 12 the psychiatrists. I was very manipulated during that 13 period of time. 14 Q. Had you told the children not to discuss this 15 with anyone else? 16 A. I may have told them not to discuss it with 17 their friends. 18 Q. Mm-hmm. Were they involved in any kind of 19 counseling? 20 A. Not at that time. 21 Q. Anywhere? 22 A. Not at that time. 23 Q. Did the counselor or Scientologist try to get 24 you and Tony together to discuss this? 25 A. Yeah.
17 1 Q. What are, what do they do there? 2 A. I think there is a chaplain's meeting and I 3 think this is the most cruel thing that anybody can 4 ever do. I wanted to go ahead and get the divorce 5 because I wouldn't be contested. I knew if I locked 6 him up he would be contesting and I wanted the divorce. 7 So I arranged through the chaplain the 8 procedure for the divorce. And in the Church of 9 Scientology you have the documents drawn up and then 10 you go into the church and both parties sign. And 11 there's what is called a "chaplain's hearing." And 12 they sit there and, and discuss disposition of 13 properties: Custody issues, child support issues, et 14 cetera. 15 I went and I was trying to get my divorce 16 papers signed. And the church and the people who were 17 dealing with it, Chaplain Sergio, I don't remember the 18 last name. He, he couldn't find Tony. He didn't know 19 where to get in touch with Tony. The Ethics Officer 20 didn't know where to get in touch with Tony. So I had 21 to actually go over where he was working and tell him 22 he had to meet me at the church. I went to the church 23 to get him to sign the divorce papers and I sat there 24 and I pretended like everything was rosy. 25 I asked him about M--- and what he had done
18 1 with M---. And he told me yes, it was true. And that 2 he had written up everything. And that he had turned 3 it all into the Ethics Officer and I could get copies 4 of the report so I would know what was really going on 5 in my house, so I could handle my kids. 6 I'm sorry, but this son-of-a-bitch ain't got 7 a clue as to what he did to my girls. 8 Q. Did you ever get a hold of that? 9 A. No, I didn't. I didn't want to. I don't 10 want any justifications for this. There are no 11 justifications for what he did to my kids. 12 Q. So what happened at this hearing then? 13 A. Well, we sat down and after -- I mean there 14 were some pretty emotional things that went on. I was 15 pretty angry. We, basically what occurred was we 16 decided what property was going to stay mine, what 17 property was going to be his, and what I was to bring 18 to the church to give to him after the divorce. And 19 then he signed on the dotted line. 20 Q. Okay. Was there any discussion of the 21 allegations at that time? 22 A. Yes. When I asked him about M--- and what he 23 had done to M---. 25 Q. Was this done in front of the others? 25 A. This was done in front of the chaplain.
19 1 Q. So, any discussion about any action that you were 2 going to take regarding this? 3 A. No, actually, because I didn't want him to 4 know that I was going to take any action because I 5 wanted him to sign the divorce papers. 6 Q. Okay. After you got the divorce papers 7 signed did you continue to participate in the 8 Scientologist activities? 9 A. At, at that point I was still trying to get 10 them to throw him out of the church. I finally had a 11 conversation with Ken Long (phonetic), he's with the 12 Office of Special Affairs International with the Church 13 of Scientology. And I asked him point blank. 14 I said, If I turn him in, even if he's 15 declared, would I be declared. 16 And he said, Most definitely. Not for the 17 act of turning him in itself but for the repercussions 18 thereof. 19 He was talking about the PR, the public 20 relations and the St. Pete Times, news media. 21 And, I'm sorry, but in my heart and in my 22 mind I said fuck it. 23 Q. Okay. Did, did you call the police? 24 A. No. What I did was I waited until August 9th 25 which was after -- I think I had the conversation with
20 1 him on the 4th of August, or something like that. I 2 would have to get my phone bills to verify, but the 3 next day was A----'s birthday and I didn't want to do 4 anything on her birthday, so we waited until the 5 Saturday, the 6th August, and I went down to the 6 Sheriff's Office and I reported him. 7 Q. Okay. Had, in the, in the course of this 8 time period did any allegations regarding M--- come up? 9 How did those come up? 10 A. I don't remember when I found out that he had 11 done something to M---. I don't even remember how I 12 found out. I know, I know that A---- -- 13 In the Church of Scientology you write 14 reports. They're called "knowledge reports." And I 15 remember after, sometime after I initially found out, I 16 had been having, having a hard time confronting, you 17 know. I didn't want to hear from her exactly what he 18 had done to her because quite frankly I was afraid I 19 would kill him. 20 And I remember M--- didn't want to write a 21 report. And so I told her, because I felt like it was 22 necessary to write a report to the Church of 23 Scientology, because I was trying, trying to get him 24 thrown out, I, I told her, I said, Well look, you just 25 tell me what happened and I'll write it down verbatim.