Laura Ann DeCrescenzo, a former Scientologist who left the church in 2004, has filed a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology for allegedly forcing her to have an abortion when she was a teen. According to Radar Online, DeCrescenzo was recruited to the religion in New Mexico at age nine and moved away from her family to work for the Church in Los Angeles as a member of the Sea Org at age 12 . Her education apparently did not progress past the 7th grade while working at the church, contrary to what Scientologists had promised her family when she moved away from them. She married at age 16 and then at age 17, she became pregnant; she claims the church did not want her to have a child because they wanted get get more labor out of her. DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit alleges the church threatened to fire her from her job, kick her out of her home, and break her apart from her husband if she didn’t terminate the pregnancy. Additionally, DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit accused the religion of false imprisonment, as the Church of Scientology reportedly restricted her access to TV, Internet, and the telephone, and opened and read all of her mail.
Her court documents claim, according to Radar Online:
Defendants forced Plaintiff to have an abortion by threatening Plaintiff with losing her job, housing, and losing her husband if she did not have an abortion. Further, Defendants threatened that upon losing her job, Plaintiff would owe Defendants a ‘Freeloader Debt,’ which is a supposed debt that Plaintiff would owe Defendants for purported Scientology training and services.”
When DeCrescenzo left Scientology in 2004 after struggling with suicidal feelings, she was told she owed the church $120,000 in the Freeloader Debt.
DeCrescenzo is seeking injunctive relief against forced abortions in the future, damages for loss of earnings and education, and general damages, among other complaints.
If all these allegations are true — and, according to Amelia. who has done extensive reading and research on the subject, it’s similar to other stories told by ex-Sea Org members — I sincerely hope Laura Ann DeCrescenzo is able to get the help she needs from support groups specially set up for ex-cult members and former members of fundamentalist religions. After what I’ve learned about Scientology in the wake of the TomKat divorce, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these allegations are true.