The Church of Scientology settled a lawsuit Monday with a former member who alleged the church forced her to have an abortion and subjected her to long work hours while she was a pre-teen.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney announced the Monday settlement between plaintiff Laura Ann DeCrescenzo and the Church of Scientology, along with its Religious Technology Center (RTC), according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The settlement comes after DeCrescenzo made allegations of “forced abortion, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices and wage and hour violations,” the Daily News reported.
A trial was set to begin in August but will no longer commence following the settlement. DeCrescenzo’s attorney, John Blumberg, said the terms of the settlement are confidential.
DeCrescenzo maintains she began volunteering with the Church of Scientology when she was 6 years old before it recruited her to join its proselytizing group, “Sea Org.” She stayed with Sea Org until she was 25, escaping the group in 2004 when she pretended to attempt suicide by swallowing bleach. DeCrescenzo alleges the group made her work from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. or later every day.
In addition to the grueling work hours, DeCrescenzo claims she became pregnant in February 1996 and was forced to abort her unborn child so she could continue her work at Sea Org.
“Based on their actions in trying to prevent David Miscavige from testifying, it would lead one to the inescapable conclusion that preventing an order he testify was very important to them,” Blumberg told the Associated Press. David Miscavige is the Church of Scientology’s leader and acts as chairman of the board of RTC. (RELATED: Worldwide Cult Gets Its Own TV Network)
“I believed that if I took any action against the Church of Scientology — whether filing a lawsuit or even speaking negatively about the Church of Scientology — that I would be subjected to severe retribution, including significant financial penalties and loss of my family,” DeCrescenzo stated, explaining why she did not come forward sooner with her claims.
Actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss are members of the Church of Scientology. TV personality Greta Van Susteren is also a member.
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