In the fall of 1971, author Paulette Cooper wrote a book called "The Scandal of Scientology" and then, according to her publisher, friends, family and lawyers, the following things happened to her.
She received repeated telephone calls from anonymous persons who threatened to kill her.
Letters were posted on her neighbors' door telling them she had veneral disease and should be evicted.
Her publisher was sued and harassed to the point that he withdrew the book from circulation.
Officials of the Church of Scientology in New York City claimed they had received a bomb threat and the federal government subsequently indicted her for sending it. Then the government charged her with perjury for denying it.
Cooper's friends, family, lawyers and publisher have alleged in interviews and in a court suit that it was the Scientologists who mounted this campaign, an allegation th church vehemently denies.
According to informed sources, FBI agents have found in church records evidence that the Scientologists framed Cooper by stealing her stationery and sending the bomb threat to themselves.
The Scientologists deny they were involved in any such scheme. "It's totally ridiculous and typical of outrageous false statements that some people feel they need to pass on regarding the church," Greg Layton, a Church of Scientology spokesman, said.
Federal agents, according to informed sources, have rushed the newly discovered evidence on the bomb threat to the FBI offices in New York City, and a new investigation has been started.
The harassment, the criminal charges, the numerous court suits brought against her here and abroad by the Scientologists, left Cooper "severely depressed," according to one of her lawyers. She could no longer concentrate on her free-lance writing, and fell back on her family to support her. A family member said she needed psychiatric treatment.
"They did a lot to destroy this girl's life," said Virgil Roberts, her attorney in Los Angeles.
"Paulette was an unusual person in that the harassment nearly destroyed her, but rather than stop, it made her fight back with her limited means," Paul D. Rheingold, her lawyer in New York, said.
"She lost earnings and became too distraught to do much of anytime else. She devoted herself full time to fighting back. I would have given up and I consider myself a strong person," said Rheingold.
Cooper, a graduate of Brandeis University and now in her early 30s, was reportedly traveling in Europe yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
The evidence discovered by federal investigators is contained in 46 boxes of Scientology documents seized by the FBI in raids last summer on church offices here and in Los Angeles.
Scientologist claimed the raids were illegal and sued for return of the materials. But earlier this month the last in a series of court decisions against them enabled federal agents to begin examining the files.
Scientology is the product of L. Ron Hubbard, a one-time science fiction writer who founded the Church of Scientology in 1955. The church claims that man is a free and immortal spirit, and needs to shed emotional encumbrances and negative thoughts. The church provides such a cleansing, through counseling, for a fee.
Church critics have maintained Scientology is not a religion, but rather a business and should not enjoy tax-exemption, ruling that it was more a philosophy than a religion. Many of Cooper's suits with the Scientologists have been settled out of court, according to her lawyers, but a $15.4 million damage suit she brought against the Scientologists in New York is pending. She plans to press that suit in light of the new evidence received by the FBI, according to Rheingold. Add nine Scientology - L 13 full
Te pending suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in 1972, accused the Church of Scientology of "intentional interference" with her constitutional freedom of speech and press. Cooper alleged that the organization had initimidated prospective publishers of her book and had subjected her to obscene telephone calls, threats and electronic surveillance.
The charges that she had made the bomb threat and had committed perjury eventually were dismissed after she discussed details of the situation under the effects of a truth serum administered by prosecutors.