Australian Critics of Scientology
This page maintained by David Gerard.

CoS leaflet on Lisa McPherson

This is one of the leaflets the CoS handed out at the Melbourne demo on Saturday 6th December 1997 - a two-sided photocopied fax; a longer version of the photocopied fax handed out in Brisbane on December 20th. Their other leaflet was the 'PUBLIC WARNING' leaflet, the attempted character assassination of Tony McClelland, Stuart Riley and myself.

Spelling errors, typos and general illiteracy as per original. Not only is the font crappy, but it's all in CAPITALS - I have retyped it in sentence case so as to make it readable.


The situation of media and leaflets being handed out concerning the death of a Scientologist is an outrage. Shocking new evidence was recently uncovered that proved the entire affair that is being played up by anti-religious persons to be a cover-up by local police and the medical examiner.

These are the facts:

In December 1995, Scientologist Lisa McPherson died very suddenly of a sudden, unpredictable death by pulmonary embolism.

The Church waited for the autopsy to find out why - as did her fellow parishioners and friends. Finally, a year later, the autopsy report was released, not to the Church or its attorneys but first to the St Petersburg Times newspaper and a media frenzy led by medical examiner Joan Wood and Clearwater police officer Andrews was launched. This was the first time the Church had been accused of some wrongdoing in the case.

Not only did Joan Wood feed her false information to the local media, she also went on two different tabloid TV shows, Hard Copy and Inside Edition, and made the same outrageous accusations that are now being repeated by various Internet users, who have no facts at all and have simply been forwarding false information.

To start with, Wood alleged that she had performed the autopsy. In fact, the Church later found out that an assistant medical examiner had and he testified under oath that Joan Wood was not even present.

The Church had to bring suit to be allowed access to the medical records and to have these records examined by experts, as it was clear that Wood was lying and her reports had no resemblance to what happened to Lisa McPherson.

As a further proof of bias, the St Petersburg Times sent their attorneys in to defend Joan Wood and to argue against the disclosure of the records. This was an unprecedented action for the media to take, considering that these same attorneys (George Radhart and Pat Anderson) had been retained for many years by the St Petesburg Times to litigate for access to government records. When it came to the Church of Scientology, for the first time these lawyers turned their experience in the other direction to block public access to government records.

Despite her best efforts, the medical examiner, Joan Wood, was ordered by a court to turn over all tissue sample slides for review by medical experts retained by the Churchin February of this year. She turned over 19 slides representing that these were all the tissue samples that were taken.

However, recently when the Church was allowed by the state to obtain original tissue samples to have them reviewed by experts we found out that there were in fact 21 separate tissue samples, not the mere 19 that Wood had sworn to. These slides were reviewed by three of the foremost medical examiners in the country - all current state medical examiners - and all reached the same conclusion:

A. Wood withheld the most important evidence in the case. The two critical slides which disprove everything she says - everything that serves as the predicate for any allegations of suspicion - were the two that were withheld from production in the public records act suit.

B. Lisa McPherson died instantaneously of a sudden, unpredictable pulmonary embolism. Had she been in a hospital the entire time, the result would have been the same.

C. There was no severe dehydration and dehydration was not the cause of death.

D. There is no evidence of her suffering any coma.

E. The clot formation was due to injury to her leg that likely occurred prior to her coming to the Church - most likely from the car accident she suffered two weeks before her death.

Civil suit discovery has uncovered evidence that:

A. Joan Wood's office destroyed documents concerning this matter that contained evidence showing the Church's innocence.

B. Joan Wood's office covered up evidence that proves her allegations false and proves Lisa McPherson's death was accidental and unpredictable.

This adds up to obstruction of justice.

Those attorneys who represented Wood in attempting to withhold evidence, and later presumably advised her on what evidence to produce and what evidence to withhold, continued to represent the St Petesburg Times - which has continually hammered the Church with allegations of wrongdoing for the past several months.

It is presumptuous to assume the St Petesburg Times did not know all along of the Church's innocence. After all, it was their attorneys who were busy covering up the evidence of that innocence. Remarkably, when Doug Franz from the New York Times came to Clearwater Florida, the Church was put on notice that these same attorneys now also represent the New York Times on the very same matters.

A more grotesque conflict of interest could not be imagined. The Church has retained counsel who are now reviewing all the evidence with a view toward bringing contempt charges against Radhart, Anderson, and Wood; as well as bringing obstruction of justice and conspiracy to violate civil rights charges with the U.S. Justice Department.

There are millions of Scientologists internationally who are probably at the top 1/10 of the top 1 percent of perfect health. One Scientologist dies and two years later the New York Times finds this newsworthy? There are 10,000 Scientologists in Clearwater at any given moment. The Church has researched it and Scientologists have the lowest death rate per capita of any group that could be found.

To use one woman's unfortunate death as a means to try to attack and sully her religion is despicable. That assault was accomplished only through illegal evidence tampering and cover up. We vow to prosecute those illegalities to the full extent of the law.

[Leaflets from Scientology demonstrations]