In a shocking video-taped confession by Scientology staff member Mike McClaughry, law enforcement officials have learned that the Church of Scientology purchased street drugs from a drug dealer in order to frame a California Health Department official for illegal possession of narcotics. The official, Jim Esterbrook, had produced a highly critical report about Scientology's NarConon church-recruitment front business. Mr. Esterbrook was also seeking funds from the state of California to help get drug addicts off drugs, a project which the Church of Scientology prevented by framing him for the misdemeanor.
"You manufacture some crimes, right? Set 'em up, sting operation type stuff. Um, oh, I know some that were actually done, I don't have to give examples," Mr. McClaughry testified. "Um, there was a guy in Sacramento named Jim Esterbrook, um, I got one of my agents [Scientology's Office of Special Affairs] to go get some, um, drugs, you know, purchase some illegal drugs, marijuana or whatever it was, plant 'em in the guy's car and then call the cops on him and try to get him arrested for possession of illegal drugs. Um, geez, just let your imagine run wild because, uh, we were allowed to do that, you know. It's like anything you could think of was basically okay."
Mr. McClaughry laughed at the recollection. "That wasn't the only operation we [OSA] did on him. By the time I was done with him, the guy sold his house and got the hell out of the state to get away from me."
When asked if the victim knew who had framed him for illegal possession of drugs, Mr. McClaughry replied "Me? Oh, yeah. He didn't know it was me; he knew Scientology did this to him but nobody listened to him. You know, he said, 'Those damn Scientologists [did this to me]!' and [the police] thought he was nuts! See what I mean? [laughter]"
The victim was not believed when he denied his guilt to law enforcement and to his employer. The Church of Scientology worked aggressively to prevent Mr. Esterbrook's drug rehab from being funded and built, even going so far as to create a petition and having it signed by California citizens and then sent to California congress members demanding that the rehab not be built. The State of California did not grant him funds to allow him to help drug addicts.
Motive for the framing of Health Department Official Esterbrook appears to be because his proposed drug rehabilitation project would have competed with the Church of Scientology's NarConon business.
NarConon is the Scientology front business that New York City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez helped fund with tax-payers' money. The nation's medical profession is nearly unanimous in denouncing NarConon as both dangerous and ineffective, yet Ms. Lopez said critics of NarConon are "stupid."
The statute of limitations for framing someone for a misdemeanor in California is seven years; the statute of limitations for conspiracy to frame someone for a misdemeanor is nine years. Civil libertarians note that to be successful in a civil lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, Mr. Esterbrook would need at minimum $300,000.
Mr. Esterbrook was unavailable for comment. The Church of Scientology claims Mr. McClaughry was acting on his own.