Photo: BBC via Youtube/glighat
A couple who belonged to the Church of Scientology worked there for free because they thought it was “the right thing to do,” a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday.The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the couple in their high-profile dispute accusing the Church of Scientology of violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Marc and Claire Headley each worked more than 100 hours a week for the church until 2005, mostly doing administrative and film-making work but occasionally doing menial tasks like cleaning, the opinion stated.
In turn, the Church of Scientology paid their basic living expenses and gave them each a $50 weekly allowance.
The couple claims they were forced into that labour, and that they also endured verbal and physical abuse. Claire Headley also says she was coerced into having two abortions and forced to live on protein bars for at least six months.
While the 9th Circuit acknowledged that “this demanding, ascetic life is not for everyone,” it also found they could have left the church anytime, meaning they stayed there and worked their of their own volition.
They worked for the church “because they believed it was the right thing to do, because they enjoyed it, and because they thought that by working they were honouring the commitment that they each made and to which they adhered,” the court found.
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