Tommy Gorman has a pretty in-your-face way of protesting the Church of Scientology. He positions himself outside the entrance to San Francisco's Scientology "org" holding a video camera and another device that plays an audio recording.
As workers at the org arrive or leave, Gorman plays for them the recording, which is from a tape of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard describing Xenu, the galactic overlord that is part of secret upper-level teachings in the church, and which Scientology publicly denies is part of their religion.
While he's playing Hubbard's words, Gorman himself barks things at the workers intended to make them question their faith. He's not subtle about it. He's deliberately trying to get under their skin. Many of them, in fact, know Gorman well. He grew up in Scientology and worked at the San Francisco org for years until leaving in 2001. In 2005, he began protesting Scientology, and his intense -- but peaceful -- demonstrations have resulted in more than one org worker taking a swing at him.
On Saturday, Gorman found himself being charged by a large, angry Scientologist whose rather remarkable bull-rush was caught on video being filmed by Gorman's wife, Jennifer. The man took several swings at him, Gorman says, and after reporting the incident to the police, he was told charges would be filed against the man. After the jump, what we've learned so far about the angry Scientologist, the incident, and Tommy and Jennifer Gorman and their history with the church...
There's a hellish history behind this protest. Jennifer, the woman heard shouting, says that at age 16 she was assigned by the organization to live in an apartment and raped at least a 100 times by her minder. The organization denies any part in it, and her rapist said he was doing her a favor to shorten her commute. According to the families, after Jennifer went to the police with the encouragement of her family and Tommy's family—all [now former] Scientologists—the organization launched a campaign of harassment against them. They say it's all part of a no-rules approach to dealing with persons they deem SP—Suppressive Persons.
Related: HuffPo religion blogger secretly on the Scientology payroll?