Meet the Heroes of Early Scientology Reporting
Then came the six-part expose published June 24th through 29th, 1990, in the Los Angeles Times, a story that conclusively divided the wheat from the chaff where Scientology rumors were concerned. Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos spent five years on the story and it was, and still is, a corker. The other day Sappell told me that the Times’ Scientology investigation began when he learned that a former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant had become a private investigator for the Scientology organization, after having been fired by the department in 1981 for allegedly running a house of prostitution and alerting a drug dealer to a planned raid. (He was acquitted of all criminal charges in a later trial.) Soon enough it became clear that this former officer was using his LAPD contacts on behalf of his new bosses at Scientology. Sappell’s editor scented a bigger story, and the game was afoot.
By Maria Bustillos, The Awl