Laura Ann DeCrescenzo, Ex-OC Scientologist, Gets Judge Removed in Coerced-Abortion Suit

A woman who began doing volunteer work for the Church of Scientology in Orange County when she was age 6 or 7 got a judge removed Wednesday in her lawsuit against the institution that she alleges coerced her into having an abortion when she was 17.

The lawsuit first filed by Laura Ann DeCrescenzo in 2009 alleges the Church of Scientology engaged in human trafficking, obstructing justice, employment violations, discrimination and violation of privacy. It's being heard in the same Los Angeles Superior Court civil courthouse that DeCrescenzo claims to have picketed at age 7 with other church members out to prove the institution would "go to every length to bring down people who filed lawsuits" against the Church of Scientology. That's right, Marty McFly, she essentially protested against her future self.

More »

Peter David Nitschke Can't Come Up with $1.2 Million He Ripped Off, Gets 12 Year Prison Ride

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department
Peter David Nitschke kept things quiet at his latest hearing.
When we last checked in on Peter David Nitschke, the 47-year-old suspended Newport Beach attorney and former church president who stole more than $780,000 from nine victims--including $720,000 from two elderly sisters he met at church--the judge agreed to cut the defendant's prison sentence significantly if he paid those he ripped back their money plus interest ($1.2 million total) by last Friday.

Well, that day came and went.

Guess where Nitschke's headed? (If you answered "to Rosarito Beach for a waiting Coco Loco," guess again.)

More »

Rob Boston Pushes Religious Freedom Book and Philosophy in Irvine Saturday Afternoon

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Rob Boston argues religious freedom is an individual right.
The Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling notwithstanding, the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment does not give organizations and businesses license to discriminate against and control others, argues an author speaking in Irvine Saturday afternoon.

More »

St. Michael's Abbey Begins Holtz Ranch Grading, Conservationists Scramble

Joel Robinson
They said God could move mountains
The drive down Silverado Canyon Rd. smells sweet of coastal sage scrub. It guides you through overhanging oaks, boulders blistering under the sun, and the occasional squirrel scurrying across the path, but the view of foothills whizzing past is abruptly interrupted by an assembly of motor graders and excavators. The St. Michael's Abbey is preparing to grade 38 acres on Holtz Ranch any minute now and conservationists are scrambling to stop it before the project completes.

More »

Cussing at Muslim Woman and Removal of Her Hijab Probed as Hate Crime in Long Beach

Courtesy of the Long Beach Police Department
Artist's sketch of man who removed woman's hijab.
Long Beach's police chief says a hate crime happened when a man cursed at and pulled the head covering--known as a hijab--off a Muslim woman in a shopping center.

The Anaheim-based greater Los Angeles area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is working with police to find the mystery man, calling on the public to out him.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. July 2 in a shopping center parking lot in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue, according to Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. As the 32-year-old woman loaded her car, the hater came up from behind and twisted and pulled off her black hijab, which he referred to by name while cussing her out. That indicates he's familiar with Muslim culture in McDonnell's eyes.

More »

Atheists, Skeptics and Freethinkers Protest Calvary Chapel Creation Conference TODAY!

Post moved up from Tuesday to remind that the protest is this evening.

Photo montage courtesy of NASA
Galaxies colliding would have been on, what, Wednesday?
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 22, 7:07 A.M.: Those converging on Santa Ana for the annual creation conference kicking off today can expect two straight days of uninterrupted bliss at Calvary Chapel. "Uh, but isn't this a four-day conference?" ask the faithful in the back pews. Indeed it is. But on the third day, God ... I mean ... Orange County skeptics will be out to protest "the dumbing-down of science through the promotion of the creationists' belief of a divine six-day creation."

More »

Peter David Nitschke, Suspended Attorney Who Ripped Off Clients, Has Hissy Fit in Court

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department
Peter D. Nitschke can get much less than 12 years in prison if he ponies up $1.2 million by Aug. 8.

The restitution hearing for Peter David Nitschke sounds like it was wild. The 47-year-old suspended Newport Beach attorney and former church president--who stole more than $780,000 from nine victims, with $720,000 of that coming from two elderly sisters he met at church--reportedly lashed out at the prosecutor, his defense attorney and the judge.

More »

Peter David Nitschke, Ex-Attorney, Church Leader and Admitted Embezzler, Gets 12 Years

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department
Peter David Nitschke
A suspended Newport Beach attorney and church president was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for stealing more than $780,000 from nine victims, including two elderly sisters he met at church, offered to assist with finances and promptly embezzled more than $720,000 from their trust account.

The judge also ordered 47-year-old Peter David Nitschke to pay about $1.1 million in restitution.

Two of Nitschke's victims told the court today about the financial, physical, physiological and medical damage they suffered.

More »

Heather Dubrow of Real Housewives "is a Bad Reality TV Jew:" Jewish Journal Columnist

Heather Dubrow, reinforcing a Jewish stereotype by talking with her hands. (Or is that Italians?)

A columnist for a Jewish site says Real Housewives of Orange County cast member Heather Dubrow "is a bad reality TV Jew."

More »

Go Godless? Atheists, Nontheists, Freethinkers Set Orange County's First Sunday Assembly

Orange County Freethought Alliance
Freethinkers unite! And they invite other followers (non-followers?) to join them Sundays.
The Freethought Alliance--a coalition of 28 Orange County secular organizations--on May 4 hosts the county's first Sunday Assembly, " a godless congregation that celebrates life."

More »