Harassment Diary

by Paulette Cooper, 1982

My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].

Part 4: Horrible Smear Letter Arrives

It was soon after Joy's attack that I received a visit from two FBI agents, although this didn't upset me at that time. They told me that James Meisler (Public Relations Scientologist in New York whose job it was to handle me) had received bomb threats. Did I have any idea who might have done it? Since the FBI told me Meisler named me as a suspect, I figured he was behind it. After all, Scientology had enough sincere enemies that had he really received threats, he would have been worried and named some likely possibilities. I felt his motivation might be that he had come off looking bad in a couple of interviews in which I was quoted along with him. I felt he was therefore trying to obtain sympathy to make up for the points he lost with incompetence. At that visit, I also agreed to be fingerprinted when the FBI asked me.

Things were generally quiet for about a month after that, probably because Scientology didn't know I had moved. However, I was a little worried when I got a second visit from the same FBI agents and learned that they had gone to Bob [[...]] [[my boyfriend]] and Joy's boyfriend asking if I was the type to send bomb threats.

On February 4th or 9th of 1973, a horrible anonymous letter was sent to about half the residents of my new building (or about 300 people) urging them to get me kicked out, saying I had venereal disease, had sexually molested a 2 year old baby girl, etc. The only thing they got right about me was my age -- which was the last thing I wanted known -- and there was also an incorrect reference to my having a "swollen tongue." I had a cracked tongue when I was a young child, which doctors believed came from vitamin deficienciency in the orphanage. (1)

Obviously, I was terribly upset by that letter. I had dreamed for years of moving into this building, and was petrified that I would be kicked out. Furthermore, I was horribly embarrassed, especially when I heard people talking in the elevator about the new girl with VD!

On that same day, I also received a second brief visit from Margie Shepherd again, before she disappeared permanently from my life allegedly to go to Boston. With her that day was a very sweet girl named Paula Tyler, who told me a sad story about coming from California and being raped while hitch-hiking. Could I help her get an apartment in this building from some absent tenant at a reduced rate? I did, and later, her so called platonic friend, a very friendly asexual type boy named Jerry Levin moved in upstairs with her.

Jerry and Paul dropped by to visit each day, and along with my girlfriend in the building (a writer named Barbara), we all became quite friendly.


(1) I knew it was Scientology for a few reasons. First, only they would make up something as horrible as VD. Secondly, the "sexually molested 2 year old baby girl" was a reference to one of their own male "ministers" who had done that--and they were the only ones who knew that I knew the age of that girl since I had left that out of my book. Third, the letter said I had just returned from the Europe, but in fact had returned from the Caribbean. But they had wrongly told some people I was in Europe at that time.

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