On Jan. 4, 24-year-old Chih-Hen Yeh, a Scientology security worker, was escorting a female member to a "purification ceremony." The woman's 16-year-old son, who has not been identified for legal reasons, allegedly stabbed Yeh in the back with a kitchen knife, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Yeh was taken to a hospital, where he later died from his wounds.
A 30-year-old man was also injured during the incident.
The teenager has been held without bail and will appear in children's court on Feb. 19.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scientology spokeswoman Karen Pouw sent a letter to A+E Networks Group president Paul Bucceri on Jan. 11 with the subject line "Blood on your hands." She claimed the teen "spouted vicious religious hatred and propaganda, incited by A&E and the Leah Remini/Mike Rinder series" before stabbing Yeh.
"Week after week, month after month, and now year after year, this series has poisoned the airwaves in an avowed effort to create hatred against the Scientology religion and Scientologists," Pouw wrote. "Hatred and propaganda always find their mark, especially among those weak and vulnerable to their appeals. And now it has born strange and bitter fruit."
Pouw continued, "For years, A&E executives ignored our warnings that the series was inspiring bigotry and violence. You knew what you were doing. Your intent was to stir up hate and turn it into cash. Now somebody has been murdered. Your indifference and obsession with stirring hate underwrote this murder."
She concluded the letter by demanding A&E stop airing Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
"You paid for the hate that caused his murder. And you profit. Stop your program," Pouw wrote.
According to The Underground Bunker, which first obtained the letter, the teenager argued with his mother the day before over her involvement in the "Purification Rundown." He reportedly arrived at the church and was told he could not see his mother during the procedure. After that, he allegedly attacked Yeh.
One Sydney church member told The Underground Bunker that the mother was from Taiwan and brought to Sydney to join the Sea Org, which would have required the teen's mother to spend more time away from her family.1comments
"What is amazing about this letter is that they couldn't even get [Scientology attorney] Gary Soter to send it, let alone a reputable attorney because it is such BS and is going to turn out to be complete manufactured conjecture. Ultimately the records of what this guy said are going to become available," Mike Rinder, who appears in Remini's show, told The Underground Bunker. "And it is so clearly written by [Scientology leader David Miscavige]. The end of the letter is classic Miscavige 'tough guy' style. Karin Pouw couldn't write this if you gave her OT 8 and a million dollars."
Remini and A&E have not responded to the letter.