Family blames Scientology for daughter's death

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Norwegian press is reporting that Kaja Bordevich Ballo, aged 20, the daughter of Norwegian MP Olav Gunnar Ballo, committed suicide two weeks ago after taking a Scientology personality test. The family blames the Church of Scientology for her death and decided to go public with the story, after the test results and a suicide note were discovered after Ballo's death.

Sign advertising Scientology personality test in California
Image: Thomas Hawk (2006).

On March 28, 2008, Ballo, a student at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis located in Nice, France, took the Scientology personality test. A few hours later she reportedly killed herself by jumping from the window of her dormitory. Her friends and roommates claim she was in good spirits and showed no signs of a mental break down or depression prior to taking the test. The test was stamped and dated by the Church just hours prior to her suicide.

"I believe Kaja would have been alive today if she had not gone to the Scientologists," says friend and fellow student Henrik Møinichen, 19, to Dagbladet.

Cquote1.svg The information about the Scientology test has been made public through the priest's speech at the memorial service. I can confirm that. Due to the recency of her death, I don't wish to elaborate on or comment on other matters now. Cquote2.svg

Olav Gunnar Ballo

"The information about the Scientology test has been made public through the priest's speech at the memorial service. I can confirm that. Due to the recency of her death, I don't wish to elaborate on or comment on other matters now," said Olav in a statement to the press.

The Church, which is located only meters from Ballo's dormitory, states that the results had shown Ballo was "depressed, irresponsible, hyper-critical and lacking in harmony." They also state that it is "unfair to blame Scientology" for Ballo's death and that the test had nothing to do with it. Ballo left behind a note telling her family she was sorry for not "being good for anything."

The incident has generated criticism against the Church from friends, family members and politicians. Inga Marte Thorkildsen, one of the members of Norway's Parliament, told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet that "All indications are that the Scientologist sect has played a direct role in Kaja's choice to take her own life."

Matthias Fosse, information chief for the Church of Scientology in Norway, rejected any links connection between Scientology and Ballo's suicide, and denied that the personality test was "dangerous", saying that millions of people have taken it. The Church of Scientology also pointed out Ballo's history of psychological issues and an eating disorder that she had experienced in her early teenage years.

The Church has since removed the test from its Norwegian website.


Sources

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