Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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Scientology surrenders — at least partially — in seven lawsuits against its rehab network

Ryan Hamilton

Ryan Hamilton

Here at the Underground Bunker, we’ve been keeping a close watch on Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton, who has filed eighteen lawsuits since January against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. Hamilton accuses Narconon of running a deceptive operation that promises drug counseling but instead subjects patients to Scientology training. In each case, Hamilton has sued a local Narconon facility in either California, Nevada, or Colorado, as well as two of Scientology’s umbrella organizations — Narconon International and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE).

Now, we’ve learned that in seven of those lawsuits, Narconon International and ABLE have been removed after quietly settling with the plaintiffs. The lawsuits remain active, meanwhile, because the local facilities have not settled.

Continue reading Scientology surrenders — at least partially — in seven lawsuits against its rehab network

Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology

Luis_GarciaLuis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology has survived another challenge as Judge James Whittemore denied the church’s latest motion to dismiss.

The Garcias say they were defrauded by Scientology when it pressured them to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars in building projects, but since their lawsuit was first filed in January last year, it’s run into numerous technical roadblocks.

Continue reading Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology

French prosecutors investigating claims that a company forced Scientology on workers

Jonny Jacobsen

Jonny Jacobsen

Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, jumped into action after news broke this week of another possible Scientology prosecution in France. Here’s his report…

 
French prosecutors are investigating a complaint filed by 12 employees of a building firm who say their employer forced them to take part in Scientology courses.

The case is only in its early stages and may never make it to court. But one of France‚Äôs top lawyers, Olivier Morice — a veteran of court battles with the movement — is representing the workers who filed the complaint.

Continue reading French prosecutors investigating claims that a company forced Scientology on workers

A lawsuit over counseling credentials now aims at the essence of Scientology

DavidMiscavige2We have a few legal updates for you, and they involve the lawsuit filed by the National Association of Forensic Counselors against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, many of its employees, and Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, as well.

A total of 82 defendants are scrambling to deal with the lawsuit, which alleges that they conspired to misuse the counseling certifications that the NAFC regulates. Masterminding the conspiracy, the NAFC alleged in its complaint, was Miscavige from his perch as the Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), Scientology’s nominally controlling entity.

Continue reading A lawsuit over counseling credentials now aims at the essence of Scientology

LIVE BLOG: The Elli Perkins story tonight on the ID Network, ‘The Scientology Cure’

TonyIDPlease join us tonight as we watch a dramatization of one of the most disturbing Scientology deaths, the 2003 murder of Elli Perkins by her own son, Jeremy.

Several months ago, the ID Network interviewed your proprietor for the show, and tonight we’ll get a chance to see the result. ID previously did a really good job with the story of Nancy Many, which aired last year.

Continue reading LIVE BLOG: The Elli Perkins story tonight on the ID Network, ‘The Scientology Cure’

More trouble for Scientology fundraising and recruitment in Europe

StuttgartIOFor today’s story, we turned to our helpful translators again for assistance with another article from the German press.

This item appeared in the weekly publication Kontext and provided some interesting history of Scientology in Stuttgart, saying that the local Scientologists have actually been “on the sidelines” as plans to replace a drab, poorly situated org with a gleaming new Ideal Org in a better location have stumbled, and part of the reason involves a mysterious Israeli entity.

Continue reading More trouble for Scientology fundraising and recruitment in Europe

Surviving Scientology podcast: Former treasury employee Mat Pesch spills the beans

Amy Scobee and Mat Pesch

Amy Scobee and Mat Pesch

In November 2012, we broke a big story with the help of Mat Pesch. At that time, former church executive Marty Rathbun had testified in court that Scientology had spent about $30 million in order to influence officials and get the church out of a criminal prosecution over the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. It was an explosive allegation by Rathbun, who was under oath when he said it.

Pesch then came forward and gave us corroborating information: He was the treasury secretary of the Flag Service Organization (FSO), and said he watched $20 million drained from that Scientology entity in order to fuel the campaign Rathbun was talking about.

Continue reading Surviving Scientology podcast: Former treasury employee Mat Pesch spills the beans

Sunday Funnies: Scientology has only its ‘humanitarians’ to help it refurbish eyesores

OTMaidenVoyageWe’re heading back to New York today after our visit to the fine city of Detroit for the Netroots Nation conference.

Yes, it was a challenge to keep the blog going while we were attending the confab. Especially Thursday afternoon, when we were scrambling to post the decision by the Texas Third Court of Appeals in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit while we were sitting in the press section at the big shindig at Detroit’s COBO center, waiting for Vice President Joe Biden to arrive and make his speech.

Continue reading Sunday Funnies: Scientology has only its ‘humanitarians’ to help it refurbish eyesores

VIDEO: L. Ron Hubbard solves the Cold War and your bad marriage

ARCAh, Dianetics! Our video source came through again, and we have another “quote video” of an L. Ron Hubbard lecture. In this case, it was Hubbard giving a talk on Dianetics in November 1950, about six months after his best-selling book had come out and created a craze.

To this day, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is considered “Book One” in the Hubbard canon, and it is still pushed as the introductory text to Scientology.

Continue reading VIDEO: L. Ron Hubbard solves the Cold War and your bad marriage

Ryan Hamilton files his 18th lawsuit against Scientology’s embattled drug rehab network

KluWe’re still feeling stunned by yesterday’s decision by a Texas appeals court that got Scientology leader David Miscavige out of being deposed in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit against the church. Austin appellate Justice Scott Field seemed a lot more interested in protecting corporate CEOs from having to answer questions in court than he was in the rights of Monique Rathbun to prove that she’s been a target of a years-long surveillance and harassment campaign.

If it’s not religious cloaking, it’s Scientology’s corporate complexity that seems to befuddle the American system of justice. It really is amazing.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton files his 18th lawsuit against Scientology’s embattled drug rehab network