Details are still sketchy, but apparently, in April a Florida woman named Yuliya Keaton who had once served in Scientology’s elite Sea Organization rejoined the group at its Los Angeles headquarters, but didn’t tell the church her real aim was to smuggle in recording devices to capture examples of abuse.
On May 30, her plan was discovered. She has claimed in e-mails and Internet postings that she was held in a hotel room and interrogated by church officials for several days. On June 4, the church sent out legal threat letters by e-mail to at least two church critics, accusing them of being in cahoots with Keaton. One of those accused was prominent ex-church member Karen de la Carriere. We have the letter the church sent her, as well as her response.
But first, we want to put on the record the only communication we’ve had with Keaton. Last December, she approached us and Mark Bunker in a three-way Facebook message, asking us for advice about her plans to infiltrate the Sea Org. We tried to discourage her from doing it, and when she asked what legal penalties she might face if caught, we told her we weren’t attorneys. When she asked us one more time about the law and her plans, we sent her a message making it very plain that we did not condone or want to hear about her plans. Here’s a screengrab of those final exchanges…
We heard nothing further in any form from her.
In her various online messages and e-mails, Keaton has told friends that she began her infiltration on April 13. She took with her a number of surveillance tools, including a camera concealed in a tampon. She claimed to have gained access to various sensitive databases and other files and made numerous videos. She has said that she shared this information with up to 100 people who had been given her password for several Internet accounts.
After her activities were discovered on May 30, she has told friends that she was held in a hotel room with a security guard outside her door. She told friends that she escaped one night, but was brought back for more interrogation. She said a private investigator hired by the church found records of her extensive family court history — Keaton has said in the past at online forums that she has lost custody of her children. She said she was released by church officials on June 5, and has reportedly returned to Florida.
On June 4, however, Scientology attorney Gary Soter sent the following letter to Karen de la Carriere via e-mail…
De la Carriere was once married to Heber Jentzsch, the president of the Church of Scientology International, but she was excommunicated in 2010 for speaking publicly about her ex-husband’s confinement in Scientology’s notorious office-prison, “The Hole.” Since then she’s become an outspoken critic of the church.
She immediately fired back this response to Soter…
De la Carriere tells us that she has hired Ray Jeffrey, the San Antonio attorney who was involved last year in two major legal debacles for the church, one involving former Scientology executive Debbie Cook, and the other a lawsuit filed by former church private eyes Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold.
On June 5, Keaton posted a statement about her infiltration at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board (ESMB), which was initially met with a lot of skepticism. She wrote…
I did what I did because I lost custody of my kids and I thought I have nothing else to lose, but now I may still have a chance to get my kids back, I would rather not to go to prison. I’m very sorry for what happen, I should have planned it better. I’m really sorry that I got some of my friends into troubles against their will. Most of my friends told me not to do it but I did not listen.But whats done is done. The damage I did, is really great.
Later in the message, she made an inventory of the items she had brought with her to the Sea Org in order to make recordings…
a) a hand-held document scanner secreted in an umbrella handle;
b) a USB camera pen hidden in a tampon
c) a hairbrush with a secret compartment in wich to hide a USB flash drive
d) a micro video recorder hidden in a vitamin bottle;
e) enother USB video camera pen
f) one audio recorder pen
g) covert video camera wristwach.
h) one mobole USB T-mobile hot spot with SD card slot
i) one lockbox hidden in fake English dictionary
j) one false rock with hidden compartment
k) one Duracell USB device
l) Three cell phones
m) Sandisk brand micro SD cards (up to 32 GB)
Keaton has reportedly lawyered up.
Offended by Soter’s letter, Karen de la Carriere tells us that she decided she would use this opportunity to go public with another story she’s been sitting on for several months.
It involves a young man who was once working for her, and who has been struggling with a drug problem. He turns out to be the son of a Scientology official who de la Carriere believes was responsible for keeping her from seeing her son, Alex Jentzsh, when he died last summer. De la Carriere says that faced with a similar situation — a 27-year-old in trouble — she decided to help her former employee, which brought him in greater contact with his mother, the opposite of what church officials did to her, Karen points out.
In February, we spoke at length with a former housemate and close friend to “Luigi” who corroborated many of the details in the story that de la Carriere tells. He told us that Luigi’s problem was going unaddressed until de la Carriere complained to church officials, who then encouraged Luigi to enter drug rehab. “I don’t know anyone else who could make a difference,” he told us. “I’m not going to call the church, because [Luigi]’s not on lines at the church. He doesn’t want his mom to get involved. That’s his shame. So I called Karen for help.”
De la Carriere provided aid to the son of the woman who had kept her, de la Carriere says, from seeing her dead son.
Elisabeth Moss and ABC
Our longtime readers might be surprised that we haven’t taken a shot at ABC for yet another sop to Scientology — in this case an insufferable interview with Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss, who spouted typically vague happy talk about Scientology and stayed far away from any of the controversies currently consuming the church. But we’re going to hold our fire this time. We’ve received some information that the Disney Network is trying, once again, to get some real reporting about Scientology on the air. And if this favor to Moss helps the lawyers at the network stiffen their spines a bit, well, we’re all for it. We’ll say more about the story they’re looking into when we can.
Posted by Tony Ortega on June 10, 2013 at 06:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.