NOW POSTED BELOW: We have the 20-page police report detailing what Brutsche and Newman told police during the undercover investigation of their plan to kidnap and kill a police officer. AND FINALLY — A STATEMENT FROM SCIENTOLOGY
ALSO: Devon Newman was once a tenant living in the home of Karen de la Carriere, former wife of the president of the Church of Scientology! See our update, below.
Devon Campbell Newman, 67, became the public relations director of Scientology’s “Celebrity Center” in Las Vegas, Nevada early in 2010 and has remained in that position to the present day — that’s according to her own LinkedIn profile as well as numerous online records of her activities as a Scientologist.
This week, she became known for something else. As a result of a police investigation that began in April, on Tuesday Newman and a six-time felon and registered sex offender named David Allen Brutsche, 42, were arrested for planning what police are calling a bizarre plot to kidnap and kill a random local police officer in a macabre publicity stunt to promote their “sovereign citizen” views.
The arrest and its strange details quickly made news yesterday, but Newman’s position with Scientology wasn’t mentioned. Then, last night, we were tipped by Las Vegas television journalist Nathan Baca about Newman’s role in the church. He plans to have a full report later today. But for now, we have some preliminary information about Newman’s Scientology career, and the trouble she currently finds herself in.
Newman gave a jailhouse interview to Baca’s 8 News NOW colleague, Caroline Bleakley, before they were aware of her involvement in Scientology. Bleakley’s story gives some background on the cop-killing plot…
According to the arrest report, the two belong to a “sovereign citizen movement” and don’t follow U.S. laws. Members of Metro’s Counter-Terrorism Section had been conducting an undercover operation of Brutsche and Newman since April.
Both had expressed a deep-seated hatred for law enforcement officers and planned to kidnap a police officer from a traffic stop, according to the report. They planned to place the officer in a makeshift jail and try the officer in a sovereign court of law for treason and civil rights violations. The officer would be convicted and then executed.
Newman, however, told Bleakley that she was not involved in a plot to kill a cop, and that although Brutsche had discussed kidnapping a police officer, she didn’t think he was serious.
“I am upset, because if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I have felt for a while now the police are out of control. That they are stopping people and searching them with no probable cause,” Newman said.
She also denied involvement in the sovereign citizens movement. However, she did say she agreed with people that believe in restrictions on the government outlined in the Constitution.
“I align myself with people who, as our forefathers did, believe that in inalienable rights and that the Constitution restricts the government from what they can do,” Newman said.
According to police, on July 9, David Brutsche (pictured, above) told an undercover police officer, “We need to arrest the police and take them to our jail and put them in a cell and put them on trial in a people’s court. If we run into the position that they resist, then we need to kill them.”
By that time, the three (Brutsche, Newman, and the undercover officer), had purchased a vacant house and had begun to outfit it for their jail. As the police report (below) indicates, Brutsche and Newman were later taken to a vacant house the police had prepared for them. The couple then began installing devices for holding a police officer captive in the house.
Here’s how the Southern Poverty Law Center begins its description of the sovereign citizens movement, which it says is difficult to measure the size of…
The strange subculture of the sovereign citizens movement, whose adherents hold truly bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs, has been growing at a fast pace since the late 2000s. Sovereigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes. Sovereigns are clogging up the courts with indecipherable filings and when cornered, many of them lash out in rage, frustration and, in the most extreme cases, acts of deadly violence, usually directed against government officials. In May 2010, for example, a father-son team of sovereigns murdered two police officers with an assault rifle when they were pulled over on the interstate while traveling through West Memphis, Ark.
Before she was allegedly caught up in a plot to kidnap, try, and execute a cop as a political statement, Newman was active as the Church of Scientology’s public relations maven in Southern Nevada.
It was her job, for example, to promote events at the Celebrity Centre, like this May 2011 How to Make It in the Entertainment Industry Seminar that featured actress Marisol Nichols.
Newman has also been an active part of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, representing Scientology’s views at the council’s events. She was a featured speaker, for example, this past October at an event discussing marriage…
In November 2011, the Interfaith Council held a discussion about evolution, and this was Devon Newman’s presentation to the group…
Most recently, we found that Devon Newman was listed among other Scientology invitees for a prosperity seminar at the Las Vegas Celebrity Centre scheduled for May, 2013.
By that time, according to police, Newman was already being investigated for her connection to Brutsche and the plot to kill a cop.
We’ve sent a request for comment to Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw. We’ll let you know if she gets back to us.
In our experience, Scientologists tend to be politically in the middle of the road. Most tend to be on the conservative side of things, but other members — including celebrities — are Democrats and give generously to liberal causes.
Numerous times, however, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard voiced disdain for “wog” law — the rules of a non-Scientology society. In 1966, for example, he said, “Somebody some day will say ‘this is illegal.’ By then be sure the orgs [Scientology organizations] say what is legal or not.”
Eleven years earlier, he had encouraged his followers to use the law to their own ends: “The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.”
Observers have pointed out that Scientology’s “Fair Game” policy of retaliation against critics and former members, and allegations that it abuses its Sea Org staff, were reflections that Scientology doesn’t feel bound by civil law.
But we haven’t previously noticed Scientologists espousing the lunatic conspiracy theories of the sovereign citizens movement. Our commenters will let us know if they’ve seen any previous connections.
UPDATE: We’ve received more information about Devon Newman’s Scientology career from a source we are not naming. Here’s what our source sent us…
There is no way the church can claim that Devon Newman was not ever staff or involved in Scientology. Devon Newman was in the Sea Org at AOLA [the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, part of the "Big Blue complex near downtown] in the early 2000s, up until 2004 I believe. She was the Director of Processing, in charge of people up to the level of Clear (she didn’t work in the OT levels area). She left the Sea Org shortly after that, I believe, due to a medical condition, which kept her from even being on her post full time.
As the D of P, she was awful. She did not relate well with people, did bad interviews, could not duplicate or relay the C/S’s instructions well and she had a bit of an “evil streak” which would get her in bad with others. From the waiting area, I could sometimes hear the C/S (I think Barbara Rubio was her name) yelling and screaming at Devon for her incompetence.
So imagine my surprise when years later Devon Newman showed up as staff at Las Vegas. Having been in the Sea Org is usually a big no-no for being recruited to staff but they made a special exception for her because she was “not qualified for the Sea Org in the first place due to her medical situation.” Devon was posted in Div 6 and did PR work as you reported. That was the last I heard of her.
2nd UPDATE: We’ve heard from Karen de la Carriere, who remembers Devon Newman well.
“I still get mail for her here,” Karen told us by telephone today. De la Carriere is well known to the readers of this website. She trained to be a Class XII Scientology auditor with founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s, was married to Heber Jentzsch, the president of the Church of Scientology International, and she was excommunicated in 2010 when she spoke openly about her ex-husband’s confinement in Scientology’s notorious office-prison, “The Hole.” Because she spoke out, her son Alexander was forced by the church to “disconnect” from her, and when he died last year at only 27, she was prevented from attending his church memorial.
Karen lives in a large house in Los Feliz. The front of her house serves as a fine art studio where she does business. Her quarters are in the rear of the house. But there’s another suite of rooms that she rented out to Devon and Dan Newman from about 1997 to 2000.
“She’s been in the church for 35 or 40 years,” Karen says. And after living at the house for about three years, Devon then left to join Scientology’s “Sea Organization” at the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (AOLA), which is only a few miles away.
“She was a heavy smoker, and she had to give it up to join the SO. I remember thinking that was going to be very hard for her,” Karen says. (Karen called us back to clarify this point: She’s not saying smoking isn’t allowed in the Sea Org, but that Devon was someone used to smoking indoors, and she would have to give that up for the Sea Org, where it can be tough to catch the time off for a smoke break outside.)
Scientologists who join the Sea Org sign billion-year contracts and promise to continue to work for the church, lifetime after lifetime. They are housed in crowded dorms, fed meager food, and work 100-hour weeks for pennies an hour.
We have heard from three people who all worked with Newman at AOLA. They tell us she was there until about 2004.
Karen says that Dan Newman did not join the Sea Org with Devon. He left Karen’s house soon after Devon left, and Karen says the last she heard he was living in Orange County. Karen believes they had been married for about 20 years when they first moved into her house in about 1997.
Karen says the heavy smoking and other reasons soured her on renting the space, and she hasn’t rented that suite to outsiders since.
A few days ago, Karen says, she started getting calls from a bail bond service in Las Vegas, as apparently Devon Newman hoped Karen would put up money to get her released from jail. Karen didn’t return the messages.
Here’s Nathan Baca’s report…
While parts of the Sea Org do serve as Scientology’s “security and intelligence” organization, many other employees are not involved in that. We haven’t seen any evidence yet that Devon Newman was a part of the Office of Special Affairs, for example.
While in the Sea Org at AOLA, Devon was director of processing and oversaw low-level auditing. While at the Las Vegas Celebrity Center, we’re told her PR job was out of Division 6, the division that works to bring in new public. In neither case are these high ranking positions in Scientology management.
And just a further note about the Snow White convictions in 1979, based on a 1977 FBI raid: That infiltration of the federal government was directed by the very highest levels of Scientology, including founder L. Ron Hubbard (who was an unindicted co-conspirator) and Mary Sue Hubbard, who served a year in prison.
3rd UPDATE: We have dox! First, here’s the lengthy police report, which summarizes the actions of Brutsche and Newman as they were being observed by undercover officers…
And here’s the criminal complaint…
UPDATE WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: Finally, a statement from the Church of Scientology, which was just given to Nathan Baca — who was good enough to pass it on to us.
Are you ready? Here’s how the Las Vegas church responded to Baca’s question about Devon Newman, and about Scientology’s previous involvement in Operation Snow White…
The Church of Scientology follows the law of the land as is clearly covered in our scripture. For more information, see our FAQs at http://www.scientology.org/faq.html
Membership in groups which advocate violation of the law disqualifies an individual from membership in the Church of Scientology.
Regarding your questions of activities of former rogue members of the Church more than 30 years ago, these people were removed from the Church by current leadership in the early 1980s and forbidden from ever serving again on Church staff. Their office was disbanded.
Media Relations Department
Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre Las Vegas
STUNNING: No mention of Devon Newman. No denial that she was the Celebrity Centre’s PR Director. And does that statement imply that she’s been kicked out? If so, why not be more specific about it?
Posted by Tony Ortega on August 23, 2013 at 07:00
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