We have another disturbing document to share with you today. It contains private details that you may find difficult to read. But the person who brought us the document, the son of its author, wants the public to see what Scientology put his mother through.
Her name was Claire Reppen, and she was well known among our readers who were longtime Scientologists. She was a Class XII auditor, the most technically superior Scientology counselors on the planet, and she worked at the organization’s spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida. But Claire eventually fell afoul of Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige (as so many do), and she was sentenced to heavy manual labor at 64 years of age in the Sea Organization’s prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force.
She then fell ill. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to be as a dedicated member of Scientology’s Sea Org, it’s advanced in years and sick.
While the plight of children working in Scientology is getting more and more attention, particularly as Leah Remini’s A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath finds a huge audience, what gets less emphasis is that many idealistic young people who joined Scientology in its heyday are now working into their older years for the church, some of them having never had a life outside of it. And when the inevitable ravages of age come, the Sea Org, unlike other religious organizations, has no interest in people who are unable to work around the clock in spartan conditions.
The aging Scientologist is a Scientologist at risk — something we were acutely reminded of yesterday with the stunning news of a Shelly Miscavige sighting, and a report that she appeared “frail.” What kind of future does an aging, sequestered Sea Org executive have in a church whose slogan is “we make the able more able”?
Today, we have one example which addresses that question. And it is a troubling example.
Claire Kay was born on December 11, 1932 and grew up in Toronto. She married Jack Reppen, a talented cartoonist for the Toronto Star. Jack Reppen was also gaining a reputation for his serious abstract paintings when he tragically died at only 30 of cancer in 1964. Claire had two young children to raise on her own, and her son says it wasn’t too surprising that she turned out to be vulnerable to a pitch from a friend about Scientology. Two years later, in 1966, she was at Saint Hill Manor in England training to be an auditor at the UK headquarters when it was operating at a fever pitch.
At Saint Hill, Claire took its famous Special Briefing Course and became Scientology’s Clear #422.
Claire also took courses with L. Ron Hubbard while he was running Scientology from sea, and then she ended up in Los Angeles to continue her auditor training. In 1970, she returned to Toronto and reunited with her children, who had been in boarding schools. But then in 1972 she was back on the ship with Hubbard, having joined the Sea Organization, and then later was back in Los Angeles.
In 1981, Claire went to the Flag Land Base in Clearwater to become a Class 12 auditor. She would be delivering the most expensive auditing at the worldwide center where Scientologists came for the most exclusive experience. She personally brought in huge amounts of revenue to the church for auditing that cost subjects hundreds of dollars an hour, while Claire herself, as a Sea Org member, was making pennies an hour, if she was paid at all.
But then, her son explains, David Miscavige, who had succeeded L. Ron Hubbard as Scientology’s leader, issued changes to the way auditing would be conducted in 1995. He called it the “Golden Age of Technology,” and it infuriated many longtime Scientologists, including Claire. (Miscavige arbitrarily decided that the phenomena for indicating a successful auditing session — the movement of the indicator on the E-meter — should take three swings of the needle. To Claire, a strict traditionalist, a “floating needle” was indicated by only two swings. Such are matters on which Scientology’s fortunes rest.) When a parishioner named Lisa McPherson died at the Flag Land Base that December, Miscavige angrily blamed the “Class 12s” for not supporting the Golden Age of Tech strongly enough. Claire was singled out for punishment, even though she’d had nothing to do with McPherson’s case.
“Mom was a ‘head on a pike,'” her son says, echoing a familiar Hubbard phrase, that when things went wrong, someone needed to be blamed.
At 64, Claire was assigned to the RPF and its brutal regimen of privation and hard labor.
While Claire was being punished in Florida, her son, who had joined the Sea Org in 1973 at only 13 years of age, was also doing hard labor in the RPF, but in Los Angeles. In May 1998, he’d had enough and walked away, leaving the RPF and the Sea Org itself. And it was only then, after getting connected to the outside world again, that word reached him about his mother.
Claire, while she was laboring in the RPF, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her son learned that she had been moved to a non-Scientology facility called Magnolia Manor, and she had already been through a mastectomy and several rounds of radiation and chemo. He raced to see her, and then visited her numerous times over the next couple of years.
When he first saw her, he says, she looked terrible. The illness and its cure — the radiation and chemo treatments — had taken their toll. Claire was bald, and she looked frail. But at Magnolia Manor and away from the Flag Land Base and the Sea Org, at least she could recuperate. He says she improved rapidly.
In the summer of 2000, Claire Reppen was so much better, she traveled to Los Angeles to visit with her son and to get expert treatment at the City of Hope, where doctors told her that her breast cancer was in remission. But they told her she was still in danger — the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
After the trip to Los Angeles, Claire returned to Magnolia Manor in Florida. Her son says she planned to get more treatment and to continue to fight her cancer. But then, in a move that surprised them both, she was ordered back to the Flag Land Base.
She moved into the Sea Org’s berthing at an apartment complex known as The Hacienda on Saturn Ave, but she was too ill to work as an auditor. On “medical leave,” She was given a menial job of writing letters to convince former members to come back in for Scientology courses.
“It was total degradation for a Class 12 auditor. She was in a back room, going through central files, and sending letters to people trying to get them back on course,” her son says. “And at the Hacienda she didn’t have the freedoms she had at Magnolia Manor. She just wanted to read a newspaper every morning, for example, and at the Hacienda that was a pain in the ass.”
Nearing her 68th birthday, Claire was increasingly suffering symptoms as the cancer in her lymph nodes was developing.
Sea Org workers sign billion-year contracts and work 112-hour weeks for pennies an hour. It’s the last place an older worker fighting cancer should be. But in the Sea Org there are no excuses, there’s just “making things go right,” and Claire was being pushed to get her work done by a supervisor named Sherri Rabey.
On November 13, 2000, Claire decided to write about what she was going through to the Religious Technology Center, the controlling entity of Scientology. In the typical Scientology way, she is frank and graphic. Her son, however, asked us to publish the entire document unredacted.
13 Nov. 00
RTC Reports Officer
Claire Reppen (FSO Crew, currently on medical leave)
cc: Sr. HAS FLB
I need your help again, re: getting handled medically, while on my MLO leave, and judgement on when it would be survival to return to work.
I am not debugged yet, on my medical situations (i.e.: finding the source of my physical situations and the correct handlings).
Sherry, yesterday, came to M-10 (HAC, where I relocated from Magnolia Manor about 2 weeks ago) and ordered me to go with the tech ESTO (who was also present) to find a uniform and go into work at 3:30 (i.e.: about 2 hrs later).
This came as a shock, as she hadn’t been in comm with me for about a week. She did not ask me how I was doing physically.
When I told her I had planned on finishing eating lunch and needed to take a nap right after, she wouldn’t listen and started yelling and arguing. When I tried to stop her and told her we needed to establish some ‘R’ on the situation, she wasn’t willing to listen and wasn’t interested.
She began berating me and invalidated my viewpoint. I could see I wasn’t going to get anywhere, talking to an angry person, so I told her I would get fitted for the uniform.
The tech ESTO made arrangements to meet me tomorrow, in the MLO office after I do a dental appointment, after which I’m sure she plans on ESTOing me onto post.
When trying to sort it out with Sherry (see above) I reminded Sherry of my physical problems:
I.e., I still have to get up 3 or 4 times a night (to urinate)(and sometimes diarrhea). I can’t always get back to sleep (sometimes it takes 15-30 min. sometimes up to more than an hour). I also reminded her I need 2 to 3 naps a day, and still have somatics. I’m having trouble with diarrhea each morning. She invalidated the originations and negated that I needed time (more) to handle. In her viewpoint, by staying away from me, and out of comm, she felt she’d “given me more than enough time.
The missing ‘R’ came from not hearing from her and her not asking how I was doing for last two weeks. Sherry also says my incomplete medical cycles are small, and I should be on top of them. She and nearly every elderly she handles has what I have. However, how can Sherry have an accurate viewpoint, if she hasn’t undergone the 14 mos. of cancer handling that I did. (I.e. months of chemo, two surgeries — lumpectomy then a week later mastectomy, removal of 8 lymph nodes, more months of chemo, then 33 radiation treatments, from May 99 – July 00. I take the oncologist’s prescription of “tamoxifen” to help reduce the re-occurence of cancer and will for 5 years. It by itself has side effects, i.e. hot flashes, fatigue, appetite problems.)
So, I have incomplete cycles with the following:
The urologist (for the urination problem I am taking “ditropan” tablets prescribed by the urologist. I am to see him in 2 weeks if not handled, he recommends doing a surgical procedure on the bladder (requires anasthetic). I have an appointment.
Able to follow his nutritional pgm. (Been out of his prescribed nutrient for 3 weeks and the MLO float, per Crystal, is too sparse to cover my capsules.) I have noticed a differnece with not taking thm.
I.e. more fatigue, more aches and pains and even the surgery wound area (left breast and under left arm remains sore. (This per Dr. Elliot — the surgeon — is common for some time after this surgery.) It is most troublesome when I try to go to sleep.
I do have one of the 4 nutrients Dr. Cooper prescribed, “Biotrophic nutrient.”
Other ongoing or incomplete cycles include
a) An incomplete dental cycle (2 front teeth are caps and are loose and painful.)
b) Need new eyeglasses prescription (4 years out of date, and get eyestrain).
c) I have an ongoing cycle trying to get “Medicare.” I have instructions on how to go about it from D/LGL CHF, OSA FLAG (Glen Stilo). I was routed his instructions Oct 18, but Sherry has been too busy to be in comm and help me do the steps. This is an important cycle (re: Medicare approval) to complete so that FSO is saved thousands of $ on any further medical bills I have. Sherry has put aside $110.00 needed for this cycle — for 2 weeks (instead of spending it on medical needs for me). However, we haven’t done anything on it for over 2 weeks and no comm from Sherry on when.
Sherry has told me, in the past, “That I am out-ethics for still needing to handle fatigue — by taking 2 – 3 naps a day.” (She did this outburst on the way to a dental appointment, when I was in pain and repeated the same yelling — that I was out-ethics for needing naps — on the way back from the dentist, still in pain and also just having novocaine at dentist. When I asked her to stop yelling these remarks at me while coming off the novocaine and in pain, she continued. (Finally stopped about 3 min. later. This was 2 mos. ago.)
When I write to RTC and Sr. HAS, FLB, about 3 mos. ago, asking for help on sorting out my MLO lines and status, she (Sherry) at that time started being my MLO terminal. I gave her a copy of the dispatch to RTC and Sr HAS that I wrote at the time. She said she would help me. However, she warned me that she didn’t want any KRs or dispatches written concerning HER (by me), and that I should talk to her first.
This is what I tried to do this time (i.e., get the KRC in on my cycles). However, she couldn’t do it, using comm. This is why I am writing to you (RTC & Sr. HAS) for help. (Also, after that last call for help I wrote to you, about 3 mos ago, Sherry discussed the content of my dispatches to RTC and Sr. HAS with Mary Skapple (FSO staff — former Ls HGC DOFP). Mary had just come back from hospital and was recovering from a stroke and not in good shape (at Magnolia). Sherry put entheta on Mary’s lines about me and my cycle. She told Mary my reports to RTC & Sr. HAS FLB were nothing but “natter.” (Mary and I are still good friends.) This upset me as I was truly asking for help.
Sherry has also discussed her opinions about other elderlies to me, spreading entheta:
a) She told me “Ann Saunders is insane” about 2 mos. ago.
b) “Margo Clark is out-ethics,” “not acting like an S.O. member” — as she wouldn’t agree with Sherry about work. (Margo is 94 years old and a 30-year vet.) Sherry has mentioned this to me at least twice in the last 2-3 mos.
When Sherry’s cycle with me yesterday blew up and went “off the rails,” I ended up being over-tired, enturbulated, and had more somatics. She came about the time I was going to take a nap, which she disagreed with. I did not sleep hardly at all last nite.
I tried to get a handling going with the Sr. HAS last nite — but she was tied up with (I’m sure) much more urgent matters. She and I had good comm cycles on my cycle a few months ago. She told m to let her know when I felt ready to come back to post. Sherry did not want to hear this from me. When I brought it up about a month ago and told me she was “in comm” with the Sr. HAS on my cycle. I decided in P.T. that I would still follow the earlier dispatch and suggestion from Sr. HAS — so I called her last nite for help.
One other sit[uation] I need help with. My 2 wog sisters (both in their 70s) are coming to C.W. (from Toronto, Can.) to especially see me. They are concerned about the cancer condition and handling I am undergoing. (My eldest of the 2 had cancer herself 5 years ago.) They have not seen me for about 12 years, and have been planning this visit to see me for 2-3 mos. They were to come earlier (for my grandson’s wedding — i.e., Brian Juss (Sec guard) and Stephanie Bruneau (OSA FSO).
But didn’t — due to illness of one of the sisters — they are OK to come now, and will be arriving this week (Thursday 16 Nov.). They expect to see me during their week’s stay (they will be in some local hotel). I had info’d Sherry about this “sister visit” for almost 2 mos. (At the time it was first planned I would have been still at Magnolia Manor.) Sherry & I talked about it 2-3 times. When I reminded Sherry yesterday about their visit, Sherry said “she did not know anything about it” (till P.T.) and yet she and I discussed it earlier.
Sherry was B.I.’s on me telling her of their visit this week. I need some reassurance that I won’t have any stops on visiting with them. (Part of the consid. is they may not get the chance to see me again.)
I need some smoothing of the lines (whatever is needed) for me to visit with them (they arrive Thurs. 16).
I won’t visit with them all day as I still need to keep in my successful actions re: naps, nutrition, etc. This was workable when my son came to visit me (about a week ago). I still kept in my regimen — re: rest, food, quiet.
(Sherry OK’d this, but doesn’t have good indicators on the visit with sisters.)
Please tell me what is needed.
I was caved in by this order of Sherry’s yesterday, due to the no ARC/KRC. The enturb lasted till today — but is wearing off. I just need to complete more of these medical cycles so I feel able to work.
I must keep my code of honor and integrity and do it when I know I can.
I do know I am needed and I do appreciate all the help and do have a purpose to contribute. (These haven’t waned.)
Off-hand, my estimate to get back (on a gradient) to work would be sometime after I get to see the gastrologist and get a debug/handle (which could include a surgical procedure, an anasthetic like I had 2 mos. ago on the colonoscopy (lower). This procedure should help alleviate the problem. As it will find my source for the trouble.
When I can get this done is vital.
I should estimate 2-3 weeks to try a gradient of work.
Thank you for your attention!
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of Scientology jargon in that letter, which was written by someone who had been a Scientologist for 34 years and a Sea Org member for 28 of them. But even if you don’t get all the references, the thrust of it should come through pretty clearly.
This was a nearly 68-year-old woman with advanced cancer who was being punished because she needed to take naps. And because she needed some dental work and a new pair of eyeglasses.
Naturally, it gets worse. Two months later, Claire’s supervisor, Sherri Rabey, submitted her own “Knowledge Report,” complaining about the lousy work ethic of the terminally ill woman working for her, just one of the “elderlies” Rabey was responsible for. (Claire’s note is published here for the first time, but Sherri’s Knowledge Report was posted by Marty Rathbun at his blog in 2010.)
17 Jan 2001
Chief Staff MAA
Sen SO Vets Liaison Off
Dept 14 FSO
cc: RTC Inspector for the AO
Sen Has FLB
Sen Dir I and R FLB
Security Chief FLB
Hacienda Daywatch, Max
Dir I and R FSO
Staff MLO FSO
KR: Claire Reppen
This is a general write up regarding specific Out-Ethics I have observed Claire to be involved in.
I have checked up/seen her about 100 times since I took her on in November, 2000. Every time I see her she is doing the following things:
Putting on make-up
Getting ready to dye her hair
Buying a St. Pete Times newspaper
Plucking her eyebrows
Reading the newspaper
Reading a novel
Drinking coffee with a roommate or friend
Visiting her daughter
Chatting with friends
Giving me bad or critical remarks about RTC, CMO terminals, Security and other crew.
Causing out PR with non-Scientologists
I have only once seen her resting.
I have never seen her exercising, like she is supposed to.
I also have not seen her twinning on Assists even though I gave her various elderlies who were happy to do this with her.
With my other elderlies I handle them myself if they are slack or out ethics. This is my job and any responsible SO member would do the same. When I have tried to take up these points with Claire her response is to write to very high Org terminals and spread black PR about me and natter about how I am mishandling her.
She seems a bit obsessed with reading the newspaper. When I took this up with her she insisted how the paper is not entheta and is informative. This is a bizarre viewpoint for a Scientologist — let alone a S.O. member. She also reads the obituaries and tells me who died. This is destructive for her first Dynamic and will not contribute to her getting well. Hacienda Security says that she goes out every day like clockwork just to get a paper. One day she did not get one as we had to go to an early morning medical appointment and she was very PTPed about getting one later that day.
She is also very addicted to coffee and cigarettes and when she left her coffee at Magnolia she was very PTPed about me getting it to her that day and asked me numerous times to get it as if it was some emergency. She smokes a lot and of course has been told to stop smoking many times by her doctors.
When I take her to doctors offices she is loud, rude, and sometimes curses loudly.
A few weeks ago I got her in with a government official (a Mr. Casisis) who in the past has gone out of his way for the Church and has been very helpful in getting our elderly crew onto Medicaire [sic] (this saves us 100s of thousands of dollars). I have been working on my comm line with this guy for about 2 years and it has been going very good and proven very valuable. Anyway, I was very pleased he was going to see her and fit her in. At this point she decided she was too hungry to do the cycle right then. This was bad as it is extremely hard to see him and can take months to get a appointment for him. I asked the receptionist if I had time to get a snack for my friend and unfortunately he went off and told Mr. Casisis that Claire was hungry.
Anyway at that point Mr. Casisis called us in to see him and we sat as his desk in the back room of this proper government office. He then asked Claire if she was hungry and I expected her to say no, she was fine, she could wait, etc. and to my horror she said yes – and he asked her if she wanted some of his pizza and she said yes. He went off and got her this. Then she proceeded to eat this at/on his desk. It was hot and she used her fingers to scoop stuff off the top and it got messy and she got tomato sauce around the val docs etc. Then she asked him for a cup of coffee! This was so inappropriate that I could not quite believe it was happening.
This was absolutely creating a shore flap and she should do lower conditions for that alone. This is just one story in dealing with her – I just thought that as I kept saying she is troublesome without giving lots of specifics – I should give some – so there is one story.
Anyway the next day the Hibo capered him with an Italian (he is Italian) take out meal brought to his office and we dead agented this as best as possible.
She also has done some inappropriate 2D stuff, like tightly hugging Ernie, who is 86 and he commented on it and she thought it was funny.
After she got back to the Hacienda she would frequently return to Magnolia Manor and would spend the day there visiting and socializing. All the time saying she was way too ill to do 2 hours of light desk work 1-2 times a week, as I had asked her to do. She even arranged for them to give her meals there. This was out exchange and of course — out PR.
Also after she was back at the Hacienda for a few weeks she heard that someone elderly from Magnolia Manor had died and she went there and closed the manager at Magnolia to take her to the funeral. I do not even know if she was invited.
Also all these times she goes to Magnolia – she walks. This is outpointy as again she has been “too sick / too weak to work” but can go off around town socializing.
Per security – when her family was here she went off with them for the entire days for 1-2 weeks.
Also per security she often goes out shopping at night with Dorothy Cosby.
I also saw that she was writing to the Feshbachs – this needs to be investigated to see if there is something bad going on. In the past she was very social with public and had received inappropriate gifts like a cell phone, and I think a VCR.
While she was at Magnolia she arranged for a public, Sandra Litchfield – to take her out shopping and to help her do personal cycles. When I went over this with her and enlightened her on the current FLB rules regarding fraternizing with public – she did not think she had done anything wrong.
It also should be checked out to see if she has gotten any other special favors or money from public. She has been too open with them – telling how rough it has been and how sick she has been, etc.
She also mentioned to me that her son had sent her money. This should be checked out as he is a recent freeloader.
A main complaint she has is that she needs to use the bathroom often. When I took her to Tampa to get a green card (to get her on medicaire) I was with her the whole day and she used the bathroom 1-2 times.
I also have wondered if she is faking being ill – so as to not have to work. I doubt it – but factually her physical universe actions cause me to wonder about that. When I have had elderlies too sick to work they are mostly bedridden, and they dream and postulate about the day they can return to post and serve the group.
Katie Botha, a dorm mate of Claire’s, told me she has stolen things and used her things without asking.
There is more – but I think there is more than enough data here for HCO.
This is true
Claire’s son says that his mother never went back to Magnolia Manor. In June, she went from living at the Hacienda and working at Flag to being rushed to the Morton Plant Hospital.
“She was pretty much on her death bed at that point,” he says. But Claire lingered into the summer. “She was on morphine and pretty drugged up. The last night before she went into a coma, we had a big sit down with my sister, and mom went on a rant about the Knowledge Report that Sherri had written.”
He says that she was angry that she’d been sent back to the Hacienda and put to work when she’d done so much better at the Magnolia Manor, away from a Sea Org work schedule.
Claire Reppen died on August 2, 2001.
“There are a growing number of elderly Sea Org members,” former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder said when we told him that we intended to publish Claire Reppen’s note. “They don’t have anywhere else to go. They have no savings, they haven’t paid into Social Security, and they have often disconnected from whatever family they may have. It never occurs to them that the Sea Org will not be taking care of them. Children in the Sea Org is troubling enough, but it’s important to remember that the organization has another ugly secret — how it treats its older members.
“Every Sea Org member is seen as a cog in the machine. The ideal Sea Org member would be a robot — literally. They would work 24 hours a day and require no food or a bed to sleep in or health care — all those things cost money and there is never enough money to pay and care for staff in any Sea Org organization. The closer one approaches these ideals, the better one is as a Sea Org member. Conversely, the ‘needy’ or those who are sick are a ‘distraction’ and are treated that way. This becomes particularly cruel when you grow old. Despite 10, 20, 30 or more years of service, working day and night and getting virtually nothing in return, once you are no longer able to perform at the level of ‘normal’ Sea Org members you are treated as a liability. Seen as lazy. A distraction. A nuisance. Sea Org members view those who are ‘not pulling their weight’ for any reason as a burden,” he says.
“Elderly Sea Org members are burdens. They get shunted off to facilities where nobody really takes care of them. They are derided for their inability to ‘contribute.'” Rinder adds. “It’s sick. And it is a reflection of Scientology ultimately eradicating compassion from its most dedicated believers.”
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