Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Lori Hodgson Appeals to Scientology’s “Spin Doctor,” Michael Sitrick

Lori Hodgson

Lori Hodgson, with Jessica and Jeremy

In January, in the wake of the Atlantic magazine disaster — when Scientology’s paid “advertorial” extolling the virtues of leader David Miscavige was met with such public derision, the magazine yanked it down — the church tried another way to derail the overwhelming response to Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear by asking publications to run denunciations of the book by its spokeswoman, Karin Pouw.

Michael Calderone at the Huffington Post revealed that it was a Los Angeles crisis management specialist, Michael Sitrick, who was helping the church distribute these rebuttals to Wright’s book, and that Sitrick had been hired by Scientology 3.5 years ago to help with its image.

By now, Sitrick must know what he got himself into. But just to be sure, Lori Hodgson sent him a remarkable letter recently to make sure he understands who it is he’s working for.

We’ve written several times about Hodgson, whose two adult children, Jessica and Jeremy Leake, have “disconnected” from her because she left Scientology and dared to seek counsel from one of the church’s former top executives, Marty Rathbun, in the spring of 2011.

Hodgson let us know about the letter when she sent it to Sitrick. We then waited two weeks before we called his office in an attempt to ask him about it. We were assured that our message would get through to Sitrick or his deputy. But we haven’t heard anything back.

Neither has Lori.


Here’s what she sent…

Dear Mr. Sitrick,

My name is Lori Hodgson. I am a former Scientologist and a mother who is going through a heartbreaking disconnection with my two children, Jessica and Jeremy Leake. I am writing to you in hopes that you can help bring my children back home to me. I have heard that your company “Sitrick And Company” may be assisting the Church of Scientology. If it is true and you are working with Scientology, I would like to share my disconnection story with you.

The Church of Scientology states that they do not have a Disconnection Policy. I am living proof that this is a lie. I am currently going through the biggest heartbreak of my life. I love my Jeremy, age 19, and my Jessica, age 22, immensely and I can not even talk to them. The Church of Scientology has turned my own children completely against me and broke our family apart.

I resigned from the Church of Scientology in August 2010. My main reason for leaving Scientology was because of what happened with my two children when they both turned 15. They were recruited to work for Scientology at 15 years old, behind my back. I was strongly opposed to this as I wanted my children to finish high school and get a proper education. I fought this with Scientology and my parental rights were very much violated. I got broken down by the COS’s recruiters and I was coerced into letting them join. In fact, with Jeremy’s recruiting cycle, I was on pain pills recovering from a knee replacement surgery during my son’s recruitment for The Sea Org. The Sea Org promised me that Jeremy would have his schooling, get his drivers license and be able to come home to visit and talk to me whenever we wanted. All these promises were broken!!!! They were lies!! Then, when Jeremy wanted to leave The Sea Org, the COS made him sign a 3 Million Dollar Gag Contract to never discuss what happened when he was in the SO. Jeremy was only 16 years old when he had to sign this. He never even got a copy. What does Jeremy know that is worth a 3 million dollar threat? If this was your son wouldn’t you be concerned? I did go public with the COS’s abuses committed to my children and myself.

The COS has manipulated my children to disconnect from me and their grandparents. We can’t talk to them. We don’t even know their address or have a contact phone number. Jeremy was not allowed to call me or his grandpa and he was made to change his cell number. My father is heartbroken about his disconnected Grandchildren.

Please, Mr. Sitrick, can you help me get my children back? Scientology is not telling the truth about disconnection. They have their Disconnection Policy in full force. I am going through this cruel disconnection currently. Below are some links to my Disconnection nightmare. I hope you have the opportunity to read them. If you have any questions, my cell is …. and my email is ….

Lori Hodgson

Some readers may assume that it’s naive for Hodgson to think she might be able to convince a PR company — particularly one renowned for helping the fortunes of clients with reputations that seem beyond salvaging — to change its mind and give up working for Scientology. But surprisingly, it’s actually happened before.

Karen de la Carriere recently reminded us about a remarkable 1994 story written by journalist Patrick Kiger which appeared in Regardie’s magazine (which no longer exists). Kiger keeps a copy of the story at his website.

Kiger skillfully tells the story of Scientology’s relationship with another storied public relations house renowned for its crisis management: Hill & Knowlton.

After hiring the PR firm in 1987, “over the next three and a half years, Hill & Knowlton’s relationship with the Church of Scientology would turn into a debacle for both organizations,” Kiger writes.

Hill & Knowlton lost millions, and the careers of top executives were ruined.

The Scientologists, in turn, found themselves deserted by their high-priced spin doctors just as they suffered perhaps the most disastrous blow imaginable to their image, a scathing Time magazine cover story in April of 1991 that proclaimed Scientology “the cult of greed”…Eventually Hill & Knowlton found itself under attack from the Scientologists, who had come to see the PR giant as another villain in the dark cabal to destroy their religion. In a $14.7 million federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in 1992 and later transferred to Washington, Scientology charged that Hill & Knowlton had illegally terminated the contract between them.

Hill & Knowlton learned, just as United Health Care and Western World Insurance and the National Association of Forensic Counselors are learning today, that there is risk in doing business with the Church of Scientology.

Lori Hodgson just gave Michael Sitrick a get-out-of-jail card. Will he use it?



Yet another Scientology front group is getting called out by the media, this time in Stockholm.

From our man in Sweden:

“One of the largest newspapers in Sweden has begun an investigation targeting Scientology activity. The first expose is about five privately-run kindergartens in Stockholm that receive state subsidies despite the fact that they continue to use Scientology’s Applied Scholastics as a model of teaching. The city of Stockholm was explicit in their demands that if the kindergartens were to receive benefits, they had to follow Swedish educational standards and thus not use Applied Scholastics. It appears that they have continued doing so, despite their assurances of the opposite. This could evolve into a rather big story since Scientology is rather small in Sweden and the parents who place their children in the care of these five kindergartens are oblivious to the connection to Scientology.”

Our correspondent is going to keep an eye on the situation for us.



Oh, look what arrived at the Underground Bunker yesterday…



Posted by Tony Ortega on February 27, 2013 at 07:00


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email