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NARCONON CEO GARY SMITH LOSES COUNSELOR CERTIFICATION

GarySmithThe Underground Bunker has learned that Gary Smith, CEO of Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead, has been stripped of his drug counselor certification by the National Association of Forensic Counselors.

The NAFC’s CEO and president, Karla Taylor, confirmed today that her organization has sent out letters that suspend or revoke Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CCDC) certifications to numerous employees of Narconon programs in Oklahoma and Georgia — two facilities that have been the center of controversy after patient deaths, criminal investigations, and multiple lawsuits. Taylor says she has confirmation that Smith has received his revocation notice.

Mary Rieser has also lost her CCDC, but the former Narconon Georgia executive director may have bigger problems with the state continuing a criminal insurance fraud probe of the facility.

In Narconon Arrowhead websites, Smith is usually identified as “Gary Smith, CCDC” and no other license or certification identifies him as a professional in the counseling business. We left a message with him this afternoon, hoping to find out how he’s going to respond to the revocation, and to see if he has any other professional certifications.

If not, it’s a bad time for the CEO of Scientology’s flagship operation to lose his professional standing. After three deaths over a nine-month period (the last in July, 2012), Narconon Arrowhead has been the subject of local and state criminal investigations, it’s being sued by the families of deceased patients, and the state of Oklahoma is this very month considering legislation that might put the facility’s own licensing in question.

The NAFC took this action after receiving formal complaints from former employees that Taylor has not identified. But Eric Tenorio and Luke Catton tell us that they’re the former staffers who came forward to complain that Narconon staffers fraudulently obtained their CCDC certifications. Catton and Tenorio say they were among staffers who were given answer keys in order to pass a test to get their CCDC certifications even though they weren’t really qualified, and they claim that all Narconon employees used similar methods.

Taylor told us earlier that she was stunned to learn that the Oklahoma and Georgia facilities had been the subject of controversy because of patient deaths and lawsuits. None of the CCDC-certified employees at either facility had notified the NAFC of those controversies, which they were required to do by the ethics code of their certifications.

We asked Taylor if that’s why Rieser and Smith had their certifications revoked rather than only suspended. She said she could not comment on specific cases, but she said the multiple letters the NAFC sent out with revocations were based on “severe” and “incontrovertible” evidence.

Although Smith has not returned our calls, there’s evidence that the staff at Narconon Arrowhead and other facilities are reacting to the NAFC’s crackdown. The NAFC was also unhappy that Narconon facilities were falsely implying that the NAFC had approved the Narconon program by use of its logo. In recent days, those web pages have been disappearing.

Another interesting change is that suddenly, Gary Smith is no longer touting the CCDC certifications in an open letter he posted to the web last year. You can see the original version here which boasts of 20 CCDC certs (in a post complaining about the “terrorist group” Anonymous), and now a new version which omits it.

Also, Narconon Arrowhead seems to have pulled down its staff page, which used to feature photos of the staff and which ones have CCDC certification.

We managed to save images of that page, and when we can figure out a glitch here in the blog engine, we’ll put up a few images to show how much the “CCDC” title figured in them.

More information when we get it.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 2013 at 14:45

 

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