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SCIENTOLOGY’S PRIVATE DANCER: A Story of Seduction, Intervention, and Betrayal

AS SEEN ON TV: The title image for Bryan Seymour's report on Today Tonight

AS SEEN ON TV: The title image for Bryan Seymour’s report on Today Tonight

The Underground Bunker has teamed up with another Australian news organization for an exclusive story about Scientology. In this case, we are pleased to have worked with Bryan Seymour of the 7 News program Today Tonight.

We coordinated with Seymour to investigate the story of Manuela Oliveira, a woman who had been a rising dancer building a solid television choreography career, working on such shows as The Voice, and The X Factor, and for such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Paula Abdul. Three years ago, Manuela moved to Los Angeles from Australia with her boyfriend and fellow choreographer, Yannus Sufandi, as the two followed their dreams of breaking into Hollywood.

Two years later, their dreams were disrupted and Manuela had abandoned her relationship with Yannus. To her family’s utter surprise, she had given up everything to join the Church of Scientology’s strict inner corps, the Sea Organization.

In March, the Oliveira family sent Manuela’s brother, Mark, from Sydney to Los Angeles to meet with Yannus to investigate what had happened. The two of them conspired to lure Manuela out of Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters and bring her to a meeting at a private home, where several well-known Ex-Scientologists were waiting for her. It was an intervention of a Sea Org member, a rare and emotional event that pitted a conditioned, robotic young woman against her brother, her boyfriend, and several people who were doing their best to talk sense into her.

And we were there.

In the last couple of years, we’ve been reporting non-stop on the numerous crises that grip Scientology: dwindling membership, internal splits, the meltdown of Narconon, the announcement of government investigations and the filing of dozens of new lawsuits from one end of the country to the other. But investigating the story of Manuela Oliveira — which contained some of the most unique experiences of our reporting career — made us realize that it would be a mistake to think that Scientology does not still have the power to lure in young people and convince them to give up their previous lives and their previous families. For some, the siren call of Scientology is as potent as ever, and that worries people like Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who told us Manuela’s story concerned him greatly.


“It shows you the grip that Scientology can have on people,” Xenophon told us. “This is an organization that promises everything but in some cases delivers the opposite. It promises spiritual salvation, but instead puts people through a personal hell.”



Yannus Sufandi’s family moved to Australia from Indonesia when he was a child. Manuela Oliveira’s family had emigrated from Portugal. The two met for the first time in 2004.

At the time, she had just ended a seven-year relationship, and was looking for a new direction in her life. She took a dance class from Yannus, and before long they were dating.


As a couple in Sydney, Yannus and Manuela began to have serious success with their dancing and choreography. They were getting work on Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance, and Manuela became a judge on the Malaysian version of the show.

In 2010, they decided it was time to try the big time, and they moved to Los Angeles and applied for green cards. Making a living had always been a struggle, and now, even more so.

“It’s a process. You don’t just move to LA and get famous. There are ups and downs,” Yannus says. “In the entertainment business, you get knocked back a lot. There are a lot of rejections. It’s a grind and it’s a hustle, and it’s about knowing the right people.”

Still, their careers continued to improve. They worked together choreographing segments on The Voice and The X Factor, and each of them tried to branch out — Yannus with acting, and Manuela with singing and producing music.

Then, early in 2012, at a dance class, Manuela seriously injured a knee. It left her bedridden for weeks, and Yannus says it left her depressed. “She had an eye infection too. She was feeling down. She wanted to work on her music, but she was also feeling beat down.”


Her injury wasn’t the only thing that had been bothering her, he says. “Every man she met to talk to about her dancing or her music wanted to sleep with her. She was tired of it.”

While she was still recovering, Manuela heard from an old friend, a woman in Florida she had known in Australia. The friend told her that she was in Florida doing courses at Scientology’s spiritual headquarters there. She encouraged Manuela to look into Hollywood’s Celebrity Centre, telling her they could do “touch assists” to help her knee heal.

(“Touch assists” are a sort of faith-healing technique that Scientologists are encouraged to use. John Travolta recently was quoted in a Scientology magazine saying that he had eliminated the severe pain a man was feeling in his ankle after a car crash simply by doing an assist.)

After her knee was well enough for her to walk again, Manuela began making visits to Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre.

She began telling Yannus about the place, and also that Scientology had its own recording studio, Mad Hatter, which had been founded by Chick Corea.

At her urging, Yannus went with her to see the studio. By that point, she’d been dabbling in Scientology for a few months.

“She said she felt better and was learning something,” Yannus says. So he didn’t give it much mind.

Then, in November 2012, she asked him to come to the Celebrity Centre with her.

“She wanted me to check out the Purification Rundown. She said Kelly Preston was going to be speaking. I hadn’t really checked it out in the six months that she’d been involved. But I was creeped out. I didn’t like the pressure they were putting on her. They were calling her constantly,” he says.

In January of this year, he says, she made several visits to Mad Hatter Studios, and the Scientologists there showed her videos of past events, telling her that they wanted her to choreograph upcoming shows.

In February, she told Yannus that she wanted to “join the team” at Mad Hatter.

“What does that mean, ‘join the team’?” He asked her.

Yannus remembers that she told him she was finished with the music world, where producers just wanted to sleep with her. The Scientologists wanted to improve the world, not have sex with her.

He asked her again — but what does it mean to join the team?


“It means moving in with them,” she told him.

Yannus remembers getting emotional. He asked her if there was something wrong with him that was driving her to Scientology.


[Manuela’s online choreography reel — she worked with Yannus on The Voice and The X Factor.]

No, she assured him. There was nothing wrong with their relationship.

“They’re going to have a television station. They need choreography,” she told him.

In 2011, Scientology had purchased the old KCET studios, home to LA’s public television station. Since then, the church has said it has plans to launch its own TV station, but hasn’t provided any details.

“Who’s going to watch this TV station?” Yannus asked her. “Nobody’s going to watch that.”

She told him that gradually, it would catch on. And besides, didn’t he want to help people?

She had put him on the defensive. He said that he’d given donations to causes and expected to start a foundation once he hit it big.

“What about me and you?” he asked.

“She said, ‘Don’t look at it like we’re not together. Look at it like I’m going ahead, and you should go to the Celebrity Centre to find out what it’s all about.’ But I don’t want to study Scientology, I told her. But they can help you, she said. I said I had my own role models. Spielberg isn’t there. Denzel isn’t there. And I don’t give a crap about Cruise and Travolta.”


Manuela told him she believed God had sent her to Scientology.

Over the next few weeks, she underwent security checks at the church to make sure she had no connections to police or reporters. She was asked about Yannus and his connections. She began to talk about signing the Sea Org’s billion-year contract.

Yannus asked her to wait. He knew she had a gig in Las Vegas as a judge in a big talent show at the end of April, and she’d already been paid half her fee up front.

“I think they pressured her more and more. And so, suddenly, at the end of February, she said, ‘I think it’s in me. I wake up every day thinking about it.’ And she said she had to do it,” Yannus says.

On Tuesday, February 26, Manuela packed up her things.

“I couldn’t watch her pack. I had to leave,” Yannus says.

“I came back home that night and checked the mail. Both of our green cards had arrived. It was crazy. Surreal. Fuck, our green cards had come out, and that was the day she left.”

Yannus gets emotional talking about it.

“I love her and I trusted her. I was so confused. We were chasing our dreams,” he says. But then, he got angry.

“I wanted to know, what is this Scientology thing?”

He spent days researching Scientology on the Internet. “I was going through such an emotional roller coaster,” he says.

For three weeks, he read and read, and one day stumbled across the YouTube channel of Tory Christman, a woman who had left Scientology more than a decade ago after spending 30 years in the church.

He called her, and they spoke several times about what he was going through. She in turn referred him to Tiziano Lugli, a former Scientologist who was also an artist and music producer. Tory told him that if any ex-Scientologist knew what he and Manuela were going through, it was Tiziano.

Yannus also contacted Manuela’s family in Sydney, and found out that Manuela had told them only that she had started a job with a production company.


“She hadn’t told them it was Scientology. So I told them what it was, a religion, a cult, and that she was living with them,” he says.

Manuela called him, angry that he’d told her family about the things he’d read about Scientology on the Internet.

“But it’s all true, isn’t it? It’s true that I can’t be with you because I’m not a Sea Org member, isn’t that right?” he asked her.

She admitted that it was so. She couldn’t date him anymore as long as she was living on the base as a Sea Org member and he wasn’t.

“Well, don’t tell me I can’t tell them that. It’s the truth,” he said.

He spoke to her brother, Mark, explaining that after nine years, Manuela had simply left him. He encouraged Mark to bring his parents to Los Angeles to confront Manuela. But Mark told him that their parents weren’t up for it.

So, in March, Mark Oliveira flew alone to Los Angeles to meet up with Yannus.

They made plans to get Manuela out of Scientology’s base.



On Monday, March 25, we happened to be in Los Angeles when we got a call from Tiziano Lugli. The previous fall, we had spent time at his home studio, and that had turned into a pretty big news story. So this time, when he called, we were all ears.

It didn’t take him very long to explain what was about to happen, and we told him we were on our way.

Lugli and his wife Jamie Sorrentini Lugli live in a well-appointed home in the Hollywood Hills. She’s an actress; he was a pop star in Italy and now produces music in LA. They left Scientology about three years ago, and endured intense harassment for it — there were so many private investigators outside their home, following them wherever they went, Tiziano put together videos of what it was like.


After Yannus had talked to Tiziano about his situation, they came up with a plan once Mark Oliveira flew in. The day before, on the 24th, Tiziano, Yannus, and Mark had gone to the home of Young and the Restless actor Michael Fairman and his wife, Joy Graysen — both former Scientologists — and were joined by Tom DeVocht, a former Scientology executive who had largely run the church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida before his own defection in 2005.

They formulated a plan to get Manuela up to Tiziano’s house, where they would attempt an intervention.

On the 25th, Mark asked his sister to come out of the “Big Blue” complex on Fountain Avenue for lunch with him and Yannus. She agreed. And while he actually drove her up to the Lugli house, Mark let Tiziano know they were on the way.

We got there first. As we waited with Tiziano for them to arrive, we tried to think of a similar situation, and couldn’t really think of any. “Deprogramming” sessions had gone out with the 1980s, and we had no experience with an intervention with a Sea Org member — certainly not with an array of well-known former church members.

We held back, sitting in a corner after being introduced to Manuela — we wanted simply to watch, not to participate.

Meanwhile, around the dining room table in the Lugli house sat Tiziano and Jamie, Yannus, Mark, and his sister Manuela.

If she seemed confused, unsure of who we all were and what was happening, she didn’t really show it. She was dressed in her Sea Org outfit, with a blue polo shirt and navy pants, and a drab grey jacket. It was hard to reconcile her with the glamorous dancer we’d seen in videos. She looked more like she was going to be pumping gas.

And as Tiziano began to speak, she looked at him, expressionless, and began to utter a series of quick acknowledgements — yes, I see, I understand, right — just like Scientologists are trained to do.

DeVocht, Graysen, and Fairman had not yet arrived, and Tiziano had to keep things moving along until they did. He began a long dissertation about all the controversies that Scientology was involved in. And although she kept acknowledging everything he was saying with her yesses and I sees, it didn’t really seem to be going anywhere.

After a while, Manuela began interrupting, saying that she needed to get back to the base. She hadn’t signed out for a long conversation with people she didn’t really know.

The intervention seemed to be falling apart before it really had got going. Tiziano continued to talk about the things that someone like Manuela, still fairly new to the group, hadn’t been told yet about Scientology — that its increasingly expensive classes eventually had members learning about ancient galactic warlords and alien genocides and disembodied souls that Scientology charged up to a thousand dollars an hour to be exorcised.

What Tiziano was saying was true, but it didn’t seem to be the kind of thing that would get through to Manuela. After a while, it became clear that he was mostly stalling for time, and she was increasingly interrupting, saying that she needed to get back to the base.

Jamie Lugli then tried to get things back on track, and started to tell Manuela about some of the things that she and Tiziano had been through since they had left the church — following Scientology policy, their family members and friends still in the church rapidly “disconnected” from them. Her father, Jamie explained, had never seen the young daughter that she and Tiziano were raising, simply because Jamie had been “declared” a “suppressive person,” by the church — Scientology jargon for excommunication.



Mark Oliveira was taping the intervention with his smartphone. Later, he sent us segments from early in the conversation that he had taped. We’ve assembled some of it so you can get a sense of the feeling in the room. The first part is Tiziano talking about the things Manuela doesn’t know about Scientology; the middle section is Manuela saying that she could stay longer if she’d signed our for more than an hour; the final section is Jamie talking about disconnection in her family, and Mark can also briefly be heard.

Finally, the others arrived. DeVocht, Fairman, and Graysen took their seats, and Tiziano quickly brought them up to speed on what was going on.


Michael Fairman and Joy Graysen

Michael Fairman and Joy Graysen

Graysen and DeVocht immediately changed the tenor of the conversation. They engaged Manuela more, asked her about herself, tried to turn her responses into further questions. But again, Manuela said she hadn’t signed out from the base for something so long.

Then, Mark spoke.

Until this point, about an hour into the intervention, Mark and Yannus had said little. But now, Mark told his sister that she needed to stop talking about going back to the base and she needed to listen to these people, who had all spent 20 years or more in Scientology. Before she really dedicated herself to the Sea Org’s billion-year contract, she needed to know what she was getting into.

That’s when we noticed that tears were streaming down his cheeks.

The feeling in the room began to shift. Until now, Manuela and what she meant to her brother and to Yannus had been a somewhat abstract idea — now, it started to become clearer to everyone in the room what was really at stake.

And that’s when Yannus lost it.

For about the hundredth time, Manuela reacted to what someone had said by quickly, coolly, answering “I understand.”


Yannus pounded on the table, startling everyone.


“It was a remarkably emotional moment,” DeVocht told us this week as we discussed our memories of the event. “You could tell her brother was really worried about her. And then to see Yannus break down like that. It was horrifying.”


Tom DeVocht: "Here was this young couple, doing well, they're probably madly in love, pulled up stakes in Australia, and suddenly she's in a cult and disappeared."

Tom DeVocht: “Here was this young couple, doing well, they’re probably madly in love, pulled up stakes in Australia, and suddenly she’s in a cult and disappeared.”

“It was shocking when he did that. But I think it had been building up inside of him. Then he just sort of let it all rip,” Jamie Lugli tells us. “I was happy that he did that. It felt like it needed to be done. Somebody needed to crack her open, and it hadn’t been happening.”

But still, Manuela was unflappable.

She turned to her brother, and asked if he would go outside with her. The rest agreed it was time for a break. And they watched as Manuela, Mark, and Yannus made their way to the side of the Lugli house.

We soon noticed that there just happened to be a security camera aimed at the spot. We watched from Tiziano’s home studio as Manuela appeared very agitated, moving her arms rapidly as she talked to Mark and Yannus. Then, Tom DeVocht joined them, and her demeanor changed.

DeVocht has a very warm, comforting persona that seemed to reach Manuela. Before long, he had her talking at length about what she was experiencing at the base. And that’s when we noticed Manuela had begun embracing Yannus, and kissing him — she had not seen much of him after moving out of their apartment the month before.

With our smartphone, we captured some of the footage visible on the security cam. It gives an impression of how the talks outside the house were going.



“She seemed more comfortable in a one-on-one conversation,” DeVocht tells us. “I asked her, do you have your phone when you’re at the base? I turn it in every night, she said. Don’t you think that’s unusual? Do they go through your mail? I tried to point out the violations of privacy, that she was being watched all the time. I wanted her to take away that as she saw those things happening, she would think about what we’d told her.”

After a few minutes, Graysen joined them.

“When I got out there, we had broken her down a little bit,” Joy says. “She was more of a person, she wasn’t being as robotic. ‘I do want to know about this,’ she was saying. But she also kept going on and on about how she was going to be able to dance and sing in the Sea Org, and she was going to be part of a television show. We kept shaking our heads. But she said she had no problem with access to her cell phone. No problem getting time off if she asked for it. She could come back out and talk to us if she wanted to. But we kept saying, you’re never going to have this opportunity again.”

It was clear that Manuela was determined to get back to the base, and Mark and Yannus needed to take her there.

Tiziano admits that he felt defeated.

“I didn’t want to let her out of there,” he says. “I had wanted to convince her to leave the Sea Org, but we didn’t get there. She was like a robot. I was thinking, how do I break through this? How do I break through this Scientology insensitivity? She really did not understand what she was up against.”

As she prepared to leave, Manuela assured everyone that she actually had it very good at the base. The food was organic and good tasting, the work fulfilling. There was really nothing to complain about.

Mark and Yannus drove her back down the hill to the Big Blue complex.



A few weeks later, a Los Angeles woman named Beatriz Camarillo made a desperate phone call that rang through to a man in Pittsburgh named Chuck Beatty.

Beatty’s a familiar figure to the regular readers of this website — he is an ex-Scientologist who spent decades in the Sea Org, and endured its prison detail — the Rehabilitation Project Force — for seven years. Since leaving the church, he has made it his mission to help others leave the organization, and he runs a hotline, 866-XSEAORG.

After Beatty heard what Beatriz had to say, he contacted us.

Beatriz had called Beatty at her wit’s end. She told us that a couple of months earlier, she had taken in a new lodger in her house, which she shared with her two daughters, Iliana and Veronica Galvez, ages 20 and 21. Soon after the man moved in, he had begun telling the two young women about Scientology. He soon arranged to have them take some courses. And then, within just a few weeks after they had first heard about the church, Iliana and Veronica had signed billion-year contracts and had gone to live at the Big Blue complex.

Beatriz said her head was spinning, it had all happened so fast.

“They didn’t even give me the address. I went over there and said I want to see my daughters, they’re not answering their phones. They gave me a tour. And later, they took us to the place that looked like a temple and there were dorms in the back.”

Her daughters were brought out, wearing their Sea Org uniforms.

“They looked bad,” she says.

She had done some searching about Scientology on the Internet. “I tried to talk to them about this place, to tell them it was wrong. But they were against me. Every time I said something against the place they looked at me like they were mad. My God, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” she says.

But by the time Beatriz spoke with Beatty, she knew that her younger daughter, Iliana, was having doubts. When she told Iliana about Beatty, her daughter said she wanted to talk to him.

When we called Beatriz for the first time a few days later, Iliana had come home. Veronica, the older daughter, still refused to leave the base, saying that she was happy where she was.

“They told us to lie to you,” Iliana told her mother after she came home.

We asked to speak to Iliana, who sounded relieved to talk about her experience. She said she understood that, in hindsight, it did seem surprising that she had joined the Sea Org so quickly. But after taking a course with her sister, their supervisor had asked if they wanted to come work for Scientology and help people. Her sister Veronica loved the idea. Iliana was more skeptical. But soon, they were at Big Blue working on the “Estates Project Force,” a sort of boot camp for the Sea Org.

They were housed with four other women in a dorm room.

And one of them was Manuela Oliveira.

“She was a dorm I/C [‘in charge’]. She was in charge of making sure the room was clean,” Iliana told us. “She told me that her brother came to visit to try to convince her to leave. I told her my mom was against us being there. ‘My family’s against it, too. But you need this. It’s the greatest thing,’ Manuela said. She was nice and very outgoing. Sometimes she was a little weird. She was very by-the-rules.”

Iliana said that Manuela talked a lot about dancing at Mad Hatter studios, that “she wanted to use her talent there.” But there was one thing she didn’t talk about.

“She didn’t mention a boyfriend,” Iliana said.

We told her what Manuela had said to us at the intervention, that she had free use of a cell phone, that she could take time off when she wanted to, and that the food was good.

“The food was terrible. They expected us to work all day long, and with that crappy food, I felt exhausted,” Iliana said.

“In the morning we got fried eggs. No vegetables. Or we got scrambled eggs, but no fruit. There was granola, but it was the junk food kind. Some milk,” she said. “We were in prison. We weren’t allowed to talk to Sea Org members. The EPF stayed with EPF. We were told to smile, call them sir, and stay out of their way.

“At lunch it was crappy hamburgers, the patties were dry. And bad hot dogs. There was very rarely any fruit. Or they gave us crappy tacos. I’d get the runs or I was constipated. It would give me a tummy ache,” she said.

“I usually went to the canteen” — where some items could be purchased — “and I was surviving on almond butter and fruit. For dinner it was beans and rice. Refried beans and brown rice. Almost every fucking day. On Wednesday, we’d get a pot roast or something.”

Iliana’s account was very different than Manuela’s.

Iliana said there were many other reasons to be concerned about conditions in the EPF and the Sea Org at the Los Angeles headquarters. The work schedule was brutal, and went from 7:40 in the morning until lights out at 11:30 pm. They lacked sleep and were dehydrated, and Iliana says one older woman fell and broke a knee during the hard work.

“We had no time to drink water. We didn’t have time to go to the bathroom. The food was not nutritional. We were outside in the sun, working in a yard, cleaning off bird shit. It wasn’t like the happy place they had told us about,” Iliana says. “They show you these videos of setting a good example, helping the homeless, and other things. And yet I didn’t see them doing that. They told me to lie to my mom. They told me, ‘Tell her that you’re having a good time here and that we’re feeding you well.'”

But after her mother visited, they were told to write up reports about everything their mother had said.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like that. They make all these promises and never accomplish it,” Iliana says. “I tried running away but got caught. They told me if I wanted to leave I needed to sign some forms and it would take about two weeks. I thought, oh my gosh.”

Eventually, she wrote a “CSW” — “completed staff work” — asking permission to go home and take care of some bills. (Sea Org members must not have debts, a rule that helps them cut themselves off from the outside world.) The ruse worked, and when she got home, Iliana followed her mother’s instructions and called Chuck Beatty. She decided not to go back.

Not long after we spoke with Beatriz and Iliana for the first time, Veronica made her own escape from the Scientology complex.

She credited her mother. “She kept coming. She came every Sunday, and they didn’t like that. My mom would tell me what she had read about Scientology, and, well I guess it was the truth,” Veronica says. “I was connecting all the dots with everything I was seeing that was wrong. I had been closing my eyes to them, why things were like that.

“I really wanted to help people. I was seeing without seeing. But when my mom gave me this information, I was connecting the dots.”


Iliana (left) and Veronica Galvez

Iliana (left) and Veronica Galvez

Iliana and Veronica are very young, and they had joined the Sea Org remarkably fast. But just as quickly, they had made their way back out again.

Each of them, however, said that Manuela Oliveira had seemed very determined.




Mark Oliveira says that when his sister Manuela went into dancing nine years ago, the family was actually against it.

“My parents were a little weird about it. But you know what, Manuela succeeded. That’s when my parents started to realize, well, congratulations.”

“And to them, this [Scientology] is like she’s taking another big step. So it’s hard to go against her, because the last time she took a big step, she made it.”

A day or two after the March intervention, Mark got to see Manuela again. She didn’t bring up the intervention itself.

“She only said there’s a lot of people against the church. But there are people who support it. And that’s like any other religion,” he said. “She actually believes in spirits and past lives, and that makes it difficult.”

She told him that she also liked the people she had been meeting in Scientology.

After the intervention, Mark stayed around for several more days, repeatedly extending his flight, but eventually he had to return to Australia.

“I don’t feel like I’m going away empty-handed. I felt that I did everything I had to do. I tried so much, and I met so many people.”

He began sobbing during our phone call.

“I feel like I’ve done everything I can. I lied to her and got her to Tiziano’s house.”

He’d been second-guessing the way things went, and he admitted that it had been a difficult experience.

“I can’t tie her down, man. She’ll have to experience it. Let her hit her head against the wall,” he said. “The way she did this was a slap in the face to us. But you know what, I want her to be slapped by reality a bit.”

Since returning to Australia, Mark has been less communicative. He did send over portions of the tapes he made the day of the intervention, but otherwise he has stopped talking about his sister.

Yannus has remained in touch with Manuela, usually through texts. He has tried to maintain hope that she will change her mind about the Sea Org, or that the attention being placed on her will convince Scientology that she’s too much of a liability.

Tom DeVocht told us that he thinks Manuela kept her mouth shut about the intervention.

“I really don’t think she told anyone anything. At the least she would have been put on lockdown” if Scientology had realized that she had met such arch-apostates as the Luglis, Joy Graysen and Michael Fairman, and DeVocht.

“There’s no way she would have been able to keep talking to Yannus,” he says.

But once it becomes known that she has stayed in touch with Yannus, who is connected to so many prominent ex-Scientologists, will it make a difference?

“I think she stands a chance of getting kicked right out of there,” DeVocht adds.

Well, there’s no longer any secret that Manuela has drawn a great deal of attention. A few weeks ago, Bryan Seymour flew to Los Angeles and, with the help of Yannus, tried to interview Manuela. But she refused to cooperate, and even before Seymour’s story aired, she put together a “response” video to him just a few hours before this story was published…


Within just a short time — maybe only an hour or two — the video was pulled down, but we managed to get this still from it. In her response, Manuela (now not wearing her drab Sea Org clothes), said she was happy in Scientology and was still dedicated to dancing.

We hope Manuela restores her response, and then goes into more detail after Seymour’s story airs and this story is published.

Her decision to remain in Scientology is her own, of course. But with so much information available today about the history of the organization, its many controversies, and the realities of the life in the Sea Org, we can’t help being surprised that such talented young people, with promising lives ahead of them, choose to sign billion-year contracts to serve Scientology, lifetime after lifetime.

We asked Yannus: Was the intervention at the Lugli house a waste of time?

“Definitely not,” he told us. “We might not see its effect now. But we will see it.”

He hasn’t given up hope.

Statement by Scientology

Bryan Seymour received this response to his story from the church…

The Church of Scientology objects to the participation of Channel 7 in staged incidents that seek to manipulate the truth. This entire story is a propaganda piece fabricated by a small handful of antireligious zealots on the fringes of the Internet. You are well aware that you attempted to stalk and harass a member of the Church and are publishing untruths about her.

Scientology is a recognized worldwide religious movement with millions of members in 184 countries. The Sea Organization is the Scientology religion’s religious order, much like religious orders in other faiths. Voluntary participation in the religious services of Scientology is a matter of personal choice and is a fundamental human right guaranteed throughout the free world.

People interested in the truth should visit our website at
Karin Pouw

Church of Scientology


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 2, 2013 at 05:00

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