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


Lori Hodgson and her son Jeremy: What you didn’t hear on Inside Edition

Yesterday, Lori Hodgson was seen on Inside Edition making a surprise visit to her son, Jeremy Leake, in Austin.

This isn’t the first time Lori has attempted to see her son in Texas after Jeremy and his sister Jessica both “disconnected” from their mother following her defection from the Church of Scientology.

In May, she also traveled from California to Jeremy’s workplace to confront him, as we reported then. This time, she brought along a camera crew and flagged down her son in the parking lot of the motorcycle shop where Jeremy works, Woods Fun Center.

According to the television program, the cameras held back as mother and son had a lengthy conversation…


Jeremy didn’t want the camera present. So, INSIDE EDITION cameras stayed at a distance when mother and son had an emotional reunion. “He talked to me and we hugged each other. He really hugged me. It was incredible,” an emotional Lori said. “It was just amazing.”

She practically begged Jeremy to end their painful separation. But she said that Jeremy insisted she must first go through the Scientology program referred to as “Steps A to E,” where she would have to admit she made a terrible mistake for leaving the church.

She said even for the love of her children she can never do that. “The thing that he kept coming back to was ‘Mom, just go in and do the Steps. ‘I just want to be your mom’,” she said.

We were in contact with Lori as she made her trip several weeks ago, and we can now reveal what she told us happened during the three hours she got to spend with her son.

As in her previous encounters with Jeremy, she soon found herself in a familiar argument. When Lori left Scientology in 2010, she met with Marty Rathbun, a former church official and someone Scientology leader David Miscavige considers an enemy. By spending time with Rathbun, Lori was herself branded a “suppressive person” by the church. Her two kids were then forced to “disconnect” — or they would risk losing their own involvement in Scientology.

Lori says that once again, her son told her that he can’t communicate with her until she follows Scientology’s rules and does her “A to E Steps” in order to get back in good standing. For her part, Lori has tried to explain that she can’t go crawling back to the church, but she’s not asking Jeremy to give up Scientology or give up his relationship with his Scientologist father.

This time, she tells us, she decided to spell out for him why she would never come back to Scientology.

“This time, he began to understand why I couldn’t go back. And that’s huge,” she tells us. “That was worth the whole trip.”

One of the things she did to explain her position was to show him how she’s been the target of disturbing retaliation from anonymous attack websites which the church finally admitted a connection to.

She asked Jeremy to look at one of the websites, which we have previously written about.

“He looked it up on his phone. He saw the stuff they wrote about me,” Lori says. “It shows me in a boat with Marty, with the caption ‘I’m taking Lori out to test her floatation devices’ — it was a reference to my breast implants. People had told me not to show him that. But I thought I had to show him so he understood. He read that right in front of me.”

She says that Jeremy understood what he was looking at, and said it was wrong for the church to be behind such attacks. “He started to understand why I can’t go back, which is huge,” Lori says.

When she visited him in May, Lori says she was very careful not to bring up her issues with Scientology. But this time, “I was going for it. I decided to bring all of it up.”

She tried to make him understand that she didn’t care if he was still attached to Scientology, she just wants to have a relationship with him and his sister. “I told him, I’m not the one trying to force a Sophie’s choice on you.”

But Lori says her son is still thinking like a Scientologist, and told her that he worried that talking to her would “threaten his afterlife.”

“I told him I don’t have any influence over his afterlife, but I wasn’t telling him that he had to quit Scientology.”

Lori says her son admitted that he did want to see both of his parents, but he wasn’t sure how to make it happen.

“Just tell them you want both parents. I can’t do it for you,” she replied.

She says that at one point, he complained that she was “all over the Internet.”

“I said, ‘That’s great. It’s because I’m fighting for you’.”

And when she said there were a lot of families in the same situation, he said he knew.

“He knew I was on the Internet, and he knew other families were going through disconnection. So I think he’s been looking around and understands what’s going on,” she says.

Over the three hours that she spent with her son, his employers — who are not Scientologists — never complained or pressured Jeremy to come back to work, which Lori appreciated.

But then, near the end of their time together, Jeremy asked Lori if she was recording him. She admitted that she did have an audio device that the camera crew had given her.

“He wanted the tape. He wanted to destroy it. He looked up Inside Edition on his phone and said he was going to sue them. He said he was going to call the police.”

At that point, Lori says, Jeremy called his father. He then accused Lori of lying. She denied that she’d lied about the taping, which hadn’t come up at first.

Lori remembers her son saying, “This discredits everything. Because you taped me. Mom, what you did was suppressive. And bringing the media was a suppressive act.”

But then, after telling her that the Inside Edition crew needed to leave (they were standing by not far away), he said she could stay and talk to him. But she said she was under the crew’s protection and needed to stay with them.

Why, because of the Squirrel Busters, two years ago? Jeremy asked. She said it was a necessary precaution.

She gave Jeremy her phone number, and she asked to see him again that night with his father. She also had Jessica’s telephone number, and Lori began sending her texts.

But after that meeting with Jeremy in the parking lot, she heard from none of them.

Inside Edition hasn’t made the segment available on its website yet, but in the meantime, here’s what one viewer recorded…



Marty Rathbun on Kirstie Alley

Kirstie Alley was on the Howard Stern show this week promoting her new sitcom and Stern stopped painting her posterior with delicate kisses just briefly enough for the subject of Scientology to come up. Alley described Leah Remini’s departure from Scientology in rather unfavorable terms.

But we were really struck by the reaction of former Scientology official Marty Rathbun, who had this to say over at his website.

First, Alley outright lies that Scientology does not ‘shun’ people. Then she lies again stating that she has personally shunned Leah not because of what she has said, but because what she has ‘done’ and because of her ‘deeds.’ Then she falsely accuses Leah Remini of calling Scientology ‘hideous and evil.’ She calls Leah a ‘bigot’ and likens her words to someone saying ‘Jews are evil’ and ‘Jews are a cult.’ All of these accusations are defamatory and, quite frankly, hysterical.

This performance of bigotry, defamation and hate by Kirstie is not her natural personality. She was trained and conditioned in Scientology to act in this immature, hateful fashion.

This is shameful. Leah is due an apology, not only by Kirstie, but by the ministry that taught her to hate.


How Mark Bunker marked the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death

The new guy in Clearwater, filmmaker Mark Bunker, makes an impression on the local city council…



Posted by Tony Ortega on December 7, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email