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Ryan Hamilton files 19th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network

tony_gwynnLas Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed another federal lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. This time, he’s representing two San Bernardino County residents, Sherri Brown and her daughter Emily, who are suing Scientology’s rehab center in San Diego County, Sunshine Summit Fresh Start in Warner Springs.

This brings to 19 the number of lawsuits that Hamilton has brought since January, and all but one in federal court. Each time, he’s sued a local facility in California, Nevada, or Colorado, as well as Narconon International and its umbrella organization, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE). As we reported earlier, in seven of the lawsuits, International and ABLE have settled with the plaintiffs.

At least two of the California cases have gone to arbitration (neutral, court-ordered arbitration, not Scientology’s internal arbitration which is an issue in the lawsuits of the Garcias and Vance Woodward). But so far none of the numerous motions to dismiss that have been filed by Narconon has managed to derail any of Hamilton’s lawsuits.

This new suit is the result of a very recent incident. On March 6, 2014, Sherri Brown was looking online for a rehab center for her daughter. She called a number at a referral agency which claimed to be independent. The person who answered, “Jake,” said the Fresh Start program had a 76 percent success rate. Sherri was put in touch with Tonya Lawson at Fresh Start, and she was told the cost would be $33,000. When Sherri said he didn’t have that kind of money, she was told Emily could get a “scholarship” for $23,000.

“Tonya told Sherri that Emily needed this program and if she didn’t pay for this program, she would be paying for her daughter’s coffin,” the complaint says.

Three times, Sherri asked if Fresh Start “had anything to do with religion.” Sherri was assured the program was secular, that it featured licensed medical professionals, and that her daughter would received drug counseling.


She was told a sauna program at Fresh Start was scientifically proven to end Emily’s drug cravings. And again she was told the program had a 76-percent success rate.

Sherri came up with $10,000 for Emily to start the program.

As we’ve seen so many times before, after Sherri signed the contract, her daughter then learned that there were no doctors at the facility, and she received no drug counseling, but instead began Scientology training.

The complaint also refers to evidence that Hamilton has provided in his other cases: Narconon’s own expert in a Georgia lawsuit admitted that there was no science behind the sauna program, and the advertised success rate was something he’d seen no evidence for.

Hamilton also, we think for the first time, made use of a document that we saw in the NAFC lawsuit in Oklahoma. It’s a document that lays out Scientology’s “Social Coordination Strategy,” which included Narconon, and made it clear that such programs are meant to advance Hubbard’s aims for Scientology. “You are there to sell LRH’s tech to the society and get it used, as the tech. You do this through a smooth job of promotional organization — front groups, corporations, field workers, etc,” the document says.

The strange Scientology “training routines” weren’t what Emily was expecting.

Due to the bizarre “treatments” Fresh Start was subjecting Emily to she felt very scared and unsafe. So that she would no longer have to endure the strange treatments, Emily escaped from Fresh Start in the middle of the night. Emily continues suffering mental anguish and paranoia from her time at Fresh Start.

Here’s the complaint…


Brown v. Narconon: Complaint

By our count, that’s nineteen lawsuits Hamilton has filed against Narconon in California, Nevada, and Colorado.

Angelo Amato (San Diego)
Christy Estrada and Branden Chavez (San Diego)
Cathy and Michael Tarr (Nevada)
Harry and Lauren Geanacopulos (Nevada)
David, Stacy, and Jack Welch (Nevada)
Bryan and Nikki Mott (Colorado)
Charles and Tyler Matthys, and Linda Phillips (Colorado)
Kenneth and Jered Mowery (Watsonville, CA)
Robin Jones, James Ramirez Sr. and Jr. (Watsonville, CA)
Charis Yates, Beret and Dean Pugh (Nevada)
Lori, Ryan, and Jilliene Winchell (Nevada)
Ben Levy (Colorado)
Monica and Sean O’Connell (Watsonville, CA)
Ronald and Jason McClure (Nevada)
Michael and David Tino (Nevada)
Jerry and Christy Courson (Colorado)
Terney, Barbara, and Thomas Knoflick (Watsonville, CA)
Claudia and Sarah Buchett (Warner Springs, CA)

In other legal news, Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit had a status hearing on Wednesday, and as a result, she seems even farther away from a trial date.

If you remember our previous coverage, we posted filings by both sides which discussed a new trial date since the lawsuit has been bounced around to several different judges.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian was the original judge on the lawsuit, which Laura first filed in 2009. He dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing with Scientology’s argument that she had brought it too late — more than four years after leaving the Sea Org, where she experienced the abuses she’s suing over. But an appeals court restored the case in 2011, and then last year we were present in October when Judge Sohigian sided with Laura and denied Scientology’s motion for summary judgment.

But then, this spring, Sohigian retired. The case was assigned to Judge Rafael Ongkeko, but Scientology had him removed with a peremptory challenge. It then went to Judge Robert L. Hess, and we pointed out that he had a record that seemed favorable for Laura. But her attorneys exercised their own peremptory challenge, and the case moved again, this time to Judge Richard E. Rico. In Wednesday’s hearing, reports Matt Coker at OC Weekly, Laura’s attorney John Blumberg asked Rico to give up the case because he’s friends with Judge Leslie Swain, who is married to Scientology’s attorney, Bert Deixler.

(It was Deixler who wrote the church’s appeals to the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court, trying to convince them that Scientology’s evidence about Laura was “sacrosanct” religious material that would be a shocking violation of Scientology’s religious rights to force them to turn over. Neither court bought Deixler’s argument, and when the documents were turned over, it turns out that what Deixler considered “sacrosanct” religious material were things like notes to Laura not to talk to her mother about what she was doing as a near slave working as a child in the Sea Org.)

Blumberg may have been successful convincing Rico to remove himself, but that means we don’t yet have a new trial date. Judge Sohigian, after denying Scientology’s motion for summary judgment in October, had set a trial date for February 2015. In their most recent filings, the two sides were asking for a trial date in either May 2015 (Laura’s side) or September to December 2015 (Scientology).

Now, a new judge will have to get up to speed on the very complex case, and new dates will be set. But as Laura pointed out in her previous filings, that September 2015 date may be pretty crucial. There’s apparently a rule that a trial has to happen within five years of a lawsuit being filed, and with the time it was in the appeals court added on, that limit is reached in September next year. Can the new judge get into the swing of this case and set a trial date by then? We’ll be watching.

And finally, one more update, this time from the Garcia federal fraud lawsuit. Judge James D. Whittemore has set a September 4 hearing for oral arguments on Scientology’s motion to compel the Garcias into Scientology’s internal arbitration. We expect that Whittemore will announce his decision at the end of the oral presentations, as he did in the earlier mini-trial over Scientology’s motion to disqualify the Garcias’ attorneys. It should be a rather explosive day, as Scientology tries to convince Whittemore that this is a case involving their religious freedom, and the Garcias will counter that it’s only about fraud. Mark your calendars!


Karen de la Carriere on Scientology’s dishonest PR

Karen takes a look at the truthiness of Sylvia Stanard’s presentation at Chautauqua…



More scenes from Scientology’s collapse

A couple of stunning paragraphs from Mike Rinder’s blog this morning…

I have reports from several missions and field auditors in different areas of the country that they are on the verge of bankruptcy and closing their doors. They hardly have any pcs and no new public. They have little to no reserves. Their auditors are being forced onto full time training and they don’t even have the money to pay for the training. And they cannot make money to get trained as they are not allowed to audit.

And it’s the old Catch 22 — if you are “CI” [counter intentioned] to “getting through GAT II” or using a Warehouse 8 [the new $5,000 e-meter], or even just protest that you have to earn a living and cannot afford to go off onto full time training (starting with Student Hat), you become the target of investigation. They come to your home and confiscate pc folders to “inspect for out tech.” Of course, not a single one of these inspections has ever NOT found “out tech.” This is then used as a club to force/extort the auditor into retraining, with an ethics order “suspending certs” if need be.

We’re having flashbacks to 2007, when David Miscavige ordered every Scientologist to purchase multiple sets of “The Basics” — a reissue of L. Ron Hubbard’s early books and lectures — even though people had older versions of the same books at home. Many current “indies” decided to leave the church because of that push.

Now, Miscavige has released a new cash grab, forcing longtime members who might be high on Scientology’s “Bridge” to start over again from near the bottom (Student Hat) in his new scheme, “Golden Age of Technology Phase II.” We’re getting a lot of reports, like Rinder’s, that it’s turning away what few loyal members remain. It sure feels like the end days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 15, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
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