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


DOX: Scientology drug rehab center found deficient after a 2010 California death

NNWatsonvilleWell here’s a shock. A patient at Scientology’s Watsonville, California drug rehab clinic, Narconon of Northern California, was rushed to an emergency room and died, the state later investigated the clinic and substantiated seven deficiencies — several of them major — and the clinic apparently suffered no penalty at all.

That’s pretty shocking, considering what’s been happening in the rest of the Narconon system in the years since that 2010 death was investigated in early 2012. Additional patient deaths in Georgia, Michigan, and Oklahoma — where three patients died in only a nine-month period — have led to multiple government investigations and numerous lawsuits.

The incident in California somehow managed to stay under the radar — it hasn’t been mentioned in any of recent lawsuits filed against the Watsonville facility by Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton, for example.

We have the final report of the investigation submitted by the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, and it’s posted below.

The most stunning allegation in the investigation, and the one that seems to concern the state agency the most, is that the Narconon center waited more than a year before it even reported the summer 2010 death, and then submitted an “inaccurate statement” about it.

On November 6, 2011, more than a year after the incident, investigator Adrianna Alatorre was handed the case, and the next day made an unannounced visit to the facility.


Eight distinct allegations had been made against the clinic, and Alatorre substantiated all of them.

The victim’s name was redacted, but one instance of it appears to have been left by accident — it’s at the top of page six in the report, and we’ll let you find it for yourself.

The report is heavily redacted, but it suggests that after spending several weeks as a patient at the clinic, the person complained of feeling ill and asked to be taken to an emergency room.

(Prospective clients and their parents are told that Narconon features trained medical staff, but it’s not often true. Narconon centers are staffed with recent graduates who are not trained in medicine. Each center has a medical director, but that’s usually a physician who isn’t on hand and, at least in one case in Georgia, had never set foot on the property. If the patient knew she was seriously ill, she may have known her only chance was to get away from the clinic.)

The reports suggests that after she arrived at a hospital, she died. “The cause of death was declared by Dr. Steven Smith, M.D., as [redacted] which occured [redacted] prior to Decedent’s expiration.”

Investigator Alatorre found that Narconon of Northern California was in violation of every one of the allegations made against it:

— Licensee did not notify the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs of Decedent’s death until one year after the death of the Decedent.

— Licensee did not send a report of the death of Decedent until one year after Decedent’s death.

— Licensee did not possess policies and procedures ensuring Decedent sought timely medical treatment.

— Licensee provided an inaccurate statement to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

— Licensee did not ensure Decedent was afforded safe, healthful and comfortable accomodations to meet Decedent’s needs.

— Licensee staff did not complete the required Resident Health Screening for Decedent

— Licensee did not ensure its counseling staff was licensed, certified, or registered six months from date of hire.

— Licensee failed to ensure personnel are tested for Tuberculosis annually.

Also, Alatorre ran into a registered nurse who wasn’t happy to be asked about the incident.

“At approximately 1100 hours, CA Alatorre proceeded to ask Registered Nurse Christina Kuzio her recollection of the condition of the Decedent at Licensee’s facility prior to the Decedent being transported to the local emergency hospital. At which time, Registered Nurse Christina Kuzio stated, ‘I’ve been around long enough to know when I need to have representation and what I need to do to protect my license. I will not speak to you without representation present.'” The nurse later changed her mind and talked with Alatorre.

She suggested that the patient had been advised to go to the hospital if she wasn’t feeling well, but that she didn’t want to.

This was a licensing body, not a law enforcement agency, and the harshest penalty for deficiencies it could levy were fines totalling $150 a day.

Nathan Tuddenham, the center’s Senior Director for Administration, wrote a letter on March 19, 2012, explaining how Narconon was addressing the substantiated allegations.

He describes writing policies and dispatching copies to the staff, and purchasing equipment to make their files more efficient.

And that’s it. The state signed off on it, and Narconon apparently suffered no penalty. Meanwhile, the state wasn’t more curious about how Narconon operated.

Alatorre submitted her report on February 22, 2012, and the case was closed on March 30.

Here’s the report…


Narconon Watsonville 2010 Death Investigation

Another interesting development in Narconon litigation: A New York court has rejected Narconon’s motion to dismiss in another of the many fraud lawsuits currently pending against Scientology’s rehab network. We weren’t watching this one previously, but it is very like the many others on our radar.

New York couple Nathaniel and Heidi Gore wanted to find a rehab clinic for a relative in their extended family. In September 2012, they found a referral website that didn’t reveal its connection to Scientology.

They were convinced to send their family member to a Narconon center in Destin, Florida, but first they were asked to deposit $40,000 to “save a spot” for the patient. They did so, using their American Express card.

But then, after dropping off their relative, they learned the truth — that the program isn’t about drug counseling, it’s about giving patients Scientology training.

Upset, the Gores confronted a Narconon employee who told them the patient could leave and the fee would be pro-rated.

The patient did leave just two days after arriving, but the Gores couldn’t get their money back.

Responding to their lawsuit, the church filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Gores couldn’t sue in New York state court because the site of their so-called injury was in Florida. But Judge Carol R. Edmead disagreed — evidence showed that the Gores had paid the $40,000 from their American Express card while they were in New York, not Florida.

Now Judge Edmead has decided that the case has merit and can stay in New York. We’ll keep an eye on things.


We have the date for the IAS gala!

Thanks to our great tipsters, we now know when Scientology will hold its annual IAS gala in England.

From: Shaked Flash
Sent: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:11:58
Subject: IAS 30th Anniversary date announced

Dear Xxxxx,

I wanted you to be one of the first to know as a Field Disseminator! The date for the IAS 30th Anniversary at Saint Hill is 17-19 October!

Thousands of Scientologists from all over the world are coming to celebrate our wins and accomplishments of the last 30 years and I wanted to make sure that you are going to be there too!

It will be epic, and believe me YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT!

I need your help to spread the word and get as many of your selectees and fellow Scientologists to book their flights to the UK and buy their Patrons Ball tickets now.

The live event will be held on Friday 17 October, followed by the International Patrons Ball on Saturday 18 October. We want every Scientologist to move up in status before the event and new Patrons will be presented on stage at the ball! So use this momentous occasion to get anyone and everyone you know to upgrade – there is no better time to do so than right now!

Let me know back so that I know you will be there and who else you are planning on bringing with you.


Shaked Flash
Director of Field Dissemination
IAS Administrations

P.S: Contact me if you need more details on Patrons Ball tickets. They are selling out like hot cakes.


David Pomeranz with your favorite song!

You’re going to love this.



Posted by Tony Ortega on September 11, 2014 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.

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, 48

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, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email