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Scientology officials panicked about overdose death of star Narconon pupil: Boyfriend

Tabatha_Fauteux

 
In November, we told you about the death of Tabatha Lynn Fauteux, a 26-year-old New Hampshire woman who was found dead in a Los Angeles apartment, apparently of a drug overdose. She had been staying at the apartment with a boyfriend for several weeks while the two of them underwent training in the Church of Scientology’s revamping of its drug rehab program, Narconon. Before they went to L.A. for the training, the two of them had been working together at Narconon’s clinic in Harlingen, Texas and had each been sober for about a year.

Tabatha died on November 6, and for our story later that month, we talked to her father, Guy Fauteux, 52, who was still struggling to get details about his daughter’s death. He was unhappy that he was getting little information from Scientology and Narconon, and he also hadn’t heard from Los Angeles or California authorities. But he had heard from Tabatha’s friends that while she was in L.A. she had used an herbal drug known as kratom, a legal substance which produces a high something like the heroin addiction she had sought treatment for. As we pointed out in our story, there have been increasing reports of overdose deaths with kratom because it can be laced with powerful, synthetic drugs.

Now, the Underground Bunker has spoken to Tabatha’s boyfriend, who was with her in Los Angeles. Guy Fauteux confirmed the young man’s identity for us, but we are holding back the boyfriend’s real name at his request and will refer to him as Nick.

“The kratom is how it all started. There were employees at Narconon who introduced it to us,” Nick says. “It wasn’t what we thought it would be, and so then we went out and got the real thing. It wasn’t kratom that killed her. We had been using heroin.”

Nick tells us that Scientology officials were well aware how bad it looked that two of Narconon’s star graduates, who had been brought to Los Angeles to help lead the rehab network’s overhaul, used heroin while staying on the church’s dime, with one of them ending up dead. But Nick says he’s angry about the way he and the Fauteux family and others are being treated in the wake of Tabatha’s death.

“I want that place exposed. I can’t believe what they get away with and how manipulative and deceitful they are while they prey on the weak,” he says. “They have done some really messed up things to people I care about lately. I was able to handle what they did to me when I dealt with Tabby’s death, but to see what they are doing to others I am willing to do whatever I can to expose that organization.”

Tabatha Fauteux arrived at the Harlingen Narconon for treatment in the fall of 2014. She and Nick had met previously, in Arizona, when she was going through some of the worst periods of her addiction. Both of them took staff jobs at the Harlingen clinic after they completed the program and were clean, and then they began dating. Neither of them were Scientologists.

For decades, the Narconon system of rehab clinics was a reliable moneymaker for Scientology. Started in 1966 by an Arizona prison inmate who had read a book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Narconon was later taken over by Scientology and is run by its subsidiary the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE). Documents show that Hubbard had intended for Narconon, as well as several other “social betterment” organizations, to be fronts for Scientology while playing down their connections to the church.

Today, Narconon is mired in controversy after numerous patient deaths in Oklahoma, Georgia, Michigan, and California, which have resulted in investigations and lawsuits. Plaintiffs around the country have focused on Narconon’s essentially deceptive business model: The clinics advertise individualized drug counseling in a safe, medically sound environment, and when they’re asked, they say they are “secular” and play down or deny their connection to Scientology. In fact, there is no drug counseling in the Narconon program. Instead, patients receive the same Scientology training that new church members receive. And the staffs are made up of recent graduates struggling to stay clean themselves, not medical personnel.

With lawsuits and bad press proliferating around the world, Scientology leader David Miscavige launched a major revamping of the program two years ago. He’s tightened Scientology’s control over the clinics, and is opening newer clinics that are either in countries where there is less oversight, or, in the case of a new lavish clinic in Ojai, California, with such a small number of beds — six — that it is too small to be subject to any regulation at all.

As part of this overhaul, ABLE has been training Narconon employees in Los Angeles. Last fall, Tabatha Fauteux and Nick were selected from the Harlingen clinic to go to LA for that training.

“We were told we’d be there for three weeks of training,” Nick says. They weren’t told much about what was going on, just that Narconon was changing. After being flown out, the two of them were dropped off at the Oakwood Apartments, at 3600 Barham Boulevard in the Toluca Lake section of Los Angeles. The complex, 3.5 miles from ABLE’s headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard, is known for being used as temporary corporate housing, including crews in town filming movies — the complex is often listed on places to spot movie stars.

But Nick says that glamour was tempered with the fact that they would be sharing the apartment with four other people, at least at first. But within a week, they had the place to themselves.

“It was a really nice apartment. They would come and pick us up in the morning and take us to ABLE,” Nick says. But after the expense of being flown out and put up in a pricey apartment, ABLE asked them just to sit and wait.

“It was tedious. It was twelve-hour days of a lot of sitting around. A lot of doing nothing. And a lot of secrecy,” Nick says. They weren’t told what the delay was about. Eventually, they began training on new Narconon procedures. But three weeks stretched into five, and it became frustrating that they were being given no time off.

“When we went out there we were told we were going to get Sundays off. We were also getting paid — minimum wage — for 40 hours of work per week. But they kept us there for 72-hour weeks,” he says. “We finally did get our Sundays off, over their objections.”

In photographs, the young Narconon trainees can be seen enjoying the sights of Hollywood in their few hours not at the ABLE headquarters. In this photo, Tabatha, on the left, mugs with a Justin Bieber wax figure at the Hollywood Wax Museum.

 
Tabatha_Fauteux_JB

 
Nick says that at one point, he and Tabatha were given a hard sell on Scientology during their trip. One of Narconon’s executives drove them to a clinic in Orange County, and on the long drive he pitched them both hard on the idea of joining the church.

“He told us about how it had changed his life. No thanks, we said, we’re not interested.”

It was another Narconon official, Nick says, who told them about kratom, and where they could get it. They were told that kratom was only an herb, a legal substance, but could give them a high like heroin to satisfy their cravings.

“They told us where to get it. We went and got it on our own.” But then it didn’t provide the effect they were hoping for. So they decided to find some heroin.

“We had both been a year sober, and we were proud of our sobriety. It’s tough for me, it really is,” Nick says. “We just figured it would be something kind of harmless that wasn’t going to transpire into what happened. Addiction is a very difficult thing to talk about with people who aren’t addicts. It’s hard to explain. I look every day at how I could give an explanation of what we did.”

They began using heroin regularly while the training at ABLE was still dragging on.

“We were using for like two weeks. As far as I know we were the only ones using heroin, but others were going out and drinking. It was Hollywood. This wasn’t a sobriety event,” he says.

On the morning of November 6, Nick woke up late. Usually, Tabatha would rise before him, begin to get ready, and wake him in time to be ready to be picked up for the day’s training. But this morning, she had let him sleep in, and that was unusual.

“I jumped out of bed and heard the shower running. I opened the bathroom door. She was face down just outside the shower. I picked her up, but she was limp. I pulled her out of the bathroom, called 911, and then gave her CPR until the paramedics showed up about 15 minutes later. Within five minutes they determined she was dead.”

We asked him how word got out about her death. “The first person I called was my dad. I asked the police, the paramedics, can someone call her mom? I couldn’t do it,” he says. He was told the family would be notified.

In the meantime, he called an official at the Harlingen clinic. “I called him to let him know what was going on, and I believe he called the family. About a half hour later her mom called me, hysterical.”

Nick decided to get on a plane to Phoenix to spend time with his family. He was given a ride to the airport by a Narconon official who, Nick says, tried to talk him out of going home, and suggested that he check in to the Narconon clinic in San Diego County at Warner Springs.

“I knew I wasn’t going back to Narconon,” Nick says.

When he arrived at the Burbank airport for his flight, a Scientology lawyer was waiting for him. It was Kendrick Moxon.

“He was asking me questions,” Nick says. And then, when our November 23 story came out, Nick says he was called by the Narconon official who pitched Scientology to him on the drive to Orange County. It’s a sign, he says, that Scientology is very nervous about Tabatha Fauteux’s death turning into a larger news story.

For now, however, it’s only been reported here at the Underground Bunker.

We will continue to follow this story.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Mark Bunker has today’s lost gem from the archives of XENU TV: “Because everyone loves Mary DeMoss here’s a clip with Mary, Jesse Prince, and Tory Christman, and Scientologists (and future Squirrel Buster) Richard Hirst and Hans Bschoor from Sept. 20, 2000. Bob Minton funded a movie called The Profit which was a thinly veiled attack on Scientology. Toward the end of shooting on the non-union film, Scientology alerted the IATSE union who stopped the production for a week. Suddenly Richard, Mary, and Hans popped up on the scene and spoke with the LMT’s PR person Karen Case.”

 

 
Youth for Human Rights holds an event in our nation’s capital. Thanks, Legoland.

 
YHRIdc

 
The biggest boom button theta explosion ever!

 
BoomButtonTheta

 
Scientology actress and producer Mirit Hendrickson (right) and Billy Sheehan’s wife Elisabetta pose at the Super Power Building’s large atrium. But what really caught our eye is that there appear to be four staff members behind the counter at the very busy cafe. Derp.

 
Mirit_Hendrickson

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 4, 2016 at 07:40

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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