SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND BUNKER
You can either make a one-time donation to the site via Paypal...

...or you can subscribe and get billed monthly:

FOLLOW ME ON
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR
E-MAIL LIST
To join our e-mail list & get daily updates on new stories, e-mail us at newstory@tonyortega.org.
RSS Feed
Click here to add The Underground Bunker to your RSS Reader

EXCLUSIVE: Scientology tried to derail Remini series by calling 14-year-old ‘aggressor’ in rape

amy_scobee2

[Amy Scobee]

The Underground Bunker has obtained a document which shows that just days before A&E premiered its new series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, a Church of Scientology attorney tried to derail the program by claiming that the subject of the first episode, Amy Scobee, was lying about being raped at 14 years old.

The church attorney, Gary S. Soter, warned A&E that its show would be “defamatory” because, he claimed, Scobee was actually 16 when the incident occurred, that she was the “sexual aggressor,” and that the entire incident involved her shoving her hand down an older man’s pants. Church officials, he claims, were unaware of anything more serious taking place.

Scobee tells us that Soter’s letter is full of lies. She provided specific details to us about the incident which happened in the summer of 1978 when she was 14 years old, that it involved oral sex and intercourse, and that every member of the staff at her mission knew all of those details — because, according to Scientology policy, she was forced to write out those details and then get every staff member to sign it.

“This is more proof that the Church of Scientology is unwavering in its policy of attacking people who expose it, and I haven’t even begun to tell the stories of the children who have been abused by this dangerous organization,” Leah Remini said when we asked her for a statement. “Gary Soter should be ashamed of himself. What’s in this letter is so appalling, I don’t even have the words to continue.”

Soter sent his letter to Kelli Sager, an attorney who represents the A&E network, on November 25 — just four days before Remini’s first episode was scheduled to premiere. By that time, trailers for the series had begun airing on A&E and had generated a lot of notice on the Internet. Those trailers indicated that the first episode would feature Scobee, a longtime former Scientologist who wrote about what she saw as a top church official in her 2010 memoir, Abuse at the Top.

Advertisement

In last week’s episode, Scobee repeats the same story she had told in her book: “I was 14 when I started in Scientology. I had a boss who was 35 years old. He was married. And he had me stay back, you know, when everybody else left and, basically, we had sex. This was statutory rape,” she says in the show. An abbreviated version of this statement ended up in the trailer that teased the series.

Soter’s letter accuses A&E of broadcasting something that was “knowingly false.” He then goes through several numbered points…

1. She was sixteen, not fourteen, as A&E’s corrected trailer concedes. The age of consent in Washington State is sixteen.

Scobee tells us she’s positive the incident occurred in the summer of 1978, when she was just 14 years old. She was born on October 3, 1963, and when she was about 13 her mother Bonny Elliott first started to get into Scientology. In the spring of 1978, when she was 14, Scobee went to the Scientology mission in Bellevue, Washington and took her first course.

“I can still remember writing ‘May 1978’ on my first checksheet. It was May 5th or May 13th, I’m not sure. But I’m positive it was in May 1978,” she says.

She was asked to join the staff at the Bellevue mission after taking that initial lesson, the Communication Course. She was made an Academy Course Administrator, working under the Academy Case Supervisor, a married man named Darryl. A few months after she first walked in the door at the mission, the incident with Darryl occurred. She isn’t sure of the date, but she says she’s certain it was in that summer of 1978, when she was still working at the Bellevue mission. “I remember that I was 14. That kind of thing you remember as a girl, you know?”

Also, when news of their encounter reached the staff, Scobee and Darryl were both punished, and as part of her punishment, Scobee was later moved to another mission, the Seattle Dianetics Counseling Group, which was downtown. When she turned 16 on October 3, 1979, she was working there, not with Darryl in Bellevue. And on October 31, she signed her Sea Org contract and moved to Los Angeles.

There was no way for Darryl to have attacked her after her 16th birthday.

Soter goes on to his second point…

2. It happened at a small mission in the State of Washington, where she was working as a volunteer. She was not in the Church’s religious order, the Sea Organization or at Church of Scientology International.

As we’ve seen in litigation that we’ve covered, Scientology routinely calls everyone who works for the church a “volunteer.” Scobee says that when she went to work for Scientology’s mission in Bellevue, she signed the standard staff contract, but she was so young she had to have her mother co-sign it. The church may call its employees “volunteers,” but Scobee was a paid employee who worked part time, when she wasn’t in her 9th grade classes.

Soter continues…

3. She never reported the incident to the local Mission, to her parents, or to anyone at the time, as Scobee concedes in her self-published book (page 13).

This is what Scobee has said consistently, that she was too afraid after the rape to discuss it with anyone, but Darryl apparently told his own wife and then the mission ethics officer, who called Amy in to confront her.

4. The local Mission’s knowledge of the incident came from the male staff member.

Darryl may have initially admitted what happened to an ethics officer, but Scobee vividly remembers that part of her penance for being assigned “lower conditions” was to write out what had happened in the incident and then ask every mission staff member to sign it in order to allow her back in the group, as Scientology policy dictates. Scobee says she was forced to write out a very detailed report.

“I remember being devastated that I had to actually write it,” Scobee says. “There’s no way they didn’t know what happened. None.”

Soter continues…

5. According to his contemporaneous report, she acted as the sexual aggressor, rubbing up against him and reaching into his pants.

Darryl may have tried to minimize what happened in the encounter, and he may have blamed his 14-year-old course administrator for what happened. But if the mission still has his report all these years later, it should also have the account Scobee provided for her “amends project” to get out of “lower conditions.” Her story, she says, has always remained consistent.

“One night Darryl said he needed me to work late to help him get some paperwork done. I told him I had to catch the bus at a certain time, otherwise I’d have no way of getting home. He said he would gladly drive me,” Scobee wrote in her book. “That evening when no one was left in the church, Darryl had me perform oral sex on him in the Academy and when driving me home, he pulled off to the side of the road and had sex with me in his car. I was only 14 at the time.”

We asked Scobee what she thought of Soter calling her the “sexual aggressor” in the incident.

“It’s typical of a sleazy lawyer defending a criminal cult,” she responded.

6. He did not report sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anything further. Thus, the local Mission had no reason to believe that such acts had occurred.

Again, Scobee points out that if Darryl held those details back in his report, she did not in hers.

7. Nevertheless, his behavior was a violation of Scientology ethics and he was subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

“I didn’t tell my parents and either did the church. If they had found out at the time, they would have had Darryl hauled away for statutory rape in a heartbeat. Instead, this incident was kept quiet,” Scobee writes in her book. “There was this sort of agreement among the Scientology staff to keep such ‘internal situations’ to ourselves, thus concealing anything that could potentially reflect badly on the church if it were made known – an unspoken policy still firmly in place and very prevalent to this day.”

In other words, Darryl’s “ecclesiastical discipline” was designed to keep the matter from being reported where it deserved to be — to the police.

And Soter’s final numbered point…

8. Ironically, at best, years later the reason Amy Scobee was expelled from the Church was that she engaged in sexual intercourse while acting as minister in the course of providing auditing — religious counseling — to a person participating in such counseling. This is considered sexual abuse not only in the religious context of Scientology auditing, but also by other religions and secular therapists. Scobee has signed a sworn and witnessed affidavit about this.

We’ve seen the church repeat this point endlessly in the attack websites it maintains about Amy Scobee. We asked her what it refers to. Near the end of her Scientology career, Scobee was assigned to the Sea Org’s prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force. On the RPF, a Scientologist is subjected to deprivations like meager food, humiliating and physically harmful working conditions, and complete isolation from the outside world. Sea Org workers can spend years on the RPF, trying to perform enough degrading work to be allowed back in the general membership. Work in the RPF occurs in pairs, and Scobee found herself “twinned” with a man named Mat Pesch. In last week’s episode, Scobee credited Pesch with giving her the strength to walk away from Scientology in 2005. After they did so, she and Pesch were married.

“Yes, I had sex with my husband before we got married. We were both single and in our 40s,” Scobee says. “Mat and I were twins on the RPF, and we had decided to leave. So we engaged in sexual activities as a big fuck-you to the place.”

As twins, Scobee and Pesch were “co-auditing,” which is the counseling that occurs in Scientology. And so that’s the pretext Soter uses to claim that Scobee engaged in “sexual abuse” as a “minister” of the church.

Soter finishes his letter by accusing A&E of “[suggesting] falsely that the Church attempted to cover up a crime and does not act forthrightly against incidents of sexual abuse.”

The language he uses is carefully chosen. He’s letting A&E know that it risks a defamation lawsuit if it airs Scobee’s allegations: “The sting of the allegations is highly defamatory. Demand is made for A&E to take down the teaser containing the false allegation and not repeat it in any intended future broadcast.”

A&E ignored Soter’s warning and aired the episode on November 29.

In a footnote to his letter, Soter says that one teaser trailer aired by A&E claimed that Scobee was 14 when she was raped, but another trailer claimed she was 16. We have been over every minute of the episode that aired last week, and no such confusion occurs in it.

The episode is crystal clear: Scobee joined Scientology and went on mission staff at 14, and was raped while she was still that age. At 16, she joined the Sea Org and moved to Los Angeles.

We sent an email to Soter asking him if he’d seen the episode, and whether he still believes that A&E “corrected” Scobee’s statement to claim that she was 16 when she was raped. We also asked him if he still believes that a 14-year-old asked to perform oral sex by an older married man can really be considered the “sexual aggressor.”

If he gets back to us, we’ll add his response to this story.

 
Here is Soter’s letter in full, in both text and pdf formats…

Law Offices of Gary S. Soter
A Professional Corporation
22287 Mulholland Highway #169
Calabasas, California 91302
(323) 960-1909
FAX (818) 530-4352
EMAIL: GARYSOTER@GARYSOTERLAW.COM

November 25, 2016

VIA EMAIL & U.S. MAIL

Kelli Sager
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
865 S. Figueroa St. #2400
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2566
Email: kellisager@dwt.com

Re: A&E Television Network Programs concerning Church of Scientology

Dear Ms. Sager:

It has come to my attention that A&E is broadcasting a teaser for its upcoming program that is knowingly false. The following are facts surrounding the alleged Amy Scobee “sex” incident:

1. She was sixteen, not fourteen, as A&E’s corrected trailer concedes(1). The age of consent in Washington State is sixteen.

2. It happened at a small mission in the State of Washington, where she was working as a volunteer. She was not in the Church’s religious order, the Sea Organization or at Church of Scientology International.

3. She never reported the incident to the local Mission, to her parents, or to anyone at the time, as Scobee concedes in her self-published book (page 13).

4. The local Mission’s knowledge of the incident came from the male staff member.

5. According to his contemporaneous report, she acted as the sexual aggressor, rubbing up against him and reaching into his pants.

6. He did not report sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anything further. Thus, the local Mission had no reason to believe that such acts had occurred.

7. Nevertheless, his behavior was a violation of Scientology ethics and he was subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

8. Ironically, at best, years later the reason Amy Scobee was expelled from the Church was that she engaged in sexual intercourse while acting as minister in the course of providing auditing — religious counseling — to a person participating in such counseling. This is considered sexual abuse not only in the religious context of Scientology auditing, but also by other religions and secular therapists. Scobee has signed a sworn and witnessed affidavit about this.

The reference to the incident in the trailers for the program are highly misleading, suggest falsely that the Church attempted to cover up a crime and does not act forthrightly against incidents of sexual abuse. The sting of the allegations is highly defamatory.

Demand is made for A&E to take down the teaser containing the false allegation and not repeat it in any intended future broadcast.

Very truly yours,

THE LAW OFFICES OF GARY S. SOTER
A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION

GARY S. SOTER

 
[Footnote]

(1) In A&E’s teaser as currently published on ET Online, “EXCLUSIVE: Watch Leah Remini Take on Scientology in First Trailer for New Docuseries: ‘Fight For Your Family'” @ www.etonline.com/tv/201767_leah_remini_scientology_docuseries_trailer_exclusive. Amy Scobee’s voice over states, “I was fourteen when I started in Scientology. I had a boss who was thirty-five years old and we had sex. Then the organization did not tell my mother, did not tell the police. They just sweep it under the carpet and it’ll all be over with.” [Bold added for emphasis]. In a second A&E teaser published on November 18, Amy Scobee’s voice states “I was sixteen when I started…” repeating the same false allegation.

Scientology warns A&E about "false" claims by Tony Ortega on Scribd

 
——————–

Another grim anniversary for Lisa McPherson

Twenty one years ago today, Scientologist Lisa McPherson died in the care of her church in what eventually became one of Scientology’s biggest public relations nightmares in its history.

Last year, to mark 20 years since Lisa’s death, we counted down the days and reviewed what was learned in court documents and police reports about her final days in a lengthy series of stories. It was a grim exercise, but one we felt was important to do.

Lisa’s story reminds us that the Church of Scientology should not be allowed anywhere near people with mental illness. We hope someday the American government can bring itself to do something about that.

 
Lisa_McPherson3

 
——————–

HowdyCon2017

Go here to start making your plans.

 
——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 5, 2016 at 07:00

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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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

 

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
ADVERTISEMENT