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When a Scientology ‘body-router’ turns out to be the father you haven’t seen in 7 years

 
Well, we didn’t see this coming. On Sunday we published a set of professional-looking photos that were offered to us by one of our readers, who wished to remain anonymous. He had taken the photos outside of a metro station in Los Angeles, where a number of Scientology staff members were handing out literature.

Known in Scientology jargon as “body routers,” the staffers were trying to find passersby who might be convinced to come to the Los Angeles Ideal Org and view a Scientology movie or take a personality test. It’s one of the things that Scientology has always done, work sidewalks looking for the next set of raw recruits among the people walking by.

We liked the photos because they were so nicely shot and captured some interesting facial expressions. One man in particular had a face that spoke to us. Despite the dark shock of hair on his head, he looked older, especially next to the young staffer next to him. He seemed past the sell-date for a low-level staff member who might be out body routing. But he had an interesting face. Like the others, we wondered who he was.

And then, yesterday, we found out just who he was, and it came as something of a surprise.

His name is Irving Sorrentini, and he is the father of a former Scientologist we know quite well.

We’ve written numerous stories that featured Jamie Sorrentini Lugli, a luminously beautiful woman who lives in Los Angeles and works as an actress. Her father-in-law, Claudio Lugli, emailed us from Italy yesterday morning with the news that our tipster’s photograph had, in fact, captured Jamie’s father Irving.

Jamie was stunned when she heard the news from us. She spent yesterday afternoon with her daughter Veda, 6, driving around looking for Irving in the places where Scientology body-routers might be stationed.

Jamie tells us that Veda kept asking if this man or that man was the one they were looking for. Veda couldn’t be sure, because she’s never seen her grandfather, who disconnected from his daughter before Veda was born.

Irving and Jamie’s sister Tracie disconnected from Jamie in 2010 for the most Scientological of reasons: By then, Jamie, who had once been a very dedicated church member, had developed doubts.

Jamie tells us that her father is from Puerto Rico, and he was already involved in Scientology when he got married and moved to New York, where he went on staff in the 1970s. Jamie says she was born into a Scientology household, but it was never forced on her growing up as her parents left staff and then their participation in the church varied. By the time Jamie was a student at NYU in the early 2000s, her father was back on course, and he encouraged her to get involved as well. But it wasn’t until she had moved to Los Angeles in 2003 that she finally became a dedicated Scientologist herself.

She met her husband, Tiziano Lugli, at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre. But by the time of their wedding, in September 2009, Jamie and her in-laws, Claudio and Renata Lugli, who had been tailors to Scientology leader David Miscavige and his wife Shelly, had begun to go through a crisis of faith.

Her father flew out for the wedding in Capri, but Jamie says he was already distant as he seemed to sense that his daughter and the Luglis were pulling away from Scientology.

 

Jamie and her father in Italy for her 2009 wedding.

 
“My dad came to the wedding, but he was very distant from me. And that was when Claudio and Renata had been reading online and were pushing us that there was something wrong in the church,” she says.

A couple of weeks earlier, in Los Angeles, Jamie and Tiziano had held another ceremony — they were married on Ducati motorcycles, officiated by their friend Richie Acunto, which we’ve mentioned in an earlier story.

But just a few months after their two ceremonies, their doubts about the church had grown to such an extent that in December they flew to Texas to meet with Mark “Marty” Rathbun, a former top church official who had by then become Scientology’s most visible critic. Visiting Rathbun, whose house was under constant surveillance by Scientology spies, meant that Jamie was now labeled an enemy of the church.

On January 20, 2010, her father called her from Florida, where he was living in an apartment at Scientology’s spiritual “mecca,” the Flag Land Base.

He admitted to her that he was calling from the Office of Special Affairs, Scientology’s intelligence wing, and he had been told about his daughter’s visit with Rathbun.

“Jamie, you publicly told people that you didn’t want to be in Scientology anymore,” Irving told his daughter in the phone conversation, which Jamie recorded. “You decided to go to Marty, without saying anything to me or discussing it with me. You know I’m over here moving up the Bridge — I want to go all the way up the Bridge. And I don’t want to compromise that for any reason.”

“So what, are you calling me to disconnect? Is that what this phone call is?” she asked.

It was the last conversation she had with him. Later that year, in the summer of 2010, she had a chance to drive by his apartment building when she was in town at a gathering organized by Mike Rinder and his now wife, Christie Collbran. With another former church member, Jamie drove by and spotted her dad. When she tried to talk to him, however, he ran away from her.

“He told the security guard to call the police, that I was trespassing,” she says. It was the last she saw of him.

Since then, she gave birth to Veda, who her father and sister Tracie have never laid eyes on. Jamie has often wondered about her father and how he’s doing. He divorced in 2012, and Jamie had heard that he had fallen on some hard times and was working menial jobs several years after he had been a vice president at a commercial real estate firm. “All he wants to do is Scientology. All he ever wanted was to be on the Bridge all the time, so if he could join staff or the Sea Org and have no other job, he would,” she says.

Jamie tells us that in a writing project, she had recently been thinking about a fictional version of what she’d been through. In the story she was writing, she imagined herself one day running into her father, who had joined staff at a Scientology org and was on the street in his uniform. She was working on imagining what she would say to him.

“I can’t believe that it’s actually turned out like that in real life,” she says, sounding astonished. She looked for her father in several different places with her daughter yesterday, but didn’t see him.

In the photograph, Irving, 68, is wearing a staff member’s (non-Sea Org) uniform, as someone who might be working in a Scientology “Ideal Org.” Jamie checked with Mike Rinder, who told her that Irving might be getting trained on body routing by the Los Angeles Ideal Org as an “outer org trainee.”

“They bring staff from the other Ideal Orgs to the LA Org, which is the model Ideal Org,” Rinder tells us. “They train them on body routing and then send them back. He might be there from the Valley org, or Tampa, or New York, who knows.”

Last night, we called the Los Angeles Ideal Org and reached a very helpful church operator who told us she didn’t have a record of Irving Sorrentini, but if he was an outer org trainee from a local org — such as Valley — he wouldn’t be on her roster. “If he’s local, then he’d just go home at the end of the day,” she told us. She then gave us the phone number for the newly opened San Fernando Valley Ideal Org.

We called the number, and when we asked the operator there for Irving Sorrentini, she said, “He’s not here right now.”

Bingo.

The operator then took our name and phone number, saying she would get it to Irving.

We told Jamie that our asking about him and giving our name meant that the church would be on high alert, and we were afraid that it might make it tougher for her to find him body-routing on the street.

But she told us she didn’t mind. She was glad to find out that he was on staff at the Valley org, just a few miles away from where she herself lives. But she admitted that seeing her father in the uniform also hit her hard.

“Honestly, my heart is breaking. I feel like there’s no hope now. His eyes look so sad in that picture. That’s not the guy he was,” she says.

After looking for him yesterday, Jamie says her daughter Veda could see how it was affecting her.

She said, “Mom, I know you’re really sad right now. But just pretend that Irving is here with you.”

We’re glad that Jamie is benefiting from the wisdom of her 6-year-old daughter, even as she continues to miss her Scientologist dad.

 
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Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans, and book your room soon!

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,759 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,516 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,862 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,356 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,396 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,108 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 634 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,723 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,863 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,183 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,158 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 514 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,816 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 923 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,325 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,198 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 779 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,284 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,528 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,637 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 23, 2017 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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