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Scientologist’s lawsuit against Jim Carrey over Cat White’s suicide survives dismissal

Yesterday, a story ping-ponged around the usual media locations, indicating that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge had decided not to dismiss two wrongful death lawsuits against actor Jim Carrey that grew out of the suicide of his Irish on-again, off-again girlfriend, Cathriona White, who died in September 2015 at the age of 30.

Carrey is being sued by Cat White’s husband, a man named Mark Burton, and by Cat’s mother, Brigid Sweetman, who each blame Carrey after Cat overdosed on drugs that had been prescribed to Carrey and that she had apparently taken from his apartment.

None of the stories mentioned the detail we discovered, that Cat White was a Scientologist who had been stalled on the “Survival Rundown” when she took her life, and that Burton is also a Scientologist who, Cat’s friends say, married her out of convenience so she could get a green card and stay in the country after Carrey refused to marry her.

We had been driving between Portland and Seattle on a leg of our book tour that summer when we first got a message from one of our best, most trusted sources, who told us that the young woman in the news for killing herself had actually been a Scientologist. We confirmed it with another of our sources later in the day, and on the morning of September 30, we broke the news, and tabloid reporters from both sides of the Atlantic started ringing us. Pete Griffiths helped us nail the next detail, the identity of Cat’s SRD and Purification Rundown “twin,” an actor named Travis Case, who works as Ashton Kutcher’s stand-in. (Scientology often has members pair up to get through courses together, and the Purif and the SRD are both physically and mentally grueling.) We also started to learn something about the young Scientology Hollywood types that Cat had been involved with.


One of the things making Scientology’s involvement interesting was that Jim Carrey had made fun of Scientology numerous times, and seemed to want nothing to do with it. Former Scientology official Claire Headley provided us with our next scoop: That Carrey had, in fact, been the focus of an intense effort by the church to bring him in and get him on the “Purif,” spearheaded by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. (Yes, the same Shelly who vanished a few years later, in 2005.) Claire suggested that Scientology would still consider Carrey a prize, and would not have hesitated to use a Scientologist like Cat White to work on bringing him in. “They tried it in the past, and they would do it again,” she told us.

And then came the bombshell. The Daily Mail discovered from the Los Angeles coroner that Cat was actually married. Even some of her close friends had no idea and were stunned at the news. A marriage certificate was quickly located for Cat and Mark Burton in Clark County, Nevada, but who was Mark Burton? We managed to locate a couple of photos of him from friends who had been involved in the small-time video shoots where Cat had been a make-up artist. We also began to learn more about Cat’s past in Ireland and how she had first run into Scientology — through a famous Austrian family of artists who lived in a castle in Tipperary.

We also learned something fascinating about Burton’s past — he was the stepson of Duke Snider, one of Scientology’s most notorious spies who had helped run the church’s infiltration of the US federal government in the 1970s, the “Snow White Program.” Snider was among 11 top Scientology officials convicted and sent to prison for the Snow White operation.

And then came a stunning detail that we hate for the rest of the media to forget already. Not only had Cat engaged in a secret wedding with a fellow Scientologist in order to avoid going back to Ireland, but it wasn’t her first time!

In fact, marrying a friend for immigration status was something Cat White had talked about for years, even before she began dating Carrey. In 2010, two years before she started up with the actor, Cat and her friends staged a fake wedding with one of her fellow Scientologists in order to produce wedding photos that could be used to fool immigration authorities. Cat ultimately didn’t go through with marrying that man, but a photo from the event exists, and we have a copy.


Since that report, things turned very ugly in the litigation between the parties. Burton apparently had obtained Cat’s smartphone after her death, and sordid messages from it began leaking to the press which indicated that she and Carrey had fought over her allegation that she had become infected with venereal diseases from him. There had even been a court settlement between them about it.

Burton’s attorney very effectively dragged Carrey through the mud over the revelations from Cat’s phone, but Carrey was defiant, saying that he had no interest in working out a settlement in what he characterized as an extortion attempt.

Now, the lawsuits have survived dismissal, and a trial has been set for April 26, 2018. It would be extremely unusual for such a trial to take place. More likely, some agreement will be hashed out, but not, perhaps, without more salacious revelations.

We think that Scientology’s involvement, however, is not one that should be forgotten.

For a young woman who had had a history of struggling with depression, turning to Scientology was perhaps the worst thing she could have done. Scientology demonizes mental health care, and would have convinced her that it was a betrayal to seek proper counseling or medication. And the grueling nature of the SRD could not have helped.

It’s a shame that this beautiful young woman ever went near Scientology. Perhaps the court ought to keep that in mind.


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


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,769 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,526 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,872 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,366 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,406 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,118 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 644 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,733 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,873 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,193 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,168 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 524 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,826 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 933 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,335 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,208 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 789 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,294 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,538 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,647 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 2, 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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