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Leah Remini goes there: Child molestation in Scientology for tonight’s ‘Aftermath’ premiere

We hope you’re looking forward to tonight’s premiere of the second season of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. But you should know, if past episodes of this series have left you emotionally battered, you’re in for a real roller coaster ride tonight.

Both Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are second-generation Scientologists who were brought into the church as young children, but one thing we’ve heard repeatedly from some quarters is that ‘Aftermath’ and other programs on Scientology haven’t done enough to focus on the experiences of the children of Scientologists who were brought up in the neglectful (and worse) conditions as kids of Sea Org workers.

Well, that gap in coverage is certainly addressed by tonight’s episode, titled “Thetans in Young Bodies.”

Leah and Mike tonight hear accounts from two women who grew up in Scientology’s “Cadet Org” in the 1980s and who remained in the church, in one case until just a few years ago.


They are Mirriam Francis of Melbourne, Australia and Saina Kamula of California, and their stories are as harrowing as any we’ve seen on this series.


[Mirriam Francis]

Saina is originally from Finland, and when she arrived in Los Angeles with her mother she didn’t speak a word of English. Still, she and Mirriam became best friends as they had to make their way in Scientology’s “Apollo Training Academy” near PAC base. Later they were also sent to a former Scientology school in far northeast Los Angeles County known as Canyon Oaks Ranch, and one of the best things about this episode is that Saina was able to supply photographs of their time there, including showing children being disciplined by having to run laps in the desert sun.

Believe us when we say there are many revelations about the Cadet Org, the Sea Org, ATA, the ranch, and what these two women went through as children, and we’ll let you discover that on your own tonight.

Leah and Mike, meanwhile, skillfully put these stories in context, explaining that in Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard asserted that since each of us is an ancient “thetan,” or spiritual being, then children are actually ancient adults in small packages. It was official policy that children be treated like adults, and that usually translated to “very harshly.”

It’s also Scientology policy that because we’re ancient thetans who have lived countless times before, then the family ties in our current lifetime are considered trivial. As Leah explains, you might have a young child in this lifetime, but that person might have been your parent in another era. So it makes no sense, in the Scientology view, to dote on children or treat them as, you know, children.


[Saina Kamula]

That’s how parents, for so many years, have been able to drop their kids off at the org as they go off to pursue their “purpose” as Sea Org members, not seeing their own kids for months or years at a time.

And if a child should become targeted by a predator in the Sea Org, well, the worst thing you can do, Leah explains, is to complain about another Sea Org member.

(We were glad to see ‘Aftermath’ make a reference to a notorious quote from Scientology’s “bible,” L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 book Dianetics, a quote we’ve spent some time trying to publicize: “The seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing; she is reacting to an engram since at seven she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one. There must have been an earlier experience, possibly prenatal, which made men or kissing very bad.”)

With no parents to turn to, and strict rules about not going to law enforcement outside the church, you end up with a victimized child in a nightmare situation.

To help hammer that home, Mike Rinder admits that his own children, from his first family, were raised the Scientology way, and he had no time for them. So when Scientology attacks Rinder today, claiming that he neglected his own children, he says that because of Scientology, those accusations are basically true. “I was a Sea Org father,” he says, and it’s one of Rinder’s most impactful moments of the series.

While their mothers were off seeking their “purpose” in the Sea Org, Mirriam and Saina were left to fend for themselves in Scientology’s bizarre boot camp for kids. And what happened there, well, we’ll let you find out from them. (Last night, A&E previewed part of the episode, long enough to reveal that Mirriam was molested by her Scientologist father.) But not only was their situation made worse by the way Scientology saw children, it becomes obvious as the episode unfolds that the church, at some point, became well aware of what each of these two young girls were going through.


[“I was a Sea Org father,” Rinder says.]

So if Scientology was aware of abuse, and these women are finally ready to come forward, can anything be done about it? At the top of the episode, we’re reminded that the last season left off with Leah and Mike trying to find a way to get action from law enforcement or in the courts. Now we learn that they accompanied Mirriam and Saina as they met with LAPD detectives to discuss their cases.

Prevented from filming during those sessions, Aftermath is somewhat ambiguous about the results of that encounter. Tomorrow, we have more from Mirriam and Saina about their meeting with the police, and several other things we followed up with them about from this episode.

As for tonight, please join us in the comments section as the show is airing. Just be prepared for the number of comments to explode.

One final point we want to make about tonight’s episode, and this will make more sense to you later: Leaders of Los Angeles, what are you going to do after it is established tonight on A&E that “L. Ron Hubbard Way,” renamed in 1996 by the city, is a monument to Scientology’s use of child labor?


[One of Saina Kamula’s remarkable photos of Scientology children being disciplined in the California desert]


UPDATE: Wise Beard Man on the mend

Says Mark: “I’m recovering well. After a week in rehab, I’m finally back at home and feeling stronger every day. There’s tons of doctor’s appointments and home care visits and a vast array of new medications to deal with. My Scientologist neighbor approached my brother the other day to find out how I was doing. I’m certain that Scientology must have advised her of my condition and told her to find out what she can. The last exchange I had with her was over a year ago when I was leaving my apartment as she was entering her apartment. She saw my door open and shouted at me, ‘Don’t you dare come out here!’ I looked at her and said, ‘Oh, stop being silly,’ as I exited past her. I’ll be cleared to start driving again in a couple of weeks and then return back to work so everything is on track. A big thanks again for all the well wishes and the support through this experience.”


Public Service Announcement from the Bunker before tonight’s commenting apocalypse

The Bunker provides this service in the hopes that it will prove helpful during tonight’s scrum.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,843 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,826 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,600 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,946 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,440 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,480 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,192 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 718 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,807 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,947 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,267 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,242 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 598 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,900 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,007 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,409 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,282 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 863 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,368 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,612 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,721 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 15, 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 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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