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Mirriam & Saina from ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath’ — The LAPD has let us down

Don’t know about you, but after last night’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, we were left feeling a bit up in the air. If you remember, at the opening of the episode, we were reminded that at the end of last season, Mike and Leah were talking about meeting with attorneys to get some legal action going in regards to Scientology. And then, over the summer, we were teased with a brief scene about “detectives” showing up to talk to Leah.

Last night, we didn’t really learn much about that discussion in Manhattan with an attorney, but we did learn that the subjects of last night’s second season premiere episode, Mirriam Francis and Saina Kamula, met recently with Los Angeles Police Department detectives and brought along Leah Remini and Mike Rinder for support. Cameras weren’t allowed in that meeting, and we weren’t really sure from last night’s episode what to conclude about those talks. So we asked Mirriam and Saina about it directly.

Mirriam: The meeting with the detectives went well. I had first lodged my police statement in Australia in 2012. Over the course of a few years the investigator compiled a thorough and complete case, which he submitted, only to be told it had to be sent to US Authorites as that’s where my father currently resides. Since that time I have had no update on my case and the Australian police have not been able to give me any information. So, I felt somewhat re-charged sitting down with the LAPD detectives. A feeling that perhaps now something would happen. The LAPD detectives were lovely. They seemed to listen and care about what we had to say. Our statememts were officially lodged. But nothing much has resulted.

Saina: The detective told me the district attorney won’t touch my case without a corroborating story. He asked me if I’d be willing to talk to the teacher who molested me if they could locate his info. They’d be on the line or something. I said yes. The detective asked if I knew where the teacher lived, or if I had any info on him and I said I didn’t. But I didn’t trust them to find the info at this point, because just getting the police report had taken forever. So I reached out to a friend who owns a bail bond company and does bounty hunting, and within 20 minutes or so he got the guy’s info and forwarded it to the detective, with no reply.


The Bunker: And that’s it?


[Mirriam Francis]

Mirriam: I haven’t had any recent updates, and the last I had heard is that they were trying to find where and when my Australian police statement was lodged because of the statute of limitations. I believe my father should just be taken in and interviewed by the police and perhaps he’ll confess to it. They had asked me for some descriptions and last known information, which I provided. I was able to find him on Facebook within a few minutes, which I passed on to them as well. I have given them all the information, including a copy of the original Australian police statement which I lodged in 2012, and a full statement from 2013 which was done by the investigator managing my case. The sexual assaults occurred both in Sydney and Los Angeles so I feel satisfied that I have covered both those now with the recent statement with the LAPD. But I’m still waiting on an outcome.

Saina: One other thing worth mentioning, which pissed me off, was that I mentioned later (after the detective said nothing could be done about my case) that the teacher was no longer in the Sea Org since he had a kid with another teacher at ATA and the ranch. The detective brightened up and said that it was then more likely the district attorney could act, since apparently going after a Sea Org member or active Scientologist would have be non-negotiable. That’s about all that’s happened.

The Bunker: And you would be willing to do a controlled call to your abuser, with the police listening in?

Saina: This man needs to be on a registered sex offender list as the pedophile he is. Just the thought of talking to him for any other reason makes me nauseous and filled with the nonsensical guilt instilled in me for trying to have reported him. I nearly had a panic attack today just visualizing a conversation with the “man.” I doubt he has any conscience about what he’s done and has justified it to himself in 10,000 ways or more. I have no interest in just having a conversation for the hell of it. I hope that makes sense.

The Bunker: But at this point, you’re not holding your breath about something being done.

Mirriam: I feel like we’ve done everything from our side. I don’t know what more we can do. It’s in their hands, they have all the information. I think there is quite a contrast now to the impression we got from the LAPD when we first lodged our statements. And the lack of information from them has been frustrating.

The Bunker For law enforcement, the time that has passed since a crime was committed can be an issue. When did the abuse happen to you, Mirriam?

Mirriam: According to my father’s confession he stated that I was 3 to 4 years old when he sexually abused me. (I was born in 1984.) It started after my mother moved to LA with the Sea Org. I don’t know exactly when she moved there. I just have a couple of photos that place her in LA in 1989 saying that she is on her third painting by that time (these are oil paintings so take a long time to do). My best guess is that she left us in 1988 and so that is when the abuse would have begun and that is in line with my father’s guess of my age in his confession as well. We then moved to LA in 1990 and over the next few years there were more instances of sexual abuse by my father as my mother worked at Int Base, so she was rarely around. And when I was not in the Sea Org boarding care we had overnights at our dad’s apartment room and that is when it would happen.

The Bunker: This is especially frustrating because there is so much evidence here, including those amazing photographs of the ranch that you supplied, Saina.

Saina: I’ve always been about photography, as a child and even now. I bought $5 disposable cameras constantly when I had the money then. Some of the pics you saw were just compliance reports for the Sea Org, I just happened to find them on a ranch reunion site and got approval to use them.

The Bunker: “Compliance reports?”


[Saina Kamula]

Saina: The Sea Org put out programs for us to finish, and in order to get steps approved we had to prove that we had done it, whether through pics or attest forms where we’d sign and say we did it. Then we submitted the evidence along with a CSW [Completed Staff Work, a sort of receipt]. The programs were small things like upgrading the dorms, or construction projects, to things like doing Technical Individual Programs for each cadet (something I stayed up until about 5 am to do as it was RTC-ordered and had to be done within 24-48 hours or something ridiculous).

The Bunker: So you were ordered to run laps, and also to take photos of it to prove that you’d done it. Amazing. Another thing that really struck us was your mention, Mirriam, that you worked on paving “L. Ron Hubbard Way” as a child laborer for the church.

Mirriam: Yes, we were kids. I was about 10 years old and the other kids were about my age – some older, some younger. We went to the Sea Org school just around the corner, called the ATA (the little cement lot with blue tarp around the fence). A large group of us were walked over to what was becoming L. Ron Hubbard Way. It was a sunny day. We were shown how to smear a black tar substance down first and then place the reddish-brown bricks in a specific zig-zag sort of pattern in rows. Some of us were put to work putting in the trees that lined the sidewalks of L. Ron Hubbard Way. There was a large group of us doing this project and some adults involved too. I’m not sure how long it all took but I would guess I was there for several hours of one day.

The Bunker: In fact, Scientology boasted about how quickly the work went. Here’s what ‘Freedom’ magazine had to say about the pavers: “more than 150,000 bricks – a job normally estimated at eight weeks, but with the dedication of those hundreds, it took only four days.”

Mirriam: When I was 12 years old, a small group of us were taken from the Ranch school and sent to LA to do work for the Church. We were put to work in the AOLA building. A portion of one of the floors was being renovated. In fact the entire building was being overhauled I believe, but they were doing it in sections so that they could still service the public. We were put to work demolishing the internal walls of this section of the building. We were given white respiratory masks that cover your nose and mouth. We had wheelbarrows. The stronger kids would demolish the walls with very large hammers and then I would pick up the pieces by hand and load it into a wheelbarrow to take to the side of the building that had a chute that went down to a large dumpster on the ground level. During this project we had no access to regular education – only a designated Scientology study period. We were in sight of the public as we entered and exited our work site every day. I was in LA for what feels like at least a few months, if not more, doing various Sea Org projects. I grew sick of it and just wanted to go back to the Ranch and back to school. One night, a bus was heading back up to the Ranch so I got on it, hopeful to get back but I was forced off the bus by an adult. Shortly after this I stepped on a shard of glass and was taken to hospital. I had stitches in my foot and was on crutches. Because I could no longer work for them I was finally sent back to the Ranch. My happiness was short lived however because upon my return to the Ranch, Sea Org members arrived and created the Ethics & Correction Group – based on the RPF – it was the RPF for kids. They had us all write confessionals (“Overts and Witholds”) and whoever had crimes was put in the group. I had done some heavy petting (Out 2-D) with two different boys so I was put in the group. We had to run everywhere so it wasn’t long before I had to ditch the crutches – yes, I was still expected to run despite my injury – mine was more of a fast-paced hobbled walk, though. And because I wasn’t allowed to leave, when the time came I got a friend of mine to cut my stitches out with a pair of nail clippers. When I was 16 years old a group of us kids worked on the CCHR building in LA. I was in the Sea Org at the time but was “routing out” so I was on the “Decks.” This meant that for the majority of the day I would be doing manual labour. A small group of us who were on the decks were sent to work on the CCHR building so that it could be opened to the public. We worked on the roof doing insulation and sealing without adult supervision. On the opening day we did the clean up and preparation for the big celebration to open the new CCHR building. The irony did not escape me at the time. We had so many projects that we did throughout our childhood. I remember them as early as age 7. They called them “missions.” They sounded important and exciting. They were anything from extensive filing, promotional materials sorting, cleaning, neighborhood graffiti paint outs, etc.

The Bunker: Mirriam, near the end of the episode A&E put up a card that made reference to your mother signing an affidavit. According to the card, your mother divorced your father in 1998 when she became aware of allegations that he had been abusing you. Does that sound accurate?

Mirriam: No, she did not divorce him as a result of learning of the abuse. The only reason she divorced him is because she was told by other staff members that she had to divorce him because he was no longer qualified to go Int level, where she was. He was not qualified because “he did not disclose something previously on his Life History form.” They specifically told her that what he did was not important but the fact that he did not disclose it earlier was the reason that disqualified him. When my mum told us that they were getting a divorce she pretty much repeated their words exactly to us. I didn’t know if the “what he did” was the sexual abuse, I could only guess that it was. But it was very clearly expressed to me that what he had done was not important and that it was only the fact he had not disclosed it which made him unqualified and therefore she had to divorce him. In fact, she never even said it was her choice. She just said, “They said I had to.” But the year 1998 does sound about right for when she announced that they were getting a divorce. I had joined the Sea Org in 1998 and it was within my first year of being in the Sea Org that she came and told us. But she found out about what he did to me while I was still at the Ranch — before the Sea Org. And I know this because I specifically clarified this point with her. She told me clearly that I was at the Ranch when she found out. So, I believe there is at least a year between her finding out and her telling us she’s getting a divorce. So, her affidavit is false.

The Bunker: Predictably, after your episode aired last night an attack was launched on you at the website the Church of Scientology maintains to take swipes at Leah and the people who appear on her show. In your case, the church has rounded up other former students from the Canyon Oaks Ranch, saying that it was “literally a big family” where you could swim in a pool, make excursions to the zoo, and enjoyed lots of pets. And they said they never heard complaints from you about abuse.

Mirriam: The former ranch attendees talked a lot about swimming and animals, but they never once denied the physical labour. They never once talked about the quality (or lack thereof) of the education received. It is a pretty weak counter-argument. I think that anyone would be able to see right through it, so that does not concern me. However, the most ignorant part in it was stated by Vanessa Bolstad (Guthrie) where she says that because Saina did not mention the abuse to her it therefore could not have happened. This would have to be one of the most ignorant statements I have come across in regards to child sexual abuse. First of all, if you are not trusted enough then it is possible that you may never know about it. For a victim to discuss openly what has happened to him or her to another person they would have to have the highest level of trust in that person. If Saina did not mention it to her it would be because she did not trust her, not that it did not happen. Saina’s abuser was known about, she was not the only victim and I predict that other victims will come forward, once they feel brave enough to do so. The fear in opening up about something like this within the Scientology environment is real. The fear of punishment of the victim and the repurcussions of speaking out are real. What Saina has done is extremely brave. I only feel shame for the ignorance of the very few who have been propped up by Scientology to be their mouthpieces. Scientology continues to breed and perpetuate their own rape culture. An environment where pedophiles are allowed to walk free and the child victims are shamed and punished. It is a sign that they have not changed. It is a sign that their damaging policies still continue. It is alarming to see that they would attack and attempt to discredit a victim of sexual assault. We have been flooded by heartfelt support from the viewers of this show. We know that we have done the right thing, to speak out in spite of our fear. And we will continue to speak out against ignorance, against deliberate cover ups and lies until it is no longer OK for adults to sexually abuse children within the Church of Scientology. This is our truth, and no one can take that away from us. Additionally, Lizzie mentions that it’s been 20 years since the abuse allegedly occured to now. If anyone knows anything about child sexual abuse it is the fact that it can take many years before someone is able to talk about it openly or to file a police report. This is because it takes that long to get to a place where you are mentally prepared to deal with it. Let alone the environment that we grew up in, which prevented us from addressing it when we were younger. And Saina did report it. And she was punished for it. So, again this just shows how ignorant they are about this subject. There needs to be more information available to the people confined within Scientology so that they can be educated on this topic. This is the Scientology rape culture that we are hoping to change by speaking out.

The Bunker: We hope the broadcast of last night’s episode puts a fire under the LAPD and you begin hearing from them again. Thanks for talking to us here at the Underground Bunker.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,844 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,827 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,601 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,947 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,441 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,481 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,193 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 719 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,808 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,948 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,268 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,243 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 599 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,901 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,008 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,410 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,283 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 864 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,369 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,613 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,722 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 16, 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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