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Scientology’s Flag Building brain injury: In Clearwater, it’s déjà vu all over again

[Scientology’s playground for wealthy patsies]

December 5 will mark the 22nd anniversary of the death of Lisa McPherson. Two years ago, for the 20th anniversary, we produced a lengthy series re-reporting her final days in real time, to get a sense of how her terrible experience played out over several weeks.

One of the reasons we did that was not only to look for new details in her sad case, but also, frankly, to put it to rest. A part of us winces whenever we see people bring up McPherson’s death to criticize the Church of Scientology. We can’t help thinking, almost as a reflex, it was one death more than 20 years ago, move on already.

But this is Scientology, and somehow, these idiots just made the Lisa McPherson story totally relevant all over again.

Yesterday, Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus reported that on Sunday a 17-year-old Mexican girl received some kind of head injury in Scientology’s Flag Building (more colloquially known as the “Super Power” Building, which was opened in November 2013 to great fanfare).

Clearwater’s police chief told McManus that the girl had slipped on some stairs and hit the back of her head, but the you-have-to-be-shitting-us moment came when McManus described what the staff at the Flag building did next:


Church staff did not call an ambulance but drove the girl 4 miles to Largo Medical Center for treatment, bypassing Morton Plant Hospital, which is 1 mile from the Flag building.

We’re not sure if we can do enough double-facepalms on that one. If you know the McPherson saga, you can understand why we’re smacking ourselves in disbelief. After holding McPherson in isolation for 17 days so that she was dying of dehydration, the geniuses at the Fort Harrison Hotel, which is across the street from the location that would become the Super Power Building, decided to bundle her into a van and then drove her to a remote hospital, bypassing several closer ones including Morton Plant Hospital, in order to bring her to an emergency room where they knew a Scientologist doctor, David Minkoff, would be working. At some point during that unnecessarily long drive, Lisa McPherson died.

Her death eventually became one of the single biggest sources of bad publicity for the church in its entire history. And what Janet Reitman and other observers have pointed out when they write about it is that because Scientology never learns, never adapts, and never gives a shit, there’s always the possibility that something similar could happen again.

And sure enough, this week they proved that to be the case all over again.

They didn’t call an ambulance, but drove a brain-injured 17-year-old girl farther than Morton Plant Hospital to a medical center three miles more distant. Why? Was there a Scientologist doctor there? We don’t know yet, and we’re looking forward to Tracey McManus following up on this item.

But we can suggest that several things might be going on here. A 17-year-old Mexican national at the Flag Building without her parents? That makes us wonder if this was a girl brought over on an R-1 religious visa to work as a Sea Org member.

McManus reported that investigators were hoping to look at security footage which might have caught the moment when the girl was injured. We sure hope so, because there are a number of strange locations in that building, including the giant running track on the 6th floor, and the wild “Perceptics” contraptions on the 5th floor. Sure, this might have just been a slip on some stairs, but there are some pretty creative ways someone could get hurt in that building.

And also, we can’t help thinking the church has something to hide when it puts out a statement like this:

“In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday, Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw said an accident sustained by a minor is not newsworthy.”

In the name of Xenu, how do these mental giants always find exactly the wrong thing to say?


Hungarian raid results in fine, more trouble to come

Péter Bonyai has this morning’s update on Wednesday’s raid in Budapest…



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,908 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 54 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,117 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,891 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,665 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,011 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,505 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,545 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,257 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 783 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,872 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,012 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,332 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,307 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 663 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,965 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,071 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,474 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,347 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 928 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,433 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,677 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,786 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 20, 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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