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Tonight on ‘Aftermath’: How Leah Remini’s friends in Scientology put her to the test

[Sherry Ollins]

If you remember Leah Remini’s reality show It’s All Relative, you may remember one of the rare moments when she brought up the subject of Scientology. In one episode, she brought on three of her friends who were also former Scientologists, and we interviewed one of them, Chantal Dodson.

Now, in tonight’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, Chantal and another of those friends, Sherry Ollins, are back for a more in-depth telling of their stories as children growing up in Scientology and how their lives intersected with Leah’s own experience. It’s an emotional journey, and Leah’s insights about herself are stunning.

Sherry tells us that she was very young when her mother got into Scientology in Washington DC. Her mother became an auditor, and was so dedicated Sherry was often alone. And one time, when she was 7, that led to terrible incident we’ll let her tell you about tonight.

But what stayed with her was how her mother tried to handle the incident with Scientology. It felt inappropriate, she says, and it wasn’t what she needed.

Chantal, meanwhile, grew up in Hawaii, where she remembered having an ideal situation in a 5-bedroom home. But then her mother got into Scientology and took Chantal and her sister to the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. With their mother in the Sea Org, they very rarely got to see her, and when Chantal’s sister Natalie complained, she was put on the “Children’s RPF.”


Mike explains that the Children’s Rehabilitation Project Force was modeled on the adult version, the Sea Org’s prison detail. Chantal’s sister was made to sleep in a parking garage, and was totally cut off from the rest of her family.

Then the family moved to Los Angeles, and Chantal and her sister got jobs cleaning out the Advanced Org of Los Angeles (AOLA) building, which had formerly housed a morgue. It was awful, Chantal says.


[Sherry and Leah in L.A.]

Then, at 9, Chantal was chosen to train to be a messenger for L. Ron Hubbard when it was discovered that she was a “natural clear.” Mike explains that this special status is rare, and it would have made Chantal seem “annointed.”

Sherry, too, found herself being groomed to work with Hubbard when she was recruited by a couple who took her to New York to join the Sea Org. She was 11. It was there that she met Leah, whose mother had gotten her into Scientology. They became fast friends. At 13, Sherry was transferred to Flag, but then Leah joined the Sea Org and was sent there too. Eventually all three of them — Leah, Sherry, and Chantal — were living in Los Angeles with a whole group of Scientology kids who had been more or less left on their own by busy Scientology parents.

Chantal and Sherry both describe being in and out of the Sea Org, and trying to survive on almost nothing, and how they had to rely on each other rather than their families.

At 21, Sherry left Scientology altogether, and that really tested her connection to the others. And then, around 2004, Sherry came to Leah with a request for help that really tested their relationship.

Leah describes how today she realized that she failed that test. And for a decade, she and Sherry were estranged. But now they’re all back together after Chantal survived a health scare three years ago.

We’ve only hinted at the remarkable details in this episode, and once again Mike and Leah have brought to life the mindset of Scientology in vivid terms.


[Chantal Dodson]


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,919 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 65 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,128 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,902 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,676 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,022 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,516 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,556 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,268 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 794 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,883 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,023 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,343 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,318 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 674 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,976 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,082 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,485 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,358 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 939 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,444 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,688 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,797 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 31, 2017 at 10:00

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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