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Scientology’s humanitarians will continue to salvage this planet in 2019

 
Before we continue with our year in review, we have an item to remind us that through all of Scientology’s challenges, all of its rotten press and mass defections, the people still inside continue to consider themselves saviors of the human race.

Denice Duff is a longtime Scientologist and minor actor, Meghan Fialkoff is a Freedom Medal winner for her infiltration of New York City Schools (with the help of the NYPD) to distribute L. Ron Hubbard’s quack drug theories to the city’s schoolkids. It’s heartwarming to see that they have so much enthusiasm for their status as humanitarians…

 

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The planet is in good hands. Now, back to our review as we remember the stories of July 2018…

As July began, we posted photos from the latest “Maiden Voyage” celebration that Scientology had held in the Caribbean. We had no idea that one of those photos, of David Miscavige being pinned with a medal by a Colombian national police general, would end up turning into quite a kerfuffle in that country.

A few days later, we noted that a young woman being considered for an Aftermath episode had made some pretty astounding molestation claims on Twitter.

On July 8, we noted that not only was the Danny Masterson investigation dragging on endlessly, but that one of the witnesses who had been interviewed by the LAPD was being harassed to the point of fearing for their safety.

We can never get enough Scientology hip-hop, can you?

Derek Bloch once again proved what a talented writer he is with a moving piece he wrote for us about growing up in Scientology.

In mid-July, things really started to pick up in the Laura DeCrescenzo lawsuit as a scheduled August trial neared. By July 13, the church was desperately scrambling after Laura’s attorney, John Blumberg, served Scientology leader David Miscavige with a notice to appear in court. Finally, after nine years, this thing really seemed to be coming to a head.

On July 18, one of our favorite stories of the year began to unfold. We had actually begun talking to Efrem Logreira, 75, some months before as he struggled to deal with crushing debts on his credit cards. He had spent only a year in Scientology, but the church had run up huge charges on his account, without his approval he claimed, and the interest charges alone neared $1,000 a month and were about to make him homeless. We always hear that law enforcement is looking for two things regarding the Church of Scientology: 1. financial crimes and 2. timely reporting. Well, here was a senior getting bilked, and it was unfolding in Present Time (as the Scientologists say).

Even better, Efrem was a lovely character who had clearly been taken advantage of, including the time some young ladies at the Celebrity Centre took him out for an ice cream date to convince him to sign off on a $20,000 charge. Efrem had taken a photograph of that event, and it was one of the best Scientology-related photos we’ve ever seen.

Efrem ended up talking both to federal investigators and to attorney Graham Berry. We hope to have an update from him soon about his attempts to be made whole by the church.

Since they filed their lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in January 2013, we followed every twist and turn in the legal saga of Luis and Rocio Garcia. Mostly, it was an exercise in frustration as federal Judge James D. Whittemore denied the Garcias their day in court because of draconian contracts they had signed as Scientologists. He forced them instead to submit to the sham of Scientology’s internal arbitration, which included some pretty shocking irregularities, including lying to the court. But when the Garcias tried to get an evidentiary hearing to raise those problems, Whittemore told them his hands were tied. Scientology simply didn’t need to satisfy a court that it wasn’t defrauding its members.

While the Garcia story has been frustrating, our next litigation news was monumental: With just days remaining before her trial was finally scheduled to start, Laura DeCrescenzo’s nine-year legal odyssey finally brought her to justice. David Miscavige couldn’t allow her case to come to trial, where media reports would amplify testimony about how children are treated in Scientology’s Sea Org, and about how women in the Sea Org have been forced to have abortions so they can keep up their 112-hour work weeks. So, as many had predicted, Miscavige wrote a huge check to end the case. This was a lawsuit that had included appeals all the way to the US Supreme Court, and as Mike Rinder later pointed out, it has a legacy that should help other former Scientologists into the future.

On July 25, we had another great deep dive from historian Chris Owen, this time discussing the partial ban that the UK put on Scientology in 1968. 50 years later, what lessons should we draw from this attempt to shut down Scientology?

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When we set out to tell Paulette Cooper’s story for a book, one of the first things we dived into was how she had survived the Holocaust as a young Belgian child whose parents had been exterminated at Auschwitz. We managed to discover documentation that helped fill in much of the story. But even today, Paulette continues to search for details about her past, and for her 76th birthday on July 26, she gave us a stunning update about some of the other children she knew in a Belgian orphanage.

The next day, we revealed that we were looking into a puzzling death, the suicide of a 26-year-old Scientology ‘Clear’ who had just traveled across country to be at Scientology’s spiritual mecca in Florida. The death of Kristi Bouck was a puzzler.

Sunny Pereira gave us a real treat in July: Her “passport” from her Bridge to Total Freedom. Scientology just loves to gamify spiritual achievement!

And finally, we finished out the month with a charming item about Scientology being practiced in public on a city street. What a sight!

 
MOST-READ STORIES OF JULY 2018:
1. Shocking molestation claims inside Scientology leaking out before ‘Aftermath’ episode
2. SCIENTOLOGY CAVES: MISCAVIGE SETTLES FORCED-ABORTION CASE TO AVOID TRIAL
3. Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
4. Scientology hip-hop continues to amaze us, and we hope it transports you as well
5. Is this case of Scientology draining a senior of his savings the one police are looking for?

 
A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2017: Clay Irwin snagged images from the spy camera aimed at his house. L. Ron Hubbard explained how you could crush a planet between thumb and forefinger with OT powers. Scientology billionaires yoked the fortunes of the world’s biggest-selling drug to an ongoing windfall for Scientology. Tommy Davis’s Hollywood dream ended, and so did his marriage. Paulette Cooper turned 75.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2016: How the parents of a Kazakh woman got her back from the Sea Org. We marked the passing of Steve “Sarge” Pfauth at 70. We found that Joey Chait’s story was more complex than some had it. Rebecca McKee told us how she reunited with her high school sweetheart. And we said goodbye to Arlene Cordova.

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A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2015: We wrote about Scientology’s day care from hell. Brian Sheen’s full Scientology story turned out to be pretty fascinating. Chris Shelton emceed us in Denver. And Nick Lister dished on Tom Cruise ruthlessly putting ethics in on his own family.

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2014: Our Independence Day special, when Jeremy Powers defied disconnection and came home. We said goodbye to John Joseph, a man who cared. Camilla Andersson went public after 29 years in Scientology. And we live-blogged ID network’s show on Elli Perkins (which featured your proprietor).

A LOOK BACK AT JULY 2013: Leah Remini defects, Shelly Miscavige speaks, Jim Lynch exteriorizes, and Christian Stolte rocks.

 
Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of July 2018

July 14: Geoff Levin
Scientology turns people with good intentions into criminals. It’s one thing to commit a criminal act. It’s a much more serious crime to make other people into criminals. The severity of this cannot be over estimated. It contributed to my demise and I almost did not recover from that. I’ve come to realize that in its pure organized form Scientology is a sickness.

July 18: Graham Berry
Wow. The smartest thing the church could do now is to refund Mr. Efrem Logreira all remaining monies he has paid, pay off the credit cards, reimburse for interest and all other expenses, in exchange for a general release of all claims Mr. Logreira may have against the church. Quite apart from the reimbursement claims (which are probably subject to their usual arbitration clause) there are a host of tort and other potential civil claims such as theft, fraud, obtaining property under false pretenses, breach of oral contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc. As for potential criminal liability, that train has already left the station. There also appears to be an issue relating to the unlawful practice of medicine. Nothing new here, except the proximity in time as Tony notes so well. That’s why the church would be well advised to at least make the poor man financially whole again.

July 21: Jefferson Hawkins
Sands Hall’s book is a must-read as far as I am concerned. She describes what I refer to as the “spell” of Scientology perhaps better than anyone. When you are under that “spell,” it is a complete logical system within which people do insane, often self-destructive things. But it all makes perfect sense. You are operating on “the greatest good,” so the insanities are completely justified. When I have nightmares about Scientology, what is truly terrifying is not any physical abuse, but the feeling of being back “under the spell.”

July 23: John P.
Congratulations to Laura D and her legal team for pulling this off. It’s an immense victory. And yes, the PR damage from proceeding to trial would be inconceivable. At least as bad as the wreckage from the Lisa McPherson tragedy. Had this gone to trial, any affinity the evangelical Christian community would have had for Scientology as “fellow religionists” would have turned to out-and-out hatred. Many evangelicals who came into contact with shallow fame whore Joy Villa were already suspicious, but the idea of a church forcing employees to have abortions would have brought out the pitchforks and the torches and they’d be unlikely to forget about such a thing. No amount of local “safepointing” would be able to fix that.

July 28: Jefferson Hawkins
Pretty much every Scientologist vendor who did printing or shipping for the Church ended up at the wrong end of a Comm Ev. It was inevitable, someone had to be blamed when things went wrong (and they always went wrong). They never knew the one rule that every Int Base executive knew by heart: always have a junior between you and any potential flap – a junior that can take the heat if anything goes south. Then you can “put ethics in” on your junior and you come out smelling like a rose. This rule was followed religiously by Int Base Execs. It’s why people like Yager are still around.

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

 
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Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

 
Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Looking back at July ’17: How a billionaire set up psych drugs to fuel Scientology into the future
[TWO years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: Marc & Claire Headley on forced abortions and Sea Org escapes
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s 2015 in review: Our July travels, and the day care story we can’t forget
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: For July, a stunning story of independence
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: The appeals of May and the blunts of June

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,311 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,442 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,944 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,424 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 487 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 375 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,682 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,550 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,324 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,098 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,444 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,010 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,930 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,097 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,678 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,938 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,978 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,690 days.
Ginger Sugerman has not seen her three children in 1,463 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,216 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,305 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,445 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,765 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,621 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,740 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,096 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,398 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,504 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,907 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,778 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,361 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,856 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,110 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,219 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 27, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

Join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news

 

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