Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


After critical ‘Aftermath’ episodes, Clearwater police chief denies favoring Scientology

We’re going to guess that the Clearwater Police Department was inundated with angry calls and messages from the public after the last two episodes of Leah Remini’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. How else to explain the extraordinary step that Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter took yesterday, posting a video to the department’s Facebook page to explain how his force was being unfairly criticized.

Slaughter became chief in 2014 and has been with the department since 1992, so he knows quite well the history of Scientology’s takeover of downtown Clearwater. But he apparently didn’t appreciate the blowback he’s been getting after Tuesday night’s episode, which showed Remini, her costar Mike Rinder, and guest Mark Bunker having a seat on a park bench on land owned by the church.



Six Clearwater police officers showed up, brandishing a 1999 court order that they said prevented Bunker from being on church property. But Rinder explained to them that the 1999 injunction actually governed another area, and that they weren’t in violation of it. They agreed to move to the public sidewalk, but representatives of the church never showed up after making the call.

As Rinder had predicted, it was the kind of overkill that the Clearwater police are known for when Scientology calls. But Chief Slaughter didn’t like that interpretation, and decided to educate the public about how his officers are merely caught in the middle of a long dispute. Here’s the video and a full transcript…


Hello, I’m Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter. I began my career with the department in 1992. I’ve been a street cop, a detective, and served in various leadership roles before I was promoted to police chief in 2014. As a Clearwater resident and the police chief of this city, I wanted to talk to you about a long standing matter affecting our department and community. For years, the Clearwater Police Department has been thrust into the middle of a debate between a controversial religion and its critics — without a voice in the matter. Scientology’s hub of activity is in a portion of downtown Clearwater occupying approximately half a square mile in our 36 square-mile city. Not one of our on-duty officers is assigned to or stationed at any Scientology property. The Clearwater Police Department received more than 78,000 calls for service in 2018 with approximately 109 originating from Scientology staff or security. This equates to approximately one tenth of one percent of all calls for service. We are obligated to respond to all calls for service, regardless of religious affiliation of the caller and to protect free for all citizens regardless of content. Consistent with other law enforcement organizations, the Clearwater Police Department has an extra-duty program for a wide variety of businesses and religious entities to hire off-duty officers. The primary purpose of extra-duty officers is to provide additional services to the community with security, crowd control, and traffic-related details. These programs are not funded by the taxpayers, and most importantly, do not draw from the on-duty resources paid for by the taxpayers. Only 3.4 percent of the extra-duty assignments involve Scientology. All officers serving on an extra-duty shift are bound by oath to remain impartial and operate under the policies and procedures of the Clearwater Police Department. Being a recognized religious entity by the federal government, Scientology is entitled to contract for the same services as any other religious organization or business. The Police Department does not have the ability to stop providing extra-duty services to one religious organization without denying the same service to all federally recognized religious entities. Law enforcement officers throughout the country swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. This includes the First Amendment which covers freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Clearwater police officers swear to uphold the same. Our hope is that everyone watching this video will recognize that we don’t get to pick and choose whom we protect and serve, and nor should we. We are bound by the Constitution to answer all calls for service and deliver those services in a fair and impartial manner. The Clearwater Police Department has always investigated all crimes, in a fair and impartial manner. The Clearwater Police Department has always investigated all crimes, without passion or prejudice, regardless of who the victim or suspect is. And, we will continue to do so. We will not be used as instruments to promote anyone or any organization’s agenda. Our officers are human beings who work a hazardous job that exposes them to human tragedy on a regular basis. The mere suggestion that our officers exist to serve any religious organization, specifically Scientology is patently false and an affront to our officers and the great community we serve. To see them criticized and vilified for upholding the U.S. Constitution, all while doing their best to interpret complex legal orders, confusing complaints, and to mediate disputes between constitutionally protected activities of religion, speech, and assembly is not only unfair but done in the absence of perspective. Hopefully, we provided you perspective today. Whether you wish us well or ill, the Clearwater Police Department will continue to protect every citizen and investigate every crime, and serve our community with the powers granted to us by the Constitution and criminal justice system. Thank you.

While we appreciate the police chief’s position, we were fairly stunned that he characterized the situation as a dispute between the church and its critics.

Anyone who has followed our coverage, and the coverage by the Tampa Bay Times, the work by Lawrence Wright, and so many others, would know that the ongoing crisis we’ve been covering is a dispute between Scientology and its own members.

We’ll give Chief Slaughter a recent example.

When Katrina Reyes came to Clearwater with her mother from Siberia, she signed a billion-year contract, promising to work for Scientology day and night for the rest of her natural life. Her passport was taken away, and she was put on a schedule of 365-days-a-year work.

She was 11 years old.

That’s what is happening in your city, Chief Slaughter.

Seven years after she had arrived in Clearwater, Katrina was allowed to go home to visit family. While she was in Siberia, the night before she returned to Florida, she suspected that she had been drugged and raped by two men. However, when she asked her supervisors at the Flag Land Base permission to get medical attention and to find out if she’d been impregnated, instead she was punished. Because in Scientology, a rape victim is always at fault.


That’s what is happening in your city, Chief Slaughter.

When Katrina objected to the way she was treated, she left the Sea Org. She was then told that she could no longer live and work in Clearwater, and she was eventually “declared” a “suppressive person” so she could never see her mother again, who still works in Clearwater at the Flag Land Base and has never seen Katrina’s son, her grandson.

That’s what is happening in your city, Chief Slaughter.

A few years ago, Katrina and her husband tried to see her mother at the Flag Land Base, and when they approached the building where she worked, Scientologists called the police. Chief Slaughter’s men were quickly on the scene and interrogated Katrina and her husband.

At one point, Katrina realized the Clearwater officers had taken her drivers license and had given it to the Scientology security officers, who can be seen in this image taking down her personal information.


Katrina tells us she was stunned. The officers hadn’t told her they were going to turn over her ID card to the Scientologist guards. They simply did it, and Katrina says it was clear that she was facing a force that worked hand in glove with the church.

This was not a “critic” of the church. This was not a “protest.” This was a woman trying to see her mother, who is being kept from her by the Church of Scientology while working in the conditions of indentured servitude, her passport kept from her, working 365 days a year, 112 hours a week, for pennies an hour.

That is what is happening in your city, Chief Slaughter.

You might want to look into it.



It’s Super Sunday, and Scientology is snapping photos with athletes famed and not so famed

[Marshall Faulk with the cast of Fox and Friends – Steve Doocey, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade]

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Sunday feature, with Rod Keller keeping an eye on Scientology’s sneaky front groups…

As reported on this site on Friday, NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk promoted the Scientology front group Foundation for a Drug Free World on the TV show Fox & Friends. No mention of Scientology was made. But Faulk is not the only sports figure to be approached by Scientology this week, as volunteers have been seeking celebrity endorsements in the events leading up to today’s Super Bowl in Atlanta.


[Eric Dickerson, Michael DeLeon]

The events surrounding the game are a magnet for sports celebrities. This week Scientology set up shop at some of them and Scientologist Michael DeLeon took a photo at the Truth About Drugs booth with Eric Dickerson. He is one of the top ten running backs of all time having led the league in rushing four times, voted to the Pro Bowl six times, and holds the single season rushing title of 2,105 yards in 1984.


[Dikembe Mutombo]

DeLeon also grabbed a photo with retired basketball player Dikembe Mutombo, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Mutombo’s charity work is extensive. He built a hospital in his native country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he is working the Georgetown University to provide care for visually impaired children in Washington, DC, he is a spokesman for the international relief agency CARE, and is a director of the Special Olympics.


[Tim Sabatino, Kyle Turley]

[Noah Burroughs]

[Nick Ferguson]

Also caught by Scientology’s cameras with Scientologist Tim Sabatino were less well known athletes Kyle Turley, Noah Burroughs, and Nick Ferguson. An offensive tackle for the Rams, Turley retired from the NFL in 2007. Burroughs is an aspiring actor and attended the training camps of the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, but never made an NFL roster. Ferguson played with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, retiring in 2010.


[Meghan Fialkoff, Joshua Benk, Darren Tessitore, Angela Marion and Kolaleh Tabibzadeh receive awards for volunteering for the Foundation for a Drug Free World in 2017]

The Super Bowl campaign is being led by Atlanta-area dentist Joshua Benk, and his office in downtown is being used as the headquarters for literature distribution. Last week’s call for “hundreds” of volunteers to distribute literature is falling short so far. This week there have been less than 10 each day, but Scientology is taking official photos for PR purposes on Saturday. We think they will boost the crowd size for that. The goal of 500,000 pieces distributed appears out of reach.


[Joshua Benk with Terl and singer Joey Fatone at the relaunch of the Hubbard book Battlefield Earth in 2016]

Scientology has been fascinated by celebrity for many years. In 1955 L. Ron Hubbard authorized Project Celebrity to recruit the Hollywood elite. Today just a brush with celebrity is good enough, allowing them to claim support and endorsement. In reality these photos are not endorsements, just casual encounters at an event where fans can meet the stars of the past. These athletes would be welcomed as members of Scientology, but the the main purpose is to recruit “allies” who can be used to deflect criticism in the face of prosecution or public inquiry. Other than Faulk, we don’t expect to see any of these athletes work with Scientology’s Foundation for a Drug Free World in the future.


Also part of the campaign is the traditional Super Bowl ad for Scientology. We haven’t seen it yet, but the Inglewood ideal org is hosting a party where the ad will be shown to publics. Best guess is that they will promote the Scientology Network.

— Rod Keller


Start making your plans!


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

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

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!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] What L. Ron Hubbard said about religion — before Scientology became a ‘church’
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini books the Bill Maher show, gets swung at by Giovanni Ribisi
[THREE years ago] Ray Jeffrey fends off Scientology’s attempt to get him in hot water with the California Bar
[FOUR years ago] When Richard Nixon ordered the Secret Service to investigate Scientology
[FIVE years ago] Monique Rathbun tries to slap down Scientology’s ‘anti-SLAPP’ motion in court today
[SIX years ago] Super Sunday Funnies: Live-Blogging Scientology’s Super Bowl Ad!
[SEVEN years ago] Debbie Cook denied: Scientology’s restraining order remains in place until Thursday hearing


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,349 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,480 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,982 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,462 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 525 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 413 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,720 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,588 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,362 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,136 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,482 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,048 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,968 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,135 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,716 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,976 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,016 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,728 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,254 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,343 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,483 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,803 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,659 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,778 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,134 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,436 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,542 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,945 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,816 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,399 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,894 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,148 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,257 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 3, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email