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Scientology’s obsession with kids and sex? Nick Lister has the receipts.

[Nick Lister]

Yesterday, we were surprised to see Nick Lister show up in the comments section. And then, when we saw what he posted, we really did a double take.

For those newer readers who might not be familiar with Nick, he was an important figure in Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear even though he didn’t actually appear in the film. His mother Sara does have a crucial role in the movie, telling her story about how her son Nick had grown up a model Scientologist but then had run afoul of the organization.

While Nick was drifting away from the church, he befriended Mike Rinder, and it got him declared a “suppressive person” by the church, essentially excommunicating him. Sara wanted to stick by her son, but it meant losing contact with her daughter, who was still a hardcore church member. In the film’s climactic moment, Sara describes what it was like seeing her daughter for the last time as Scientology’s “disconnection” policy ripped apart another family.

We haven’t heard from Nick in a while, and we told him that it stunned us what he posted yesterday, a photo of what appeared to be a pretty substantial set of his confidential Scientology folders…



This was the comment Nick left with the image:

So Scientology has minors at very young ages sign priest-penitent privilege covenants so that the Church can record dossiers on children with all the lascivious details from their confessionals and auditing sessions. Literally hundreds of adults have access to these folders and within the pages of confessionals and auditing records, there are dozens of signatures from adults who pore over the material. There are multiple sets of these folders and they’ve all got barcodes connected to them for tracking. These are about half the folders the Church kept on me while I was a minor in their organization.

We called him up and asked, are these folders that he has in his possession now? Yes, he told us. But how did someone so notoriously declared an SP get his hands on his own folders?

“This happened about nine years ago,” he told us. After he had initially been declared, his mother Sara and his then stepfather Sheldon Goldberg tried to get the declare reversed, telling the church that Sheldon would audit Nick personally to get him back in the right frame of mind.

“They agreed, and Kathy True sent them my folders,” he says, referring to a pretty notorious official in Scientology’s secret police, the Office of Special Affairs.

But then a few years later, Sara and Sheldon also ended up leaving the church. And they didn’t give back Nick’s folders.

“I was happy for it. And then I never really worried about the church getting them back from me,” he says.

So, what’s in them, we asked. And that’s when Nick said something that almost made us fall out of our chair.

Many of the files, he says, record sessions he was put through at only 13 and 14 years old, and, like other Scientology kids that age, he was put through intense and lengthy interrogations about his sexual thoughts and masturbation habits, material that many adult church officials then examined.

Let’s make sure that’s clear: A thing that calls itself a church puts children through intense interrogations about their sexual proclivities, and then stores records of them in voluminous files for many other church officials to go over in detail.

In particular, Nick says he was questioned by Serge Gil, who put him through some of the most detailed, awful hours of questioning about sexuality.

“I remember the session with Serge in technicolor,” Nick says. “I was 13 or 14. I was flush red and embarrassed to be alive.”

He says Serge was in his early 20s at the time. And Serge has told us that he had been given the job of that kind of questioning since he was only 14 or 15 himself.

We told Nick this was huge. In January 2017, we wrote about Serge’s allegations that he was valued by Scientology as a teenager who was tasked with asking older men about their masturbation habits in official Scientology interrogations.

And here, in Nick Lister’s files, is documentary evidence that Serge was also asked to question minors about their sex habits.

“I want to emphasize that I never held nor now hold an ounce of ill will towards Serge for that session,” Nick tells us. “He’s a genuinely good man who has always sought to speak the truth and protect those he loves. You’ll find very few from the Scientology experience who were as appreciated and respected as him. I can’t imagine having had to be him and do what he was made to do.”

The media has already reported that the Clearwater Police Department is looking into Serge’s allegations. But if the Brian Kent legal team is interested in Serge as a plaintiff for one of its lawsuits, Nick Lister’s files might be crucial evidence to back up what Serge has been saying publicly about Scientology’s sick obsession with kids and sex.

“They record this stuff and dozens of adults pore over it, scrutinizing the lurid details they get out of children,” Nick says. “It’s hard being a human being in Scientology. It’s doubly hard being a child. It’s easy to take advantage of kids, especially in such a sophisticated cult.”

We asked him what it was like, years later, for him to look through those files. It was less than two years ago, in fact, that he could finally bring himself to give them a look.

“It was dissociating. All of this stuff is hard to look at. It was a totally different world,” he says. “I understand why people might exorcise intergalactic body thetans, or other funky avenues of spiritual enlightenment. But keeping these records on the sexual exploits of children? For hundreds of adults to go through? That’s what I can’t understand.”


The Scientology warrior stirs

Speaking of Serge Gil, he’s made some pretty interesting allegations recently on Facebook about his experiences, some of which we quoted here a few days ago. Among his allegations, Serge says that one of the Scientology officials training him to quiz people about their sex habits was Marty Rathbun, an allegation Serge apparently repeats in Monday night’s Scientology and the Aftermath series finale.

This in turn has stirred Rathbun to make a new post at his long moribund website, where he denies knowing Serge, which, we can confirm, he also said to us a few years ago before he stopped being David Miscavige’s most visible critic and became Scientology’s go-to attack dog.

If Serge does file a lawsuit with the Brian Kent team, it might be fun to see Rathbun brought in for a deposition to repeat his claims, and maybe, while he’s under oath, get asked about what motivated him to go from Scientology’s biggest critic to David Miscavige’s most visible lapdog.


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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

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] Why Colombia’s military was fertile territory for Scientology — and one general’s stunning role
[TWO years ago] Scientology shows no sign of slowing down its use of religious visas for foreign labor
[THREE years ago] Maybe the worst thing about Scientology: It turns you into L. Ron Hubbard
[FOUR years ago] Chill EB joins the Sea Org — well, long enough to wish a happy birthday!
[FIVE years ago] Jon Atack: How Scientology’s methods of manipulation stay with you after you leave
[SIX years ago] PR Director of Scientology’s Las Vegas Celebrity Center Arrested in Plot to Assassinate a Cop
[SEVEN years ago] (2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, Nos. 17-20
[EIGHT years ago] Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology: ‘The Print Reviews Have Been Really Positive’


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,547 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,676 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,180 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,700 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 720 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 611 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,918 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,786 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,560 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,334 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,680 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,246 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,165 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,333 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,914 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,175 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,214 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,926 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,452 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 978 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,541 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,681 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,001 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,857 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,976 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,331 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,634 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,740 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,142 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,014 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,597 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,092 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,346 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,455 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 23, 2019 at 07:00

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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


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