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How Scientology can make a tragedy worse, and then even worse again

[Ginger before the shooting, left, with her friend Penny Thomas]

Ginger Sugerman is preparing for her sixth surgery to repair damage to her face and needs much more dental work. One of her vocal cords has been paralyzed. But despite that, we had a phone conversation with her a few days ago.

We were very supportive of Ginger four years ago after her husband Arnie Lerma shot her in the face and then turned the gun on himself, ending his life on March 17, 2018. Not only was she dealing with the trauma that she had almost been killed, but the damage to her face was enormous. She has been struggling to recover from that ever since.

She also turned against our support for a while as she attempted to reunite with her children, who are still Scientologists. In order to do that, she tells us, she assumed that she would need to “strike an effective blow” against Scientology’s critics. As a result, she hoped that Scientology would take her back in and give her access to her kids.

That didn’t happen. After spending some time trying to do damage to Lerma’s formidable web presence, the legacy of his years of important work exposing Scientology, it hadn’t resulted in any contact from Scientology or her children.

Ginger now realizes that she made a huge mistake.


“I’d like to say I’m sorry and ask forgiveness of the ex-Scientology community for my actions while I was trying to return to Scientology. After I got shot I needed my children more than ever. And I wanted the Fair Gaming to stop,” she tells us. “One of my children said ‘look what happened after you left Scientology,’ and said I had to make it right with the Church or they couldn’t talk to me anymore. So out of desperation I posted a statement that I was going back in. And I began delivering ‘effective blows’ to others that I knew Scientology would like because it’s what they do to others. I’m deeply ashamed and regret my actions.”

It’s been more than ten years since she’s seen her children, and that makes the recovery even more difficult, she says. “I found out about a week ago that one of my daughters got married.”

Ginger asked that we post her apology. We explained to her that when she announced her decision to go back into the church and lashed out at some who had been her friends in order to curry favor with Scientology, we had no choice but to cut off all contact with her. Recently, however, we began talking to her again.

We know she’s still going through a very hard time with her facial reconstruction, and the loss of her children through Scientology’s toxic policy of disconnection is an even deeper cut. We wanted you, our readers, to know that she is now seeking forgiveness.

We are hoping she experiences some peace after getting through her next surgery.


Danny Masterson and Scientology in The Daily Beast

Hey there campers, we were asked to write a piece about our experiences this week in Los Angeles covering the Danny Masterson preliminary hearing for The Daily Beast, and they let us let loose about how much Scientology was a part of it and how Tom Mesereau sent us a valentine on Thursday.

The story is currently behind a paywall, but you might want to consider becoming a member over there. Your proprietor has been a busy bee lately and we have a couple more pieces coming out there in coming weeks that we think you’ll enjoy.




Bonus items from our tipsters

Dedicate your life to Scientology and get this nifty pin!



Source Code

“There are lines of force in a galaxy. And these cookies had actually found how to detach matter along a line of force. And so they’d set a Magellanic Cloud loose along one of these lines of force and it would swing out of balance and move on out and engulf a system, and then swinging out further would engulf another system, and would spend an awful long time hanging around the system as it went by, you see? And frankly, these clouds would get to systems which they didn’t come near for maybe thousands and thousands of years. They didn’t direct these clouds intimately, they just set them loose and they would drift out through space. And these wise professors — I’ve never trusted a professor since — would sit around stroking their diplomas saying, ‘Well, this is the natural consequences of the disintegration of a galaxy. A certain period in the life of a galaxy, the Magellanic radioactive masses at the interior of the hub begin to disperse themselves out toward the rim. And this is known as the Keplin-Spreplin law and the Booplum-Booplin law, and the calculations are M to the gup-gup squared or the rippety-rip-bop to the tenth power.’” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 23, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Psychology and psychiatry have been traced as the direct authors of Fascism and today propound the Fascist message of violence and death across the world. This tangled web is being laid out like a carpet from documents being unearthed from the Nuremberg trials of war criminals and other sources. We always knew they were bad. We did not know Psychologists and Psychiatrists were the men behind Hitler and the gas chambers. By documents unearthed there is no difference whatever between psychiatric doctrine now being voiced in the East and West and Nazi doctrines so abhorred by all the world. ‘Racial Purity,’ ‘eradicated minorities,’ ‘genes,’ the lot. So it all begins to fit into a pattern. We had to be fought, for the appearance of real mental tech on the planet spelled the end of Fascist usage of false mental tech to politically dominate the world. Until we came along they were winning very nicely. So that’s one reason it’s so important to establish Scientology in Europe and England. And we’re making it.” — The Commodore, May 23, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“There was a guy who said he was audited and found out he was Jesus Christ. I was new in Scientology and we are not supposed to evaluate or invalidate, but he was telling me that the marks of the crucifixion were on his hands. And then he flashes and says, ‘You were one of the criminals on the cross, and the other criminal was LRH and on those crosses we decided to salvage this planet.’ Well I couldn’t get that out of my head and I was afraid to report him because he was in data division and I had no idea what would happen if I did report him. So I took the chance in session to go back and and look, and I stepped in both criminals and knew I had nothing to do with them. But then I went into Christ’s body and it felt like some huge piece of concrete was slamming up against me — not me a body but me a spirit, and that is a lot different feeling. So my cognition was they were trying to stop Christ from finishing what he wanted to do, some kind of spiritual awaking or something. And this UFO was cloaked in gold and I saw they were radiating something out to the crowds, which at first made me think that Christ was sending some kind of light, spiritual awareness of some kind. But no, that UFO was implanting the area. So I yelled, it was a trick.”


Past is Prologue

2000: The Abbey Oaks News from Oakville, Ontario, Canada published a story about Scientology critic Gregg Hagglund. “Two police cruisers parked on Munn’s Avenue near Sixth Line on Saturday, May 13, to investigate a complaint by a homeowner. Fifteen-year River Oaks resident Gregg Hagglund called about two picketers in front of his home around 2 p.m. The two women held placards reading ‘Do you know your neighbor spreads hate propaganda?’ Hagglund says the picketers visit his home on a regular basis and that they are from the Church of Scientology. Hagglund says the picketing by the two CSI parishioners is just part of a ‘protracted campaign of harassment by CSI’ because he and several others have been picketing the church once a month since May of 1997.”


Random Howdy

“I love churches, cathedrals, mosques and I’ve visited more than few of them. I just don’t like what’s being taught in a lot of them.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Held to answer for trial, next arraignment set for June 7.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 18.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration. June 7: Status conference.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.


THE DANNY MASTERSON PRELIM: Our reports from Los Angeles

Our exhaustive reports from each day of testimony that led to Danny Masterson being bound over for trial to face charges that he raped three women, including dramatic references to Scientology, May 18-21, 2021 in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo: [Day 1: Jane Doe 1] [Day 2: Jane Doe 1 & Christina B.] [Day 3: Christina B. & Jane Doe 2] [Day 4: Arguments and the ruling] [Post-ruling: The Scientology highlights]


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] AUDIO: Scientology recruiter says wrecked families small price for salvaged planet
[TWO years ago] Scientology tries stealthy opening of new drug rehab in Canada and gets stuffed
[THREE years ago] Scientology asks court to freeze Laura D’s forced-abortion case for a long-shot appeal
[FOUR years ago] When a Scientology ‘body-router’ turns out to be the father you haven’t seen in 7 years
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s newest attack on Ron Miscavige: Could his son David be any whinier?
[SIX years ago] Jon Atack: Stop making excuses for L. Ron Hubbard and the Snow White Program!
[SEVEN years ago] Richard Teague speaks out after his horrific ordeal at a Scientology rehab center
[EIGHT years ago] A Womb With a View: More Dianetics Just-So Stories


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,309 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,814 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,334 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,354 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,245 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,552 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,420 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,194 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,524 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,998 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,314 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,880 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,799 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,967 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,548 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,809 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,847 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,560 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,085 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 440 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,615 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,166 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,315 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,635 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,490 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,609 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,965 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,268 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,374 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,776 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,648 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,231 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,726 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,980 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,089 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 23, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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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