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With a trial looming, here’s what it’s like to go up against Scientology’s code of silence

[Mirriam Francis in her episode of Scientology and the Aftermath]

In 2017, Mirriam Francis appeared in the premiere episode of the second season of Leah Remini’s A&E series, ‘Scientology and the Aftermath.’ She also helped us out with a couple of pieces here at the Bunker, but it has been a few years since we heard from her. Then, this week, she reached out with this terrific piece of writing, telling us she wants people to understand a little of what the victims in the Danny Masterson case must be going through, based on Mirriam’s own experiences trying to get law enforcement to take seriously abuse in the Church of Scientology. We are grateful that she has arrived to help us set up next week’s trial.

I was twenty-six years old, with a successful career and had purchased my first home three years prior. I had worked hard and achieved a qualification in human resources management, the area of business which I was most passionate about. I took regular vacations, travelling internationally every year.

It was easy to see how far I had come, nearly ten years since arriving in Australia with no more education than that of a fourth-grade child. Clutching a suitcase and the will to survive, I had stepped out into a world that I knew little about.

I had defied the odds, and I suppose I should have been happy. But I could not shake the cloud that hung around my head. It loomed heavy, like a storm before rainfall. There is something about trauma, how it clings to the body. I had stuffed it down for so long, until it filled all the corners of me. I realised that I needed help.

I contacted a local organization, which offered counselling for sexual assault. I scheduled my first appointment, loaded with trepidation. Had I just jeopardized my spiritual freedom for the rest of eternity?


I had been taught as a young child that psychologists were evil. I was no longer an active Scientologist, but I had yet to discount it completely. I felt anxious, but it was worth the risk to lift the darkness that I had been unable to escape.

Renee greeted me in the reception lounge. Her hair hung around her face in loose, springy curls and her attire was relaxed, with a pair of jeans and a blouse. She led me to what would be our room for the next forty minutes. Two spongy armchairs sat facing each other. There were items nearby such as a bookshelf and a lamp which cast a soft, warm glow. The window had a view to a small garden courtyard. I swallowed and sat down. I rubbed my sweaty palms across the top of my work slacks.

Renee said that this session was for us to get to know each other. I gave her a brief overview of my childhood: The period during which the sexual assaults by my father occurred and the circumstances of growing up in the Church of Scientology. I was matter-of-fact, bullet-pointing my trauma like a PowerPoint presentation. And then our time was up. I stood, smiled stiffly, scheduled the next session, and then left the counselling center.

On my way home, I decided to stop at a supermarket to buy some ingredients for dinner. I parked my car and reached for the door handle, but I didn’t budge from my seat. Instead, I dropped my hand and stared blankly out the front window for a while. I felt as though I were frozen. And then the tears came like a flood. I leant against the steering wheel and sobbed uncontrollably.

After about an hour, the grief relented, and I was able to drive home. The week leading up to the next session was uneasy, I felt as though I had sand under my skin.

After three months of counselling, I was seated in front of Renee in our usual room. “Have you considered filing a police report?” She asked. No one had ever asked me that before.

“Can I… do that?” I asked, nerves suddenly at my throat. It was expressly forbidden in Scientology. I half expected to be struck down where I sat, as though a Scientology executive might emerge from a wall and declare me a Suppressive Person right then and there.

“You sure can. That is, if you would like to?” She asked.

I sat silent for a moment, recalling when I was seventeen and had been forced to sign an affidavit. I had read the typed statement which had been thrust in front of me. It stated that I forgive my father for what he had done to me and that I would never pursue the Church of Scientology in a court of law because of it.

“Yes, I would. I would really like to do that.” I said.

Over the next month I drove to the police station a few times. First, I drove by the police station. Then I went around the block twice before driving on. Finally, I forced myself up the stairs. Each step, heavy as lead.

“I would like to make a police report.” I told the officer through the glass pane at the front desk.

“What’s it about?” He asked.

“Um, it’s about childhood sexual abuse.” I said.


“OK, take a seat. I’ll get someone from that department to see you.” He said, picking up a phone.

I sat down. The hard, plastic chair offered me no comfort. This was it, I thought. I’m not backing out now.

Moments later, an officer approached me and introduced herself as Danielle from SOCIT, the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team. She swiped her card at the secured door. We walked down a hall and into a room. I sat and told her my story as she made notes on a form. Then she told me that the next step was for me to write a detailed statement.

It took me many more months before I forced myself in front of my computer and typed it all out. I kept telling myself, I’ll write it tomorrow. But the next day would come and go. The thought of having to write every detail of what my father had done made my stomach curl. To remember how I would wake up in the night at the age of four years old to find my father attacking me. Not understanding what was happening and feeling so helpless that I wished that I would die. These are not easy memories.

Around this time the media announced that charges against Jan Eastgate, the President of the Scientology anti-psychiatry front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights, who had been arrested for perverting the course of justice, had been dropped.

A young woman named Carmen Rainer had spoken out about the sexual assaults which she had experienced by her stepfather as a child. She detailed that the sexual abuse had occurred from the age of seven to eleven years old and that at the age of eleven, she was coached by Jan Eastgate to deny the sexual abuse to authorities, to protect the Church of Scientology.

Though justice was thwarted at the time, her stepfather turned himself in to the police thirteen years later, following pressure on the Church after Carmen’s mother initiated legal proceedings.

Carmen’s story was familiar to me. The Church of Scientology is ruthless in the protection of itself and to that end there is no sacrifice too small. Even if it means causing senseless suffering to a child and protecting a sexual predator.

I was encouraged by Carmen’s bravery. I wasn’t alone. And I didn’t want to be scared silent anymore. On the 25th of May 2012, I e-mailed my written statement to the police.

— Mirriam Francis

We talked with Mirriam about what happened next for our podcast this week, coming Saturday.


Technology Cocktail


“In this lifetime the downfall of any thetan began with his loss of some heavy mass. The heaviness of the mass was the value of the mass. For instance, an auditor wishing to trace the feeling of degradation in a preclear would look for a time when the preclear lost or was removed from a massive object. The auditor then has the preclear mock up the object and change its quality better or worse until it ‘snaps in’ automatically on the preclear. Then the auditor has the preclear mock up enough of the object to create an avalanche. The preclear must then add more and more to the inflow, then add planets, stars and black stars until the preclear can comfortably throw several dense objects away in mock-up. A reverse (outflowing) avalanche is then begun and run.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1972


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4

— The Underground Bunker Podcast on YouTube

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley



Source Code

“Little boy is a kick. My little girl requires interest to be kind of generated by the vicinity. You know? It’s got to be heavy matter and that sort of thing. She’d get interested. Yes, she’s very alert and very interested. But this little boy, her brother, is practically an Operating Thetan. And he is a fabulous little character — not just because he’s my son, of course — but he’s a fabulous character in that he’s always exteriorized. You walk past his room — his door is closed, you see — in the middle of the night and he’ll do a flip-flop on his bunk, bang! and he’ll be right up there scratching on the door saying, ‘Hey, say hello,’ you know, that sort of thing. You open the door and say, ‘Hello, Quentin,’ and he’s real happy.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 6, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“FAN MAIL: Items which bring in nice comments and congratulations lately have been Expanded Lower Grades and the Data Series. Numerous pleased comments came in on Expanded Lower Grades with no adverse ones. The Data Series gets good comment and is well liked. It has run into only a couple of adverse where the Out-points restimed some out-points but by auditing them straight it came out great. Hymn of Asia is also very popular.” — The Commodore, October 6, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“So, you are STILL ‘thinking’? Hahaha. Still creating your mind? Hahaha. I just finished OT IX. Lafayette’s Tech is super-laser-fast!! AND I am not ‘thinking it’. I KNOW IT. How about that?”


Past is Prologue


1997: John Ritson and Roland Rashleigh-Berry reported on another picket of Scientology’s Poole, England location this week. “A highly successful picket took place this afternoon, Saturday 11 Oct against the Scientology cult in the South Coast town of Poole. Although it rained heavily up to the start of the picket, the rain stopped (Xenu be praised) when we reached the normal place in the middle of the High Street where the body-routers hang out, to find … no body-routers with clipboards asking people if they wanted to take part in a survey. A quick check down a side street revealed that their book shop, where the marks were taken for their ‘Personality Test’ leading to a series of expensive courses was closed down and had a ‘To Let’ sign. Further checking revealed that the Scientologists’ most productive site in the UK had been reduced to just one office over a restaurant, further down the High Street, away from most of the foot traffic. We had sufficient numbers including local supporters, to split our forces in two, with leafleting and the water-winged dog ‘Duke’ at the centre of the shopping area, and countering the few disheartened body-routers outside their remaining ‘org’. Having persuaded polite but uneasy members of the public to come across the road to complete the ‘survey’ it must be pretty galling to watch somebody give them Xemu leaflets and then see the intended victims take the opportunity to scoot off. But at least the hapless body-router could diagnose the problem and brilliantly identified his opponents as Suppressives, demanding to know what ‘rapes and murders’ they had committed.”


Random Howdy

“Man, my groovy shark vid got no votes, but my simple-minded off-the-cuff remark got top vote. You people are weird.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Jury selection scheduled to begin October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing scheduled November 17 to argue the arbitration motions.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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] Scientology’s evangelist is coming to town, and he wants to discuss your origin, thetan
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson’s attempt to get out of rape accusers’ lawsuit to be heard today
[THREE years ago] For you doubters, here’s proof of Scientology miracles that demonstrate the power of ‘OT’!
[FOUR years ago] In the Sea Org, under suspicion: ‘I accepted that I was, in Scientology terms, an ethics particle’
[FIVE years ago] This new image of David Miscavige makes years of Scientology Watching all worth it
[SIX years ago] Chris Shelton dives into Scientology culture with the Larisa Smith story, part two
[EIGHT years ago] A Bunker Exclusive: Jonny Jacobsen’s 2008 book introduction describing Scientology
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology’s Shiny New Freedom Magazine!
[TEN years ago] Another Narconon Lawsuit, Oregon Dentist to Fight Order, and More Scientology Links
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Raided, Smacked Down in Court, and Accused of Killing Trees


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 2,809 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,314 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,864 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,854 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,745 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,050 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,920 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,025 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,498 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,814 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,380 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,299 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,467 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,047 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,309 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,345 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,060 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,625 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 940 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,115 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,666 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,797 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,135 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,990 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,109 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,465 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,768 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,874 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,272 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,148 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,731 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,226 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,480 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,589 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 6, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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