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‘Ellen’ from the Scientology ‘Day Care from Hell’ story comes forward

Yesterday, we told you we had an update from our 2015 Scientology ‘Day Care from Hell’ story

This weekend Leah Remini and Yashar Ali published the first online photo of Julian Swartz, the notorious Scientology ethics enforcer who was partly responsible for keeping the day care scandal from becoming a news story at the time. So we republished our 2015 article, about how Swartz had convinced Scientology parents to report to police that their daughters had been molested by a 17-year-old boy at a Scientology day care, but also convinced them not to press charges.

The only mother who refused to go along with that plan was a woman we called “Ellen.” She did pursue charges, resulting in the boy getting probation, a far lesser penalty than if the other parents had joined in with her.

With Julian Swartz in the news again we checked in with Ellen this weekend. She told us she had some updates to the story, but she also said she’d come to a big decision.

It was about time that she identified herself and put her name on the day care story.


She is Trish Conley, a close friend of Leah Remini.

Trish is a former third-generation Scientologist. Her Melbourne maternal grandparents worked directly with L. Ron Hubbard at Saint Hill, and her parents, Jim and Kaye Conley, were “LRH Pers PRO,” Sea Org members who worked on burnishing L. Ron Hubbard’s image. They were and remain extremely dedicated Scientologists. Kaye’s sister Cherie, meanwhile, is the mother of Kate Ceberano.

That makes Trish first cousins with probably the most famous Scientologist in Australia, where Ceberano is a well known singer.

Trish herself joined the Sea Org at 9 years of age, and she says ever since then she had wanted one thing more than any other: To reunite her family, which Scientology had assigned to different areas. “Joining the Sea Org broke my family apart,” she says.

By eleven Trish was cleaning the rooms where David and Shelly Miscavige were living. It was also around that time that Trish’s mother Kaye “blew” — Scientology jargon for escaping — and was then assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force. The RPF was the Sea Org’s version of a prison detail, and Kaye was assigned to sleep in a parking garage on the south side of Fountain Avenue, across the street from Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters, which is an old hospital, the Cedars of Lebanon. Joining her in the parking garage was Trish, who also went into the RPF to stay near her mother.

Three years later, when she was 14, Trish was out of the Sea Org, and she became increasingly difficult for her parents to handle. She ended up at the notorious Mace-Kingsley ranch in Palmdale, California, where many former Scientologist children have reported hellish conditions and discipline. (The Palmdale facility was closed years ago.)

In her 20s, Trish rededicated herself to moving up Scientology’s “Bridge” of courses, and eventually reached Operating Thetan Level Four — OT 8 is the top course. Eventually, she started to become disillusioned. For example, she was unhappy about how she’d been treated during a 2005 visit to “Flag,” Scientology’s spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida.

And then about a year after that, she got the call she never expected to receive, from Julian Swartz, telling her to come down for a briefing about the day care where he had been taking her daughter a few years earlier.

Her sister Liz, speaking to us from Australia, says the moment is still as vivid for her as it is for Trish.

“It’s still enough to make my body shake. It’s so powerful. That moment of seeing Trish so broken, on the floor at her house. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her like that. She’s very strong and outgoing. To see her crumble like that, it was like nothing I’d ever seen.”

Liz explains that even today, she is filled with emotion thinking about it, and she thinks it’s because it brings up for her an incident she went through at 19 with a Scientology celebrity.

“It was date rape, essentially. And I got put into ethics for it and had to write up my overts. That’s why this whole thing with Danny Masterson and what these women are saying has meant so much to me. Because it absolutely does happen.”

Liz was watching her sister try to come to grips with what Julian Swartz was telling her, that incidents of child molestation at a Scientology day care would be made to go away by refusing to press charges.

For Trish, that bizarre incident was connected to so many other things happening for her at the time, pushing her away from Scientology. But the final push, she remembers, came from David Miscavige.


In 2007 Scientology leader David Miscavige announced that he had produced new versions of L. Ron Hubbard’s essential texts and lectures — the “Basics” — and required all members to buy copies at $3,000 per set. Trish remembers her father hunting her down on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles after the Basics were announced, insisting that she buy a set for herself, a set for her young daughter, a set for her then husband, and two more sets to donate to libraries. She refused, and she was embarrassed for her father.

Meanwhile, Trish’s parents were also becoming concerned because of the company she was keeping. Namely, ex-Scientologists.

Mike Rinder tells us he was close to Trish from many years before — it was Trish who found that Rinder’s then eight-year-old daughter Taryn had been seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver near Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters. Trish visited the girl in the hospital every day, and Rinder says he credits Trish with saving his daughter’s life. (After Rinder left Scientology in 2007, his former wife and his children, including Taryn, disconnected from him.)

Despite pressure from her parents, Trish refused to give up her friendships with Rinder or the others. In 2013, Trish’s parents flew from Australia to visit her in Los Angeles, and they spent more time arguing with her about being in contact with the wrong people than sightseeing. When Trish refused to break off contact with her friend Chrissie Weightman, another ex-Scientologist, her parents sent her formal messages announcing that they were cutting her out of their lives.

It was about a year after that when we talked to Trish for our story about the Day Care from Hell. Trish’s daughter was one of the girls affected, but less so than others. The 17-year-old boy admitted that he was about to take the 3-year-old girl’s diaper down when Trish arrived to take her daughter.

“I didn’t put my name on the Day-Care story because my daughter never knew about it. And she’s grown up to be pretty Internet savvy,” Trish said.

In the meantime, while she kept her name under wraps in regards to defying Julian Swartz and her attempt to get the 17-year-old boy prosecuted, Trish was still dealing with her parents and their involvement in Scientology.

Over the years, they had kept in touch, even though she was declared, in the hopes that they could somehow reunite the family. Last year, Trish even flew to Australia to see her parents, hoping to figure things out.

“When I flew to Australia in May 2022, it was on the down low. Kate wasn’t allowed to know,” Trish says. “My dad set me up in a room in his place. He was really excited. But if the phone rang and it was Kate, I would have to sit outside and be really quiet. They didn’t want Kate to know I was there.”

At one point, during the visit, her father began showing her boxes with old letters in them. They were from his mother, who was not a Scientologist.

“My dad showed me these letters from his mother in the 1980s. They said, ‘we’re really worried with what you’re doing with Trisha. You’ve run off to this weird cult and she’s not getting educated.’ And stapled to each letter was a response from him, ‘handling her originations’.”

Why, we asked, would her father be showing her those letters?

“They were to convince me, look, I’ve always loved you. Look at these letters I saved. But I read them and thought, what?”

She was stunned to see how much her father had defended the church against his parents’ attempts to find out what was really going on.


“After that I changed my flight and went home early. And after all these years, he was still saying that he wanted me to do my ‘A to E.’ If you handle it we can be a family, he said. And with no regard for the reality of it.”

For Scientologists who have been declare suppressive, applying to the International Justice Chief to accomplish a set of tasks, called “A to E,” is a sign of submission to the church’s authority, something that Trish is simply not willing to do.

When she got back home, her father called, and asked what he could do to change her mind. She said he needed to watch every episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath and the HBO documentary Going Clear.

“He did it. He would watch an episode and we’d talk about it. For months,” Trish says. “I thought I was going to get my dad out, and we were really going to put our family back together.”

But even after seeing all of Scientology’s controversies laid bare, he still insisted that Trish do her A to E to reunite the family.

He also, Trish says, went to the Advanced Org in a suburb of Sydney and confessed that he’d been communicating with his declared daughter for years.

“They were really pissed off,” she says. “They told him he had to fly Kate up to the AO and confess it to her. And he did. It’s bananas.”

Trish says she sent Leah a photo that Kate Ceberano took earlier this year, arm in arm with Cruise, and told her this was why her parents won’t leave. “It’s the Tom Cruise show,” she says.

“It’s the Kate thing, and that Kate is close to Tom Cruise, that my mother loves Kate, and they won’t leave for that reason. It’s too much for them to handle,” Trish says. “It doesn’t matter that their granddaughter was molested, or that they know the Ideal Org program is a scam, or about the abuse he went through, he still chooses that over his children. It’s messed up,” she says.

“But it’s OK. For the first time — I’m 50 years old — for the first time in my life I’m OK with it. I’ve finally accepted that they will never change. And it’s OK.”

She realizes it would be hard for her parents to turn their backs on what they’ve known for 45 years. “They’re not going to do it,” she says.

A few months ago, her father told her again that she needs to do her A to E.

“That was your answer? I can’t right now, and I hung up,” she says.

At that point, she and her sister Liz decided to write their parents a letter. In effect, they had decided to disconnect from their Scientologist parents.


“Now we’re free. And that has been incredibly liberating,” she says. “My sister and I feel great. Because we’ve tried everything, and family is not enough to get them to leave.”

They got no response to the letter.

But then, there was another twist.

Trish’s daughter could see that the situation was stressing out both Trish and her sister Liz. “My daughter and my sister were talking, and my sister told her, You know, your mom really fought hard to prosecute that molester in the Day Care. Our parents were not on her side, the church was not on her side. But your mom tried to bring justice.”

And my daughter said, what are you talking about?

“My sister had forgotten that I’d never told her about it. So then Liz told her the whole story. My daughter then Googled ‘Scientology and Day Care,’ and found your story. Then she came to me and said, Mom, are you ‘Ellen’?

“We just bawled our eyes out.”

Trish says her daughter was stunned that she’d never said anything about it, but she was proud of her mom for trying to do what she did.

“We’re all good now. We’ve cut my parents out. We want to put our names on things. Liz and I are speaking out now about what we’ve both been through. And we’re super tight with my daughter, who is an amazing person. She’s in her fourth year of college.”

“Before, Liz and I had never wanted to put our names on it because of Kate and our parents. Now, we just don’t care.”


Technology Cocktail

“The main danger of security checking is not probing a person’s past but failing to do so thoroughly.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1961




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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[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 [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— 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

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman



Source Code

“The fellow wants to get out of the woods and there are two trails. And one trail lies much deeper into the woods and the other trail goes out on to the plain. And all you have to do is put up a sign at the crossroads and point to that trail which goes deeper into the woods and say, ‘This way lies freedom,’ you see, and you’ve promptly trapped a lot of people.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 18, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“I was looking over Base Order No. 29 from 1967. There is no reason really it had to suffer such radical changes except that it was never checksheeted and packed for posts. The large amount of know-how in Flag Orders was never fully mimeo filed and related to posts by checksheet. This also solved a long standing mystery. The officer corps of some professional armies is terrible while their enlisted ranks up to non-comm are excellent. Germany lost 2 wars because of this. The US armed forces are remarkable examples of this. Suddenly dawn broke. The duties of everyone are well and totally written up and published right up to the top non-comm. Officers from low to high never had to learn any of this, even built up contempt for such knowledge and had no such plain texts for their own duties. I’ve seen it in commercial companies and elsewhere for a long time. Never could figure out why leadershp was so poor even for excellent troops or workers. Well, there it is. Hats, texts training in the lower echelon and almost none in the upper.” — The Commodore, September 18, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“If you do the bridge your not going to be told about secret weather control programs, about vaccines brain damaging people, about the secret space program, about secret depopulation programs (programs run to kill us), about underground bases being built by the new world order in case of a cataclysm (they have literally built underground towns with all this advanced tech) and they fly around in UFOs which they keep secret from us, i mean there is just so much going on that we are not told about in scientology or in mainstream life, but at least scientology makes us smarter so that then we can investigate and find out about all these things.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Developments in the Scientology vs. FACTNet case. From the Denver Post: “A US Supreme Court justice yesterday denied an appeal by the Church of Scientology to stay a district court order that it return computer materials to a man the church has accused of stealing church secrets, an attorney said. The stay was denied late yesterday by associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, according to Natalie Hanlon-Leh, an attorney for Lawrence Wollersheim of Boulder.



Random Howdy

“One of the few things I agree with the Scientologists on is that the whole Vistaril thing is weak. Vistaril, a/k/a hydroxyzine, is one theetie-wheetie drug. You need to take a whole bottle of this shit to even remotely get a buzz. Vistaril has never been considered a true psych drug. I know it is an antihistamine, anti itching agent. That’s how I first encountered it. The point is that us trying to say it’s a psych dug like Valium is absurd.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, first hearing set for Dec 4.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 at least through sentencing of Masterson on Sep 7. Next hearing set for Sept 26.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing Nov 6.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Bombshells in Danny Masterson case: Grand jury testimony, and evidence against Scientology
[TWO years ago] VIDEO: Scientology turns to rock ‘n’ roll to save its soul, and you’re invited!
[THREE years ago] Scientology celeb Danny Masterson to be arraigned today for raping three women
[FOUR years ago] Scientologists facing felonies try ‘sovereign citizen’ gambit in tense L. A. court hearing
[FIVE years ago] Giving Scientology TV a run for its money — it’s the premiere of the Bunker network!
[SIX years ago] Moss wins Emmy for portraying totalitarian cult victim and doesn’t care what you think about it
[SEVEN years ago] In the wake of raids, Scientology’s sneaky consulting front shrinks markedly in Russia
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology about to throw its Harlem party — and we need your eyes and ears!
[NINE years ago] RATHBUN SUIT: Scientology’s last swipe in its anti-SLAPP appeal before hearing next week
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s “Bridge:” Claire Headley Gets Us to CLEAR!


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 3,156 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,671 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,221 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,211 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,092 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,396 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,267 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,372 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,819 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,161 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,727 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,646 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,813 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,395 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,656 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,692 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,408 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,972 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,287 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,462 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,013 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,144 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,482 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,337 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,456 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,812 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,115 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,221 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,619 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,495 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,060 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,573 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,827 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,936 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 18, 2023 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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