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Mirriam Francis: Scientology’s system of abuse was exposed by the Danny Masterson trials

[Today’s very special guest post is by Mirriam Francis, who appeared in the second season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath as a young Scientologist whose abuse by her father was covered up by the church.]


One of the guiding principles in Scientology is “If it isn’t written, it isn’t true.” It is equally understood that if L. Ron Hubbard wrote something, it is therefore regarded as fact and must be adhered to exactly.

There is no such thing as child abuse or child sexual abuse in Scientology. It is not recognized because L. Ron Hubbard did not write about it as such. Instead, he wrote that any law which applies to adults also applies to children. He wrote that children are big beings in small bodies. In Scientology’s most important, foundational text, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, he wrote, “The seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing; she is reacting to an engram since at seven she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one. There must have been an earlier experience, possibly prenatal, which made men or kissing very bad.”


L. Ron Hubbard ridiculed the government, authorities, and the court system. He removed any mechanisms which would safeguard children and dismissed the laws which would shelter them. Under his command and by his words, children were — and continue to be — systematically groomed for his purpose.

Grooming is when someone builds a connection with a child or young person so that they can manipulate, exploit, and abuse them. While children are young and therefore vulnerable, it is the responsibility of the parent, guardian, or caregiver to provide a shield around them until they have grown and have developed this for themselves. This protective barrier is referred to by Australian psychologist Ursula Bensted as a “shark cage.” It is a system of bars, which could also be called rights, which create a barrier between oneself and a harm-intended person.

To create a strong shark cage, a person must understand their rights and recognize their own built-in alarm system, which if nurtured, will strengthen over time. A person’s alarm system relies on their brain-body communication to detect dangers in their environment. We recognize this alarm signal through physical sensation. What we perceive in our environment is felt in our body and translated to our brain so that it may release any necessary chemicals to help us to respond to a situation. A shark will bump against a bar in the cage, to test its resilience, and this will sound the alarm, allowing a person to recognize a predator and act accordingly.

The more in tune you are with what your body is telling you, the more present that you are in your own body — the better you will be at protecting yourself. Most children, if not affected by trauma, will naturally develop this defense system over time.

However, through L. Ron Hubbard’s teaching and practices you will learn many ways to override your own physical sensations and reactions (example: TRs) and disconnect from your body. “Going exterior” in Scientology is an exalted phenomena that is recommended and pursued. L. Ron Hubbard wants you to be “three feet back of your head.”

Bessel Van Der Kolk, psychiatrist, researcher and author of The Body Keeps The Score, talks about the damaging effect of trauma in the disconnection of a person from their body. He states that a prolonged disconnection from the body brings about the inability to detect what is safe or unsafe, which diminishes the capacity to self-regulate and that you will then have to rely on external regulation. This creates a dependency on other things, such as with addiction or compulsive compliance with the wishes of others. He said that the remedy for the disconnection brought by trauma, is to gently come back to your own body through increasing connection to your physical sensations.

In Scientology there are terms such as counter intention, other intention, stops, ridges. L. Ron Hubbard defines “ridge” as the point where two opposing energy flows have collided. In fact, it’s the person’s boundaries that have been impinged upon and to “ridge against something” is to object to it. This is something negative that must be processed out — removed from — a person, to disarm one’s intruder alert system and remove any objections to opposing forces. Remember, the seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing. It is an onslaught of proverbial Trojan Horses.

L. Ron Hubbard figured out how to induce trauma states in a person to disconnect them from their body, so that they would become reliant upon his words for their own regulation. He created a “technology” to break down the safety barriers that a person has, which are necessary for self-preservation. Both the training and processing sides of the Bridge are a regimen for this type of destruction. And he designed it so that Scientologists would continue to perpetrate this upon each other, long after his death.

To address past trauma and harm that we have experienced, in most cases we need to get to a place of safety first, after our most basic survival needs have been met. This is especially so for a child, where you may need to become an adult before you are capable of addressing what happened to you. A safe place is where you do not live in fear of consequences for telling the truth. There is no safe place for children in Scientology.


Since April 2023, the beginning of the second Danny Masterson trial, I have been involved with The Lighthouse Project, a podcast which was created by second generation survivors to bring insight to what it’s like for a child growing up in Scientology. It was important to us to be informative on the topics which would be raised through the Jane Does’ testimonies, to advocate on their behalf from our lived experiences, and to provide our own testimonies, which corroborated facts presented by the prosecution. Christi Gordon, Victoria Locke and I were joined along the way by other children of Scientology, including Amanda Rae, Danielle Ballou, Liz Gale, Serge Del Mar as well as Claire Headley, after the verdict was announced, to discuss the expert witness testimony that she had provided.

With the use of the Proprietor’s transcripts from the courtroom here at the Underground Bunker, we were able to follow what took place each day. Fortunately, in this second trial, with the allowance of more testimony about Scientology, the prosecution was able to present a clear representation of the victims’ experiences. We were able to learn in much greater detail the involvement of Scientology officials, the actions that were taken, and we gained further insight into the ordeal of seeking justice by Danny Masterson’s victims.

The Jane Does’ testimonies and our resulting recorded conversations quickly revealed just how systemic the abuse of victims in Scientology is. That these are not isolated incidents but are part and parcel to the Scientology experience and that they are based on its system of beliefs, which were created by L. Ron Hubbard. That’s especially important because though there was leeway granted to include information on the policies and practices that related to the Jane Does’ experiences, they were not allowed to speak on the beliefs of Scientology, which would have provided a deeper understanding.

In Scientology there is no concept of consent. In all the vast writings and lectures of L. Ron Hubbard there does not exist anything to address rape or sexual assault in correct terms. In the place of this vacuum, Scientologists defer to his teachings such as that a person is responsible for everything that happens to them and his theory of the overt-motivator sequence. This results in the requirement of victims to write up their overts (transgressions) and withholds (hidden transgressions) as well as tailored security checks (metered confessionals) of victims demanding that they find what they did to “pull it in,” even if they have to locate this in a previous lifetime. They reframe the victim’s experience and change their language, re-labelling them with innocuous terms, such as “out 2-D.”


The Jane Does’ testimonies in this trial highlighted the role of the Chaplain with regards to the systematic cover up of crimes. We referred to our own experiences of this, as well as other cases which have appeared in the media. Where there was conviction of the predator, the victim or parent of the victims had to first fight through the gaslighting and prevention tactics brought to bear within the cloister of the Chaplain’s office.

It is not only against firmly held beliefs and violation of policy, but also a high crime for any Scientologist to report another Scientologist to law enforcement. However, this does not mean that sexual assaults go unreported. Quite the opposite. Scientologists will dutifully report internally within the Church all manner of crimes, adhering to their stringent reporting policies and these are all managed internally, preventing any real consequences for the perpetrators.

Deputy DA Ariel Anson said in her closing statement, “Now, like all predators he sought out his prey. Most were members of the Church of Scientology, and that makes sense. In Scientology, rape isn’t rape. You caused this. And you are never allowed to go to law enforcement. What a better hunting ground.”

The cases that the public have heard are from individuals who persevered through the obstruction of Scientology first, where they attempted to minimise and control the narrative. And still the victims did not escape the harassment and involvement of this so-called church, which cannot help but inject themselves at every turn. Including issuing a statement after Danny Masterson was convicted of rape, crying religious injustice and continuing to claim him as one of their own. All of this, for the protection of Scientology and is damaging beyond measure to the victim.

Scientologists are taught to protect Scientology at all costs. But the Jane Does defied that, not because they desired to attack Scientology, but because it was essential to their own preservation and survival. It is harmful to be forced to deny what happened to you, no matter that you are told that it is “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics” to do so.

Jane Doe 1 was told to “let it go.” She was told that she was confused. She was made to find what she did wrong to pull this in. She was told that there would be consequences for her and not her rapist. But she continued to ask the question, what would it really mean for me if I accepted that? What would this mean for my daughter to live in a world where this had been made OK? To fight back meant that she would lose everything, including eventually her own mother. For each of these Jane Does it cost too much and yet they persevered. Because what happened is intolerable. Because justice is necessary.

As Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller said in his closing rebuttal argument: “They were raped, they were punished for it, and they were retaliated against. Scientology told them there’s no justice for them. You have the opportunity to show them that there is justice for them. It does exist. There were no consequences for Mr. Masterson from this internal church justice. You have the opportunity to show that there are consequences for his actions, they do exist.” He said of the victims that, “They came here for the opportunity for their voices to be heard.”

Mr. Mueller asked the jury to give these victims the justice that they are looking for, “That you find this defendant guilty of the charges of raping each of these victims. Find him guilty and give them their justice. There is only one verdict in this case, and it is guilty.”

And we have all been celebrating the guilty verdict ever since. The resulting justice for the Jane Does has provided a sense of recognition and a hope of justice, for all Scientology victims of sexual assault.

— Mirriam Francis


Technology Cocktail

“People are suddenly losing all manner of things they thought were illnesses and were calling arthritis and ulcers and what not. They weren’t sick. They were just suppressed.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1962




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 who says, ‘Well, all right, all right, so they’re fighting in M-ghanistan. I can’t do anything about it.’ You’ve suddenly — you’ve suddenly had him admit that he couldn’t, he couldn’t have the space of M-ghanistan. And now, this is the biggest trick that your real entheta boys use. They get people to go around admitting they can’t have any — can’t do anything about things.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 16, 1953


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Command Intention for the ship at this time is TO HAVE A FULLY OPERATIONAL SHIP, SMART COMPETENT CREW AND A POSH YACHT ATMOSPHERE AND APPEARANCE FOR SHIP AND CREW. Command Intention for the Flag Org at this time is TO COPE AND CONTINUE AT HIGH SPEED THOSE ACTIONS ALREADY IN PROGRESS AND PROVING SO WORTHWHILE IN Station Ships, AOs and orgs. Flag personnel, attention to the external affairs of the SO and improve those down stats.” — The Commodore October 16, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Something else is operating the matrix and it can all be re-arranged in a moment — so it wouldn’t matter then, what one did, would it? That is the intention of the Time implants — the most basic on the track and always the most insidious of modern-day psychological operations. To drive one into apathy and plant the seeds of defeat before even moving into implanted suggestions, which depend on this confusion to even take hold. I think Hubbard was one of those who made the greatest strides in seriously breaking that mystery down.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Dennis Erlich reports on the latest harassment from the cult. “I was just informed that overnight someone threw acid on my parent’s brand new car which was parked in front of Priscilla and Ed Coates’ house where I am staying as a guest. The paint job on the car (which has less than 3000 miles on it) has been ruined.”



Random Howdy

“The only sexual magick Crowley had came from an opium pipe or a syringe loaded with smack that let him keep it up all night. In street parlance it’s called ‘dope dick’.”


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] PODCAST: Auditing Mary Sue Hubbard while Scientology kept her on house arrest
[TWO years ago] When L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology followers put him on the spot about space opera
[THREE years ago] Danny Masterson ‘accidentally’ outs Jane Doe accuser after judge told him not to
[FOUR years ago] Tom Cruise at the IAS gala with his kids Connor and Isabella? We think it’s likely.
[FIVE years ago] Growing up in Scientology, and growing together outside of it: An appeal
[SIX years ago] Crashing a ‘Mace-Kingsley’ event in Pasadena to get some answers about Scientology and kids
[SEVEN years ago] Our story last week about Narconon deaths kicked up a fuss — and news of two more deaths
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology on trial in Belgium: An update from our man in Europe
[NINE years ago] The Garcias answer Scientology’s ‘International Justice Chief’ with an affidavit by Mike Rinder
[ELEVEN years ago] Rumors That Tom Cruise is Breaking with Scientology: “Bullshit With a Capital B”


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 3,184 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,699 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,249 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,239 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,120 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,424 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,295 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,400 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,847 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,189 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,755 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,674 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,841 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,423 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,684 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,720 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,436 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,000 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,315 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,490 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,041 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,172 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,510 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,365 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,484 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,840 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,143 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,249 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,647 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,523 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,088 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,601 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,855 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,964 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 16, 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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