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English councillors squirm over question about Scientology abuses

Yesterday, Alexander “Apostate Alex” Barnes-Ross attended (virtually) a meeting of the East Grinstead Town Council, the city where Scientology maintains its UK Headquarters at Saint Hill. Alex spoke up during the period for public questions, and then sent us this account of how it all went down…

Scientology’s UK OSA head Graeme Wilson was flanked on all sides by SPs. He attended the council meeting via Zoom along with myself and two others who were at the IAS protest – and we were the only members of the public who were present for the entire meeting. He did not turn his camera on, and stayed silent during the ‘public comments/questions’ portion of the meeting.

The meeting was hosted by Mayor Frazer Visser, who is currently under fire for attending a number of Scientology events at Saint Hill and has yet to respond to the open letter I sent him asking why he chooses to support the group.

The first item on the agenda was public questions and I was first up: Here’s what I asked:


“I was locked in a room as a teenager by the Church of Scientology, and I’m aware of dozens of other people who have experienced abuse at their Saint Hill headquarters. What are the Council doing to protect the public, and especially children, from abuse and how do Councillors justify attending events hosted by Scientology in light of these allegations?”

Mayor Visser seemed flustered. The Council Leader, Helen Farren, held her hand to her forehead, clearly uncomfortable. Others looked down at their papers, clearly hoping to avoid making awkward eye contact with others. A handful of Councillors, notably the more recently elected, seemed intrigued and engaged, leaning forwards and focusing intently on the Mayor, eagerly awaiting his response.

“Thank you very much for your questions and thank you for coming on… Um….

Really in public question time we really only accept one question… um… there were two very, very different quite in-depth questions there… which one would you really like us to focus on there?”

I responded “Let’s go with the first one then… what are the council doing to protect children from abuse…” Cllr Visser shuffles in his chair and adjusts his Mayoral chain, visibly uncomfortable “…at Saint Hill in light of these allegations.”

He paused, shuffled his papers and fumbled his words “I think that’s quite a complex question to answer without any pre-warning to that question… as any allegations towards that would need to be legally referenced for us to make a response to.. Town Clerk, would you like to….”

A poor response from Mr. Visser, as he is clearly very aware of the pressure he is under and the questions I would most likely to ask. He had plenty of pre-warning, and was clearly trying to avoid giving an answer that could lead him into hot water. I find it particularly amusing he deflected to the Town Clerk for an answer — clearly an excellent demonstration of his great leadership skills.

The Town Clerk responded by diverting responsibility to another government department. “We are not the public authority that deals with the protection of adults or children… obviously that comes under the County Council. However, if the Town Council were aware and had concerns of that nature, then obviously the Town Council would report those as appropriate to the appropriate authority… I don’t know there’s much else I could really say, Chair,” she said, shaking her head and raising her hands in surrender.

The Mayor, looking directly ahead and focusing his eyes on the table in front of him, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with his fellow Councillors responded:

“I think you’re right.. the town council isn’t the right authority for that, but if you do have any questions or concerns then you can raise them through the official channels, the Clerk and then we can take that up with West Sussex, who can take that up on your behalf if you wanted to.”

My question then is why haven’t they already done that, considering the Town Council is well aware of the many stories of abuse at Saint Hill, including my own, when I shared my ‘Behind Closed Doors’ video series with them in November?

Austen, one of the protestors who also attended the Council meeting also raised a question, asking about the integrity of public office in light of Scientology’s close relationship with the Mayor and the District Council’s response to Saint Hill’s Premises Licence breach ahead of the IAS event.

The Mayor again deflected the question, claiming the Council already have a “robust system in place” to protect local government from undue influence.

One of the main topics on the agenda was the Council’s Code of Conduct and policy on accepting gifts and hospitality. It was discussed at length and an adjustment was proposed to the current policy, which only demonstrated the Council’s discord on their own Code of Conduct.


The debate was over how and when Councillors should report gifts and hospitality received — and the proposal was to lower the value at which declarations must be made from £50 to £25. There was a lot of confusion in the room over the official policy currently in place and what is considered ‘best practice’.

It was rather amusing that this item was on the agenda as a result of my recent FOI requests, articles on Scientology Business and Code of Conduct complaint regarding the Mayor’s association with Saint Hill.

After the meeting, I spoke to Austen who summed the meeting up perfectly:

“It became apparent very quickly that this meeting would be an exercise in describing the fall-out of the complaint against Cllr Visser, in relation to the Church of Scientology, without actually ever saying the word ‘Scientology’ or mentioning the events at Saint Hill. The Mayor gave generic responses to both mine and Alex’s questions, stating that there are transparent processes and procedures in place regarding safeguarding children against abuse and the recording of gifts/hospitality. However, the latter stages of the meeting revealed the grey areas and misunderstanding of the Councillor’s code of conduct re: gifts and hospitality. The motion discussed essentially covers the council’s back regarding the recording of gifts, which seemingly only ever come from one organisation anyway, the Church of Scientology.”

The full meeting was recorded and will be available on my YouTube Channel, and in several days it will likely also be uploaded to East Grinstead Town Council’s Channel.

— Alexander Barnes-Ross


Technology Cocktail

“My job is to give you the materials to make Releases and the skill to make Clear. I have done and will do everything I can to help anyone attain these hitherto unreachable heights of life and ability. The bridge is not only in, it is functioning every hour right now. Book early. The traffic is heavy already. And auditors are the scarcest and most valued beings on this planet.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1965



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

“This FBI man wanted his fortune told. So I waxed up my mustaches and readjusted the bath towel, said, ‘I see you working on a case.’ A very intelligent remark to an FBI man. Said, a case which is very, very confidential. Case number 132678.’ I said, ‘The man you want isn’t there.’ I said, ‘That’s all. Next.’ This guy goes off, and he starts figuring this out. And you could see this, you know; trying to clear this up. How did I know the number of a confidential case? Because it was the right number. Naturally it was the right number; he had the case card right in front of his face in a facsimile, and all you did was read the numbers in the upper left-hand corner.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 9, 1957



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Orgs should be warned. The Le Moate affair was rough on Paris and DK only because they weren”t fully warned she was a psychotic. Although why they reached for it is a bit of a mystery. There’s an old principle involved — experiential track. I have nothing against these people. Orgs are in the pc business, not Flag. We are in the management and OT business. Handling purely pcs here in these high velocity areas of top command introduces the flow at the wrong point. The purely pc flow enters at lower org levels. It is our job to put orgs there that can handle such cases. Sooner or later orgs will have to acquire and start running an institutional annex. It is too hard on them handling psychotics without these facilities. A psychotic is in a Condition of Treason on the first dynamic and extends it to the third and fourth with covert destruction. This isn’t because anyone else declared the condition. It just happens to be a fact. Being in treason on the first dynamic doesn’t always mean covert destruction on the other dynamics. Unhappy people, unhappy subject.” — The Commodore, January 9, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Hubbard mentioned Pain-Drug-Hypnosis, the Pilot mentioned Sex-Drug-Hypnosis, could we now be in the era of the now-we-live-inside-an-antenna-farm-based EDH where the EMF fields are being broadcast for the specific purpose of keying in specific phenomena in the body and/or the thetan’s vias? I believe I once read a quote of Captain Bill Robertson mentioning this phenomenon somewhere in the Ron’s Org material but I haven’t been able to find the reference. Its well known that a real, verified security clearance is required of any and all employees allowed to enter those fenced ground facilities at the base of the cell towers.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin sent a number of emails this week to a broad cross-section of a.r.s participants, and some who only participate on the IRC channel #scientology. Some of the recipients reside in Norway and the Netherlands, making her quote from a U.S. court somewhat irrelevant. Andreas Heldal-Lund, from Norway, wrote: “I’ve tried my best to make it clear that neither American laws, judges or lawyers have any meaning here. Why is it so hard to get their Norwegian lawyers to contact my lawyer and present what they got according to Norwegian laws? Why sending this to me when I’ve told them to go through my lawyer? I would have to call USA to verify that any e-mail is true, since it is so easy to fake one. Therefore I don’t give such mails any notice, make some Norwegian lawyers do it the correct way or get yourself a new client. You, Helena K. Kobrin, is hereby notified about this.”


Random Howdy


“I’ve never ever really been worried about a Scientology Jonestown. There’s no apocalyptic scripture and it’s too much about the money, and the participants are way too yuppie white bread for something like that.”


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. Sentenced to 30 years to life 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. Next pretrial hearing January 29, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, motion to strike/anti-SLAPP motions by Scientology to be heard January 9, 2024.
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: Discovery phase.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration.
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] David Miscavige says 4 new Scientology ‘Ideal Orgs’ are coming soon — but where?
[TWO years ago] Is Scientology clown prince Grant Cardone slagging on super-richie Bob Duggan now?
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s tough marketing sell, from the man who sold Dianetics to the masses
[FOUR years ago] MASTERSON: Scientology wants Bobette Riales dismissed, others forced into arbitration
[FIVE years ago] Scientology slimes ‘Aftermath’ guest with its favorite tactic: The P.O.W. video
[SIX years ago] ‘It was my job to get Mike Rinder’s trash’ — A former Scientology spy begins to spill her guts
[SEVEN years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s writing about women that Scientology DOES want you to see!
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Archetypical newshound’ Paulette Cooper described in ‘thrilling account’ — Kirkus
[NINE years ago] Full Forrest Ackerman interview from 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ film released for first time
[TEN years ago] Jeff Hawkins: How Scientology’s ‘Third Party Law’ explains anything they want it to
[ELEVEN years ago] Excerpts of Lawrence Wright’s Book on Scientology are Predictably Awesome


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 3,269 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,784 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,334 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,324 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,205 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,509 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,380 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,932 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,274 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,840 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,759 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,927 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,508 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,769 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,805 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,521 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,085 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,400 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,575 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,126 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,257 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,595 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,450 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,569 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,925 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,228 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,334 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,732 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,608 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,173 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,686 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,940 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,049 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 9, 2024 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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