Melissa Paris, Valeska's Sister, And Her Own Ordeal in Scientology's Cadet and Sea Orgs: Forced to Marry at 16

ValeskaMelissa.JPG
Valeska (left) and Melissa Paris, with Valeska's son Declan
In December of 1996, Melissa Paris was 16 years old, and had been married for a few months to a man she says she was forced to wed. An unpleasant match, the marriage ended when Melissa left him -- and Scientology's hardcore and controlling Sea Org -- two years later.

But that was in the future. In the months after her wedding, she was in a unique position, and she knew it. Her husband, Cyril Helnwein, who was himself a teenaged Sea Org member of about 18, was from a wealthy family. The son of an internationally famous artist (more on that later), Cyril had means. So, when they had returned, after the wedding, to grueling weeks of menial, unpaid labor that she had already endured for two years as an underaged Sea Org member at L. Ron Hubbard's legendary former home in England, Saint Hill Manor, she asked her rich young husband to grant her a wish.

Fly me to a ship. The Freewinds. For our honeymoon.

Melissa asked this, not really out of a romantic notion, but knowing it might be her only chance to see her sister, Valeska, who had just been put aboard the ship against her will.

And so, in December 1996, the Paris sisters were briefly reunited after not seeing or communicating with each other for two years.

It would be another 13 years before they saw each other again.

Last night, I spoke at length with Melissa Paris on the phone. She now lives in Houston with her 10-year-old daughter and a boyfriend she's been seeing for a couple of years. She works as a waitress and bartender, and in January, she's going back to school. On Christmas day she will turn 32. She owns her own home, and as she says, "Life is very good."

Over the last three days, her sister Valeska has become famous on three continents. Sunday night, Australia's ABC network, on its Lateline program, aired a story by Steve Cannane, who explained that in 1996, Valeska, then only 18, was taken -- against her will, she says -- to serve as a Sea Org staffer aboard the Freewinds, and would remain there, a virtual prisoner, for 12 years. We followed up Cannane's story with our own lengthy interview of Valeska, which filled in more about her family history, her time on the Freewinds, and how she finally managed to get off the ship and start a family with former Australian rugby star Chris Guider.

But Valeska urged me to talk to Melissa, telling me that her story alone was not a complete picture.

If Valeska was held against her will on a ship plying the Caribbean, Melissa was a prisoner on land, going four years at Hubbard's famous estate in the UK doing menial, punishing labor, and over the course of those four years, almost all of it as a child, she was paid a total of about $40.

Not $40 a week. $40 in four years, as an underaged teenager working extremely long hours and getting little sleep.

And yet, throughout her ordeal, while her father and brother "disconnected" from her, after her schooling had ended when she was 12 years old and she had run to places like Los Angeles to work as a 14-year-old nanny, knowing no one, she kept one goal in front of her: she would, someday, reunite with her older sister.

Here's how that journey unfolded. As we mentioned Tuesday, Valeska and her sister Melissa were born in Geneva, Switzerland to a man named Jean-Francois Paris and a woman named Ariane Jackson, both Scientologists. In 1983, the couple split and Paris took his daughters, and their younger brother, Raphael, to England, where he signed up for Scientology's Sea Org, the ascetic outfit that requires its workers to sign billion-year contracts with a promise to come back lifetime after lifetime for endless hours and pay of about $50 a week.

While Jean-Francois put on his naval Sea Org outfit, his three children were assigned to something called the Cadet Org, a sort of mini-Sea Org for children, to toughen them up with menial chores and poor living conditions at a rundown manor named Stonelands.

(Janet Reitman has a brief descrition of Claire Headley's experience in the Cadet Org at Stonelands in her new book, Inside Scientology.)

Valeska was 6. Melissa was 4. Raphael had just turned 2. Melissa lived at Stonelands, and was in the Cadet Org, for eight years, until she was 12.

I asked her what a typical day was like, in the summer, when she was 7 or 8 years old.

"We would get up at about 7 o'clock. We'd muster -- we'd all stand in a line, according to divisions. Then we had to breakfast on time, because if you missed it, you didn't eat," she says. "Then some would go to Saint Hill and do their jobs. Others would stay at Stonelands and had to clean the house. There wasn't much free time, maybe an hour or two. When I was younger there had been something called Family Time, an hour or two in the evening when you saw your parents."

Once they took away Family Time, when she was about 6 or 7, her day didn't include seeing her father at all.

"We did study. We studied Scientology. And that was pretty much our day. And weekends weren't any different. Yeah, we didn't live like kids," she says. In an Internet post, she has written at length about governesses who regularly hit the children, and how kids ganged up on each other.

"Did my sister tell you that we had no toilet paper 90 percent of the time in the Cadet Org?" Valeska asked me last night after I had finished my interview with Melissa. "We either had to use pages from books in the library to wipe ourselves or our hands and wipe it on the wall. I know it's gross but it's true. The toilet had shit all over the wall."

"The governesses sucked," Melissa told me. "Probably the meaner they were, that's how they picked them." Years later, Melissa says she was told that Scientology's Cadet Org was disbanded in particular because of reports of the conditions at Stonelands.

Melissa says if she tended to get more bruised than other kids, it was because she would talk back. "I was pretty mouthy," she says, and you get a sense, talking to her, that the hellraiser in her is never far from the surface.

Meanwhile, her father was largely absent, she says. "My father said something to Dominique [one of the worst of the governesses], and that's only when she threw me down the stairs."

With parents not around, it was difficult to get any sympathy. "You're so in Scientology, you really can't go against them. You're adults in smaller bodies," she says, referring to Scientology's belief that we have all lived countless lives, and that if we wear a child's body in a new lifetime, our thetan, or soul, is ancient. In that scenario, they believe, it makes little sense to treat a youngster as anything but a stunted adult.

During the school year, the Paris children went to a private Scientology school, Greenfields. "But even there, we were Stonelands kids. Dirty. We had lice. We got made fun of quite a bit," Melissa says.

Their father, Jean-Francois Paris, was on a Sea Org salary of pennies an hour. So it was her mother, Ariane, and her new husband, Albert Jaquier, who paid for the private school. Jaquier had risen from a junkyard worker to a self-made millionaire, and gave away much of his money to Scientology. And in 1989, when her mother and Jaquier ended their marriage, the private schooling stopped.

"We went to public school after that, in East Grinstead. That sucked," she says. "The church did not have a good reputation in town. And kids would wait for us after school. They'd try to fight us."

I asked Melissa how she finally got out of the Cadet Org in 1992, when she was 12 years old. "I called my grandma in France and got her to book me a ticket to Florida. I called a friend I had made there, Emily Jones, and I asked if I could go live with them."

She was in Clearwater, Florida, Scientology's spiritual headquarters, for two years. Then, at only 14, she went to Los Angeles and became a nanny. Nine months later, she gave that up and returned to England.

Then, in December 1994, she joined the Sea Org. She was only 15 years old. (Her sister, Valeska, had joined even earler, at 14. One girl in her area was a Sea Org member at only 10, Melissa says.) That same month she joined the Sea Org, her former stefpather, Albert Jaquier, died of a heart condition.

I asked her why, at that point, she signed a billion-year contract and promised to work so hard for Scientology.

"They showed me a policy by Hubbard that said the world was coming to an end by 2000. So we had six years to 'clear the planet'," she says. "And I had no family at that point. My dad is an idiot, and he was in Florida. We didn't know anything else. We were born into it. We didn't have any friends outside Scientology. Those were 'wogs'" she says, using the offensive British slang term for dark-skinned people that Hubbard appropriated for his jargon to mean any non-Scientologist. "We didn't have anybody."

She immediately hated the Sea Org. And so, at first, when she heard the news about her mother, she considered it a hopeful sign.

After the death of her former husband, Melissa's mother had tried to get recompense from the church and then had sued and was countersued by Scientology. She then went live on French television to denounce the church.

"I was excited. I thought it was going to be a way for me to get out. The Sea Org was horrible."

But Melissa didn't get away, at least not yet. She was told to disconnect from her mother, who was now considered an apostate, or "suppressive person." Melissa, meanwhile, kept laboring for the church.

"I was in the Sea Org from 1994 to 1998. During that entire time, I was paid about 40 dollars. And I am not making that up," she says. Until December 25, 1997, she was a minor during that entire period, working for no pay.

"We were fed beans and rice. And we got no sleep. When [church leader] David Miscavige came over for an IAS event in 1998, I was assigned MEST work, and I went five days without sleep. We would catch some sleep on the bus from Walsh Manor to Saint Hill," she says, referring to another run down estate where Sea Org members were housed, and the 18th century country house were Scientology in the UK is headquartered. In preparation for the event, she worked like mad. "I was building stuff. Building the stage. Putting up tents. Cleaning. Making stuff." (MEST was Hubbard's acronym for matter, energy, space, and time, and referred to work in the real, physical universe -- usually manual labor -- as opposed to work in the spiritual realm. Melissa also refers to the IAS -- the International Association of Scientologists, a sort of booster club that church members are constantly encouraged to give large sums to.)

I asked her what the lavish event itself was like. "I didn't get to go to the event. I was in trouble." Why? "Because I wanted to leave," she says.

"You got treated like absolute crap by everyone who was senior to you. I can't tell you how many times I got yelled at by someone an inch from my face. And there's nothing you could do. You're demoralized. You're not a person," she says.

At 16, she had started to date a young man named Cyril Helnweing, who was a couple of years older. Then she found herself in the EPF, and her superiors got even more demanding of her.

The Estates Project Force is a sort of boot camp for Sea Org members, and it is something a Sea Org worker can be assigned to do again if they are not performing up to standards.

"I sucked. I don't conform or follow retarded orders," she says.

But she had few alternatives. She was separated from her family, who had their own Sea Org assignments to fulfill. Melissa says she was given an ultimatum: marry Cyril Helnwein, or get kicked out of the Sea Org.

"I was told that the only way I would be able to stay would be if I married him. I'd actually broken up with him right before that and...a high level executive told me that I needed to get back together with him ASAP. I was threatened with being dropped off in the middle of East Grinstead."

GottfriedHelnwein.JPG
Gottfried Helnwein
Why, I asked, were executives pushing her into the match?

"The guy's father was pretty famous, and he wanted to marry me."

Cyril's father is Gottfried Helnwein, a well-known Viennese-born fine artist who these days splits his time between Ireland and Los Angeles. Known for his early work in hyper-realist watercolors, some of his images are quite familiar to rock fans, who will recognize the album covers for Scorpion and Rammstein that use his art.

Over his career, Helnwein has avoided questions about his status as a Scientologist, but databases show that he's taken courses since at least 1978, and judging by plaques he's received, he's been a major donor.

Despite his wealth, however, his son and daughter-in-law, as Sea Org members, lived a spartan lifestyle.

"At the beginning, we lived in a room with bunk beds," Melissa says.

A few months after their wedding in the summer of 1996, Melissa asked Cyril to take her on a Caribbean honeymoon.

ScorpionsCover.jpg
Henlwein's cover for Blackout
"Like I said, his family was really wealthy. I asked him if we could go to the Freewinds for our honeymoon, so I could see my sister." In December, they went, and she turned 17 during their week on board.

"The ship was in the 'ABC' islands," she says, referring to the three islands, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, that the ship tends to visit, even to this day.

She knew her trip would be a complete surprise to her sister, who had been moved to the Freewinds in September of that year -- against her will, Valeska says. She believes that church leader David Miscavige had her moved there to make sure she disconnected from her mother and was unable even to communicate with her. ("They took our passports, too," Melissa says, vouching for what Valeska has alleged, that every visitor on the ship gives up his or her passport when they arrive.)

On the ship, Valeska worked as a waitress for her first six years, and was never able to leave the vessel without an escort. And even though her sister had flown so far to see her, during the week Melissa and Cyril were on board, they rarely got to see Valeska.

RammsteinCover.jpg
Helnwein's cover for Sehnsucht
"She would come at her dinner time. And during the week she got one half-day off." Just one half day, I asked? "Yeah, half a day."

Valeska, 19, and her sister Melissa, 17, said goodbye at the end of the week. They wouldn't see each other again until 2009.

Melissa and Cyril returned to England, but Melissa says she was miserable in her marriage, and in her work. A little more than a year after her trip to the Freewinds, she began planning to leave. She told her superiors that she wanted out, and she convinced her father, who lived in Chicago, to fly her out in May, 1998. She was finally done with the Sea Org.

"I didn't tell Cyril I was leaving," she says. She just left him without saying a word.

She hated Chicago, however, and by January 1999, she was living in Scotland.

In March, she got a strange call from her father. He told her he was disconnecting from her, even though she hadn't yet left Scientology itself.

"Something went off in my head, and I said, 'You know, I'm done'," Melissa says.

She called her Swiss (maternal) grandmother, and went all the way to Switzerland by bus. From her grandmother's house, she called her mother, who was in Florida.

"I hadn't talked to her in years. And my father was trying to scare me into coming back. But I was done. I went to Florida and met up with my mom. I got a job, in telemarketing. I got an apartment. I met my next husband, and got pregnant with Jade," she says.

I asked her what it was like to reunite with her mother, who Scientology had so forcefully told her to cut all ties with three years earlier.

"It was pretty amazing. It was good," she says. "I bought my first house when I was 20. The Office of Special Affairs [Scientology's intelligence and covert operations wing] showed up at my door. I wasn't declared [a suppressive person] yet. They wanted information about my mom. They were watching my house.

"I told them I wasn't a Scientologist anymore. But they told me I still had to disconnect from my mother. I said no. So they declared me. It was 2001," she says.

Her father and brother, who are both still in Scientology, remain disconnected from both of the Paris sisters. Her father, Jean-Francois Paris, works in art in Chicago. Melissa and Valeska both tell me that their younger brother Raphael runs the human resources desk for a Scientology attorney in Los Angeles. When I asked them if it was Kendrick Moxon, they both said yes. I have sent a message to Raphael, hoping that he'll talk to me.

"I haven't spoken to my dad since I was 19," she says. "My daughter Jade is now 10, and she has never seen her grandfather."

In 2004, Melissa moved to Texas. Although her schooling in East Grinstead had stopped when she was 12 years old, she still managed to do well on entrance tests and enrolled at College of the Mainland.

She owns her own home and, she says, after she arrived in Texas, "I just kind of lived."

And then, in 2009, the phone rang.

"I got a call from my sister," Melissa says, still sounding like she can hardly believe it happened. Valeska had finally managed to get away from the Freewinds. "That was probably one of the best moments of my life," Melissa says.

In 2007, Valeska had been moved to the RPF in Australia, a kind of prison detail for Scientologists. (The church insists that it's voluntary and members go there for spiritual rejuvenation. Every ex-Scientologist I've talked to describes the RPF as anything but voluntary, a hellish sentence of hard labor and humiliation.)

In the RPF, Valeska managed to meet Chris Guider, the former rugby player. After they both "graduated" from the RPF, they got married and Valeska got pregnant with their son, Declan. Pregnancies for Sea Org women are not allowed, and many former female Sea Org members talk of forced abortions being common. But Valeska and Guider were through with Scientology, and routed out.

"I always knew that my sister would get out. She was smart. My father, no. My brother, no," Melissa says. "I figured Valeska would get pregnant and say no to an abortion, and that's pretty much what happened."

Looking back, she says now that she can hardly believe how conditioned she was to think a certain way because of her upbringing in the church.

"I remember watching people picketing outside Saint Hill, and thinking these people were crazy. We were so brainwashed," she says.

She has now left Scientology, and is not interested in the independent movement of former church members who still find L. Ron Hubbard's ideas useful.

"I'm not an indie. I think it's all a lot of shit," she says.

She and her sister are close again, and their mother is doing well with her own acupuncture clinic in Florida.

When I asked her for one last statement or thought, she said, "Only this, I am proud of my sister."


The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]

My Voice Nation Help
75 comments
nonethewiser
nonethewiser

More power to these ladies for getting out. And I know their brother. He's a dim bulb and a jerk, so they're not missing much there.

Crps
Crps

Thanks for this nice posting i will come again

feettothefire
feettothefire

Is there some way to allow Vanessa to help those families like mine where a family member was first influenced by a parent who acknowledged that the other parent will not approve of involvement in scientlogy and then went ahead and indoctrinated the child. The use of acceptable truth, crafting of statements and dont ask dont tell allows for basically a parallel life. I have been unable to penetrate the "everything written about Scn is evil" and the days of connection followed by that hollow vacant look on my child's face after he has been on the phone for 3 hours. The deep divide doesn't allow for any communication but I would love to know how to initiate critical thinking again that allows for "disconnection" from Scientology.The destruction and warped philosophy with the "saving of the world" with your wallet has to have some answer that doesn't require half your life. 

lcmsmommy
lcmsmommy

How can children sign contracts? Even IF their parents sign their children away, don't the children have to sign a new contract when they reach legal age? Aren't some of these child slaves within the borders of the US? How can this child abuse continue--at least go after them for breaking child labor laws, for crying out loud. Is a billion-year contract even legal?

Children within CoS are poorly educated--do the leaders claim it is because they are little adults who already know everything they need to know? Obviously we SP's know that it's to keep them dumb and dependent.

feettothefire
feettothefire

The petition before Obama passed to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes of Scientology with over 300 complaints of forced abortions, human trafficking and abuse. Obama responded that this is for the Dept of Justice to investigate and not the President. That makes Eric Holder the equivalent of Joe Paterno where multiple people have been emotionally or physically "raped" if he doesn't expose these people. There are too many people from too many geographic areas over all ages and ethnicities that are saying the same thing. This is not a religion but a willful scam that destroys families and bankrupts people. I don't care how difficult it was in the past, the exposure demands justice and it starts with Holder who will become "Coach Holder" if he does nothing. 

ShellyMiscavigeDwarfThrower
ShellyMiscavigeDwarfThrower

So the brother Raphael works for Kendrick Moxon?

How much does HE get paid? $40 over 4 years? $10 dollars per year!!

This is just the beginning. Scientology will be finished by the end of 2012.

You can quote me on that.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I hope you're right.

My fantasy is the FBI and IRS busts $cientology big time like they did when Paulett Cooper was involved.

Doubt that will happen since they don't seem to give-a-shit. So, I'll just keep on dreaming that...maybe...one...day...the FBI will wake-up because OSA is making fools of them.

MarkStark
MarkStark

I'm encouraged by things like the Forbes article today on their IRS exemption. It points to two good articles: Steve Hassan's article about the issue, and the recent SP Times series THE MONEY MACHINE.

You can also tell by the thousands of comments on the Yahoo blog, that stories like Melissa and Valeska's aren't out of context for readers, as they might have been 10 years ago. More and more people know it as a given, that instead of something a little weird about Scientology, there is A LOT about it that deserves looking into before someone thinks "I'm going to try this, to see if it will work for me!"

notgoingpublic
notgoingpublic

we went to stonelands - left just before valeska, it was 'ok' then. school was at west hoathly and we had a nursery. our problem was we were told the house of lords was about to legalise scientologists wroking at st hill. it was a lie and we were stuck there illegally with no money and no way to contact the outside world. we had to go to france for a day to renew our visitors visa - with one pound spending money and the cost of the ferry. one time i caught the wrong ferry back and ended up detained as a irish bombimg suspect in folkestone. when i returned to east grinstead there was a drug deal going down on the station. i was terrified. finally walked through snow to stonelands and collapsed 

Devitowhitesell6
Devitowhitesell6

These Scientologists are a bunch of fuckin' Nazis. God.  40 years ago I knew a girl whose life was wrecked by the Scientology thing.  Here it is, still going on.  Unbelievable.  signed, Tom Whitesell

Bob Peterson
Bob Peterson

It is interesting to hear of the name Helnwein, I have an autographed copy of "Helnwein und Scientology" by Peter Reichelt. If memory serves Peter was Helnwein's PR man who did things like arrange exhibitions. Later they had a split and Reichelt spilled the beans in a news story about how Gottfried was an OSA operative. A lot of inside information was revealed; Helnwein fired his entire staff, everyone left, cook, chauffeur, maid's etc, all went running out of the door. I recall that Peter made a cryptic comment to me about what had transpired saying that while the staff was fired "the spy remained."

There is also a Florida connection to Helnwein. His tax advisor, who fled Austria to avoid the heat resulting from his tax evasion schemes, was none other that Erwin Annau of the Clearwater "Blue Balls" scandal of the late 1990's. This was a scam in which small blue balls that held "negative ions" would do the wash without soap thus saving money and the environment. The state of Oregon investigated the product and found the so-called "laundry ball" filled with nothing but colored water. The "St. Petersburg Times" wrote extensively about the swindle and the Scientologists who were part of it. Alas for poor Erwin, when the crash landed on his head and the laughter of the local paper reached unto the ears of the mighty Miscavige, his head was put on a pike; he was declared. This was a while ago; I wonder if Erwin would talk about his life in the cult?

ChaosConsumer
ChaosConsumer

I like the cut of Melissa's jib. I think she might even have surpassed Jason Beghe in the straight talking stakes in my eyes. I'd like to hear more from her.

MarkStark
MarkStark

Well, if this story isn't the writing on the wall, and more, I don't know what is!

This whole family's story is epic, and could be a mini-series on TV. I love this woman for her bluntness and honesty. Excellent interview.

While scilebrities are being flattered for their enhanced abilities and importance as creative leaders in saving this sector of the galaxy, cadet org kids were going without toilet paper, as their part in saving this sector of the galaxy.

The Cadet Orgs could vary widely, from ones that were good, to ones that were horrendous and had to be shut down. It depends on the location, and the time period. Most were not good. Even the kids who were in the best cadet org places, met the same fate if they entered the Sea Org. Dysfunction in the Sea Org is/was ubiquitous.

Astra Woodcraft got shown that same baloney about the impending end of the world. That was 100% standard Hubbard tech, delivered "standardly." Make 'em all paranoid as hell, so they won't even consider the possibility of leaving.

Barbara Snow
Barbara Snow

"Valeska was 6. Melissa was 4. Raphael had just turned 2."  --   what the hell was the matter with their parents?   I understand that there is something going wrong from the get-go when people get sucked into an organization like this, but to just abandon your children to an environment like this boggles the mind.    

MarkStark
MarkStark

Hubbard developed processes to entice and brainwash people slowly, on a "gradient" he called it. If you really want to understand how it was done, there are three posters on ESMB (Ex-Scientologists' Message Board) who explain it all better than anyone I know of. They are: Gadfly, Veda, and Helluvahoax.

Barbara Snow
Barbara Snow

Thanks.  I tried to sign onto the site you mentioned and it said I was blocked because my email address was associated with spam.  I've never spammed anything in my life and while I have negative opinions about Scientology, I try to keep my dialog civilized and reasonable.   

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

Also, there are excellent articles on Ask the Scientologist detailing the mind-control, the slow but steady indoctrination, etc.

SFF
SFF

If you believed that the world is going to end in five years unless Scientology manages to clear the planet, you would conclude that abandoning your kids so you can focus on that is the best thing to do for them.

It's like Hy Levy believing that talking someone into going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt was actually in the guy's interest.

In both cases, the actions were a logical consequence of their beliefs.

I don't know if that makes it better or worse.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

Scientology sees children as tiny adults, many of whom are reincarnated people or aliens. Therefore, they can be used and abused like the adults in the organization....if you want to know what it was like to be a Scientology kid when the church was hot in the 1970s-80s, the Ex-Scientology Kids Message Board has a section on Scientology education and a couple threads on what it was like to be in the prototype Apple Schools; a lot of skeezy things happened (underaged sex, dope smoking, etc.) and the LA neighborhood the school was in was full of sketchy characters.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Scientology sees children as tiny adults, many of whom are reincarnated people or aliens.

That's my biggest concern, small children. Since they are treated like adults wouldn't that make them more of a target for molestation?

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

Actually the whole "children as tiny adults" thing is how children were seen before the Enlightenment, so Scientology is a step backwards.

I don't think Ron was molested; he sounds like a model sociopath, or if not, then a very callous individual, very much like his "mentor" Aleister Crowley.

Back to Scientology ed, I find it interesting that every school they ran had some sort of issue, be it child abuse (like Mace-Kingsley, where Wally Hanks whipped a kid on tape in 1988); expelling gay students (Delphi Academy in Oregon, more than once); letting teens smoke (Delphi again, until the 1990s); or a constant inability to keep a school going (every Apple School, Adelphi Academy, and Applied Scholastics school in San Diego county from 1981-2011.) It's been a long ride to nowhere.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

This is god-awful! Poor kids!

They cry in the dark, so you can't see their tearsThey hide in the light, so you can't see their fearsForgive and forget, all the whileLove and pain become one and the sameIn the eyes of a wounded child

One lyric from Pat Benatar's song - Hell Is For Children

It just breaks my heart that they didn't even have toilet paper.

StabbyMcStoo
StabbyMcStoo

There is (what I consider) a valid argument that L Ron was molested himself as an adolescent.  This would explain his idea that children are tiny adults.

Korgo of Teegeeack
Korgo of Teegeeack

Has anyone wondered what books she used to wipe her ass? I can think of a few that would be appropriate.

Not to discount her story, it is like the introduction to that old TV show, Naked City-- "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This is one of them."

Marc Headley
Marc Headley

Way to go Melissa!! Man I loved this article. If life was a hot air ballon, these scilon goons are the sand bags. Toss them aside and you will fly high with no exceptions. 

Good luck to you Melissa. I applaud your courage. 

Brainslugged
Brainslugged

Hey, Ortega - careful how you throw around phrases like "stunted adult". You might inadvertently upset certain cult leaders (and their BFFs).

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Geez, I think my head might explode!

Valeska's roller-coaster-ride-from-hell has been bad enough on it's own, but then adding Melissa's story to the mix.....well, I can't find a proper word to try and describe such a crazy, chaotic state of mind-f**k these girls must have endured.

Scientology is nothing but a hellhole of thieves, they rob you of your money and your life.

[hugs] to Melissa and Valeska.

Sid
Sid

Just how many families have been torn apart by Scientology over the years?

How many kids have spent miserable childhoods wondering why they never seem to see very much of their parents?

How many marriages have ended in divorce because the "church" commanded it?

How many unborn children have been terminated because it would have disrupted the mother's work?

How many cumulative years of hard work and effort by very well-intentioned people has been spent trying to further the goals of this despicable con?

How many dollars of debt have been piled on to good people who thought they were helping to save mankind?

The sheer waste of Scientology is simply appalling.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Let us not forget about the long list... very long ...

of Suicides and Murders.

Anon A
Anon A

A nice present for the "church" on this lovely Stats Thursday!David Miscavige must be a tiny whirlwind of profanity and slapping hands right now.Kind of like Warner Bros' Tasmanian Devil, except smaller and more psychotic.

LocalSP1
LocalSP1

 What is our government doing to stop the abuses by this evil cult? Nothing!Just a reminder, they had less on Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker when they were taken down by the government. Why aren't they doing anything?

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

The 'Whole' of the reason that nothing has been done...

They have 'INFILTRATED' and now have FRIENDS in High Places...

It's like creating great and important films or writing books... 

The one's who really need to see/read the story ... are the last ones to do so.

anon anon song
anon anon song

I suppose that in Valeska and Melissa's case, there is an issue of jurisdiction. The events took place in the US, the Caribbean, England, Australia in regards to people who were (I assume) of Swiss nationality at the time.

I'm just wondering out loud if scientology's case, especially on issues of human trafficking, might have to be resolved in The Hague's international court of justice.

From Ireland With Love
From Ireland With Love

truly inspiring the strength and courage that Melissa showed from such a young age. As a father, my heart bleeds, it's painful for me to see anything get in the way of that precious bond between parent and child.

Melissa and Valeska - thank you so much for your courage in speaking out. Your story will keep it from happening to others. I wish you and your families the greatest of happiness and good fortune.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Nothing like the 'fresh' smell of Freedom in the Morning....

Does anyone know if Helnwein is still a Scientologist?..... I heard he disavowed the church...I know he and Heber were extremely close.

Classic Scion Story..... once you go in... they will not let you out... 

To all those who 'Go Brave & Stand Tall' in getting out of Scion Control...

Live Long & Prosper with Happiness....

Sometimes I wonder if the government is interested in seeing how effective a 'Mind Control' program Scientology is.... you know they have been working on this stufffor decades....maybe they just want to be "Watchers".... hence, no intervention.

Roggy McGee
Roggy McGee

I believe that Gottfried Helnwein is still very much in the cult.  Danny Masterson and Bijou Phillips, known Scientoloonies, got married on October 18th of this year in a small Irish castle and Helnwein was listed in media outlets as a guest.  I remember reading at that time that the castle was actually Helnwein's (b/c he is based in Ireland) but that the official announcement just said "private" castle.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Thanks Roggy... was wondering 'bout that.... he must have 'bought into' that Heber is PTS or SP and deserves the 'Hole'.... funny, he still refers to his Irish Manor House as a Castle.. it is an Austrian thing...

I would have thought he had realized by now what Hubbard was all about...

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

They didn't have toilet paper in the cadet org? I guess now we know why Scientology is making its members buy so many copies of the basics. If they have no bread - let them eat cake. If they have no toilet paper - let them use Dianetics.

Dean Blair
Dean Blair

This is an amazing article.  I do not understand however why the authorities do not go in and charge the executives of the C of $ with crimes and start arresting some people.  This is utterly criminal activity that has gone on for decades.

I am so happy that Valeska and her sister are free from this criminal organization.

Sid
Sid

Unfortunately, media interviews (important though they are) do not stir law enforcement organizations into action.

If you believe you have a complaint against the Co$ then you must report it to the authorities. And it has to be you, it can't be someone else reporting it on your behalf. The feds or police need first-hand witnesses to illegal acts, and they need evidence.

Since the church persuades people to "route out" and gets them to sign all sorts of incriminating documents, people are understandably reticent to do this (even though those confessions signed under duress are almost certainly worthless).

Also, those leaving the cult very often take years before they are ready to tell their story, and they worry it's too late (it's not).

However, I hope you see my point. We can tippy-tap on our keyboards for decades to come but in the end it will need lots of people to walk into their local FBI office and announce they have a complaint against the Church of Scientology.

I don't know how many times this has been done in the past, and I don't know what action has been taken, but I'm fairly certain this is the only route to getting the tiny one put behind bars, and to halting the abuse.

Heather Grace
Heather Grace

Great to hear from Melissa. But I'm reminded again of the horror that 3 children were raised without their parents being a significant part of their lives. It's a credit to Melissa and Valeska that they're doing so well.

Anna Warren
Anna Warren

As an outsider reading these stories about life inside Scientology, it's amazing that these children are able to function at all in the real world.  These two young women are quite impressive, and knowing what the 'church' does to those who speak against it,  they're a lot braver than I would probably be.

sketto
sketto

It's also a good answer to the question, "Why didn't she run to the consulate?"

Because after being beaten down for her entire upbringing and lacking a decent education, a person might not even know such an option existed.

Old Timer
Old Timer

Tony wrote: "In 1983, the couple split and Paris took his daughters, and their younger brother, Raphael, to England, where he signed up for Scientology's Sea Org, the ascetic outfit that requires its workers to sign billion-year contracts with a promise to come back lifetime after lifetime for endless hours and pay of about $50 a week."

In 1983 I was still in the Sea Org. Pay at that time, per Flag Order, was $24/week.

Mat Pesch
Mat Pesch

True.  A few years later full pay went up to $37.50 and in the mid 90's it went up to $50 a week (about $45 after taxes, etc were taken out).  These figures are the amount if there is "full pay" approved in the weeks financial planning.  Many times staff will endure months oflittle or zero pay.  A person in the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force) only gets 1/4 of what the staff get paid.  They also get to eat the food left over after the regular staff eat.  I personally went for over a year in the mid 80's with ZERO pay.  I remember Sea Org staff carrying plastic bags in their pockets so they had a place to put cigarette butts they would find, so they could smoke the tobacco later.  Ah - to be the elite - saving the world...

mirele
mirele

Thank you, Tony, for this article. We can't hear enough about this scumbag organization that masquerades as a "church." Someday, somewhere, somehow, there will be justice. And you are helping.

Tracy
Tracy

Wait wait wait....what is Karin Pouw's response to all this? You know Karin...she's the made up spokesman and the ONLY official person who sticks up for the Cult. Oh yeah.  Her response:  they are lying.  All their witnessess and all the other apostates who endured the same, similar or worse treatment...they are ALL lying.  My that's a whole lot of stories that they needed to sync up to each other. 

Sid
Sid

 I would like to propose the following Monty Python sketch:-

Eric Idle is sat at a desk, dressed as a woman. Dressed as Karin Pouw to be precise.

A knock on the door.

Karin - "Enter!"

Graham Chapman walks in, bearded, he's Tony Ortega.

Tony - "Karin thank you for agreeing to speak with me today, there's a new story I'm working on and I wanted to get the church's response to some of the key points".

Karin - "They're lying!"Tony - "Sorry? Who's lying?"

Karin - "They're all liars. It never happened!"Tony - "What never happened??"

Karin - "The thing".Tony - "What thing???"

Karin - "Apostates!"Tony - "Beg your pardon????"

Karin - "They're all disgruntled apostates!"Tony - "Who are?????"

Karin - "He's the Ecclesiastical leader of the church you know!"Tony - "Who is??????"

Karin - "Unprecedented expansion!"Tony - "Look I haven't even told you what the story is yet!"

Karin - "Narconon, Criminon, Way to Happiness, CCHR!!!!"

etc, etc, etc.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Great post, sid!  Problem is, you're being way, way too kind!  As whacked out as your make them, they are a thousand times worse.  But, you did make my day!  Thanks!

anon anon song
anon anon song

Lol

Karin - "I say they are liars. I should know, I believe a few."

sketto
sketto

Yes, but to truly find happiness on this planet, you have to believe the correct liar - L Ron Hubbard. You don't want to believe just any ol' liar. They're not all equal you know.

According to some Scientologists, when he wasn't lying, L Ron Hubbard said a lot of nice things. And seriously, I ask you - what better foundation could you have to base your life on than the occasional, sweet non-lies of a chronic liar?

Jgg
Jgg

  Also

Pouw  "Everything you just said is a lie"Ortega "How do you know?"Pouw "I know"Ortega "how?"Pouw "I just know"

Yeppir
Yeppir

Also:

Pouw: Because I KNOW how to KNOW.

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