Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

2/15/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

On Friday, six ex-scientologists spoke out about their experiences inside the Church of Scientology  at a Press Conference in Hollywood.

Each of the presenters was able to tell his or her personal story of life inside the organization. A prepared summary given to journalists at the event offered a brief biography of the speakers and a bit about their story. Additionally, the press was also given background information and samples of Scientology documents.

Each of the presenters was able to tell his or her personal story of life inside the organization. A prepared summary given to journalists at the event offered a brief biography of the speakers and a bit about their story. Additionally, the press was also given background information and samples of Scientology documents.


By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (

2/15/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The airwaves of Los Angeles were buzzing with accounts of Scientology abuses last Friday after ex-staffers held a news conference in Hollywood. This event and a weekend filled with activities called a Megaraid marked the second anniversary of Project Chanology, a global protest against Scientology by an internet-based group called Anonymous.

The press conference, which was also presented as a live video stream on the internet, was moderated by Mark Bunker an Emmy-winning journalist who has been covering Scientology since 1997. He is the webmaster for XENU TV (, which features video and audio interviews from former members, along documentaries, speeches, panels, protest videos, courtroom footage and a vast archive of broadcast media from around the world covering the controversial Scientology organization.

Each of the presenters was able to tell his or her personal story of life inside the organization. A prepared summary given to journalists at the event offered a brief biography of the speakers and a bit about their story. Additionally, the press was also given background information and samples of Scientology documents.

Marc Headley, the author of "Blown for Good," grew up in Hollywood, and joined Scientology´s Sea Org when he was just 16 years old. For 15 years he lived at Scientology´s International Base, where he worked 100-hour work weeks, for less than 50 cents an hour, and experienced mental and physical abuse. Headley told the conference of the dramatic escape he made, at age 32, from the heavily guarded Scientology compound in Hemet, California. He has since started a new life with his wife, who also escaped.

Jefferson Hawkins spent 35 years working for the Church of Scientology, all over the world, and at all echelons, including the top level at the Scientology International Base in Hemet, California. For much of his time in Scientology, Hawkins was a key executive in Scientology´s marketing department. He conceived and ran the well-known Dianetics campaign in the 1980s that resulted in Dianetics appearing on all major bestseller lists.

Hawkins talked about leaving Scientology in 2005 after experiencing firsthand the abuses and human rights violations at Scientology´s International Headquarters, including being allegedly beaten physically by Scientology´s leader, David Miscavige. Since 2006, he has been active in sharing his story concerning the Church of Scientology´s lies and abuses, and in providing help to individuals and families who have been harmed by Scientology.

Laura DeCrescenzo was recruited into the Sea Org at the age of 12. Married at16, she told of her story of becoming pregnant and subsequently forced to have an abortion, because children aren´t allowed in the Sea Org. She eventually became so desperate to escape she swallowed bleach to get herself thrown out. DeCrescenzo is now suing the church, alleging restricted freedom, forced abortions, severe punishment, and human trafficking.

Maureen Bolstad has stated that at age 15 she "got tricked into making a dumb mistake" and signed a contract to join Scientology staff. She was promised an education and regular pay. Instead, Bolstad worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week, and developed health and emotional problems. In 17 years, she only got to see her mother twice, for less than a week each time. She was allowed to leave after three years of being made to "confess her sins and evil intentions." Bolstad was divorced by her husband and still hasn´t heard from her sister, who stayed on staff, since 2006.

Will Fry was raised by scientologists, and attended Scientology boarding school while his parents worked for the church. As a teenager, he joined the Sea Org, but immediately realized he wanted out; it took him almost three years. Afterwards the church billed him $12,000 for a so-called "freeloader debt."

Nancy Many, author of "My Billion Year Contract," was a college student in Boston when she first joined Scientology. She signed the infamous "Billion Year" contract when she joined the Sea Org, and was sent to Clearwater, Fl, to work under L. Ron Hubbard.

When she was five months pregnant, Many was sent to the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force--Scientology´s re-indoctrination and labor camp) where she was locked in the garage of the Fort Harrison Hotel until she was deemed "rehabilitated." After being subjected to relentless interrogations and confessions, Nancy suffered a mental breakdown that led to her leaving the church.

During her presentation, Many also talked about Greg Bashaw, who was a devotee to Scientology, and later took his life in 2002. "I hope you people today," she told the reporters present, "can relay the fact that people are dieing... people are dieing... people are going psychotic."

KABC, KTLA, KCAL/KCBS, KNBC and KTTV (Fox) all carried stories about the over two-hour press conference during their Friday evening news cycle, which also included a rebuttal by Scientology spokesman, Tommy Davis. Davis dismissed the statements as coming from angry former members who fabricated these stories.

Catholic Online contacted Davis´ office for a comment and is still awaiting a response.

One observer at the event stated, "The media was at the press conference in force and showed a high level of interest. Mark Bunker did an absolutely superb job as the moderator. The event was emotional at times. One can read the internet, but when you see the people who actually lived the stories talk about it, it is almost overwhelming."

"It is hard to hear a woman fighting back tears as she speaks about being pressured to abort her first child for the ´greatest good´ by Scientology. Laura Decrescenzo was only seventeen years old when this happened. She was powerless and was told by Scientology that her baby was only tissue. She was broke, young, lacked a formal education, and was a stat in some production graph."

A question and answer time by the media present followed the presentation. Questions regarding the speaker´s stories were offered but some of the reporters preferred to focus more attention on the two lawsuits and the work of Anonymous.


Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 2006. His reporting on the Church of Scientology has received global attention as the group´s activities come under increasing scrutiny.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

Cargo ship missing after sailing into Hurricane Joaquin Watch

Image of Katie and Keith Griffin (Facebook).


El Faro, a cargo ship, was caught in Hurricane Joaquin, leaving several American crew members missing. Worried friends and family of the missing staff members continue to hope for survivors. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The US Coast Guard announced that they ... continue reading

Oregon shooting hero still in recovery: Donations for his medical expenses surpass $700,000 Watch

Image of Chris Mintz.


Chris Mintz left a happy birthday message for his nonverbal autistic son on Thursday before going to his classes at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Later, he reportedly set off fire alarms as a gunman opened fire. Mintz charged the shooter, was ... continue reading

Two farmers in Michigan unearth woolly mammoth remains Watch

Image of Because of the tight harvest schedule, the farmers gave researchers a single day to unearth the find. Excavators worked intently last week until sundown.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two farmers in Michigan made a momentous find while they dug a drainage ditch. The remains of a woolly mammoth, enormous tusks intact, was unearthed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - James Bristle of Lima Township was digging in a soybean field early last week ... continue reading

President Obama shares how Pope Francis's visit to the U.S. makes him want to be better Watch

Image of President Obama with Pope Francis during the pontiffs visit to the U.S.


It has been a week since Pope Francis' historical visit to the U.S. However, his presence and inspiration continues to linger as President Obama revealed he wants to become better after his meeting with the Pope. WASHINGTON D.C. (Catholic Online) - The pope is back in ... continue reading

HURRICANE FALLOUT: At least four people killed in East Coast flooding Watch

Image of All-time rainfall records in both South Carolina and the southern Appalachians are being sorely tested with the new rainfall.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hurricane Joaquin made quick work of the Carolinas this weekend; flooding has been reported there, and heavy rainfall was reported from the nation's southeast to New England. At least four people were killed because of flooding. The Weather Bureau says that the ... continue reading

Ten Commandments to be removed from capitol grounds Watch

Image of


The Capitol Preservation Commission in Oklahoma, who is responsible for managing the placement of artwork on public property, has voted to remove a Ten Commandments monument from its capitol grounds. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reuters reported the Preservation ... continue reading

Rumored co-recipients of next Nobel Peace Prize criticized: one responsible for hundreds of American soldiers' deaths in Iraq Watch

Image of Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are rumored to be co-recipients of 2016's Nobel Peace Prize (Laurent Gillieron/EPA).


Secretary of State John Kerry is rumored to be receiving a Nobel Peace Prize after finalizing the Iranian nuclear deal due to his close relationship with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kerry's efforts to seal the nuclear ... continue reading

SHOOTERS LAST WORDS TO VICTIM: You're going to see God in one second Watch

Image of Survivors embrace and pray in the aftermath of the shooting which left 9 people and the shooter dead.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation continues to mourn the mass shooting of nine students at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Although the shooter's motive remains a mystery, religion may have been a factor in the killings. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Officials have ... continue reading

Heroic teacher warned classrooms to evacuate during the Oregon college shooting Watch

Image of Oregon shooting aftermath


A shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg left 10 people dead with one teacher shot in the head by a gunman described only to be in his 20's. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Terrifying and traumatic stories were shared by the survivors of the recent open ... continue reading

Christian Targets: College shooting leaves at least 10 dead Watch

Image of Victims were rushed to a nearby hospital (Roseburg News).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday, which left at least ten people dead. Reports have come forward that the shooter was targeting Christian students. ROSEBURG, OREGON (Catholic ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 4:1-11
1 This made Jonah very indignant; he fell into a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
3 take pity on me, Lord, for to you I cry all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:1-4
1 Now it happened that he was in a certain place ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 7th, 2015 Image

St. Artaldus
October 7: Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of ... Read More