Tennessee Police Shut Down Scientology Facilities After Reportedly Finding People Held Against Their Will

488px-scientology_symbolsvgThe Church of Scientology is facing renewed allegations of abusive and cult-like conditions of followers.  A string of psychiatric facilities run by the Church of Scientology in Cannon County, Tenn. have been closed after police reportedly found that patients there were being held against their will in crude trailers and cabins in the woods.  Former Scientologists have accused the Church of holding people against their will and adopting bizarre remedies for mental illnesses due to their founder’s opposition to psychiatry.  Marc Vallieres, the operator of the facilities, was charged with two felony counts of facilitation of kidnapping and two other men working at the facility pled guilty to misdemeanors.

A man recently was able to call 911 and police found him locked in a cabin.  After taking him to the hospital, they returned with a warrant and said that Scientologists were hurriedly carting away material and had removed the locks.  They found that many patients had been removed but found a woman who was also taken to the hospital.

All of the facilities were closed by police.

220px-L._Ron_Hubbard_in_1950Founder L. Ron Hubbard was given psychiatric treatment and found to be mentally ill.  He then became a lifelong opponent of psychiatry and psychology.  The Church has been accused of abuses in the past.  His wife Sara tried to get him into treatment due to violent and unstable behavior and later accused him of kidnapping her.  She eventually divorced him.

300px-Lisa_raw_scanOne of the most notorious past cases involved Lisa McPherson who joined Scientology at age 18.  She moved to Clearwater, Florida where the Church is headquartered. After a minor auto accident, she acted erratically and stripped off her clothes.  While the medical staff asked that she remained to go under psychiatric evaluation, Scientologist came and removed her.  She was put into a Scientology unit for “isolation watch.”  In this cabana shwe was kept under 24 watch.  She became more and more serious in her conduct in hitting and cutting herself and not eating.  David Minkoff, a Scientologist medical doctor twice prescribed Valium and chloral hydrate without examining McPherson. Scientologists delayed taking her to the hopstial and passed by four before arriving at a hospital 45 minutes away from Clearwater.  She was declared dead.  The coroner’s report showed multiple bruises, an abrasion on the nose, and lesions.  It also showed what appeared to be cockroach bites.

The highly secretive organization has been declared a criminal enterprise in some countries.  This type of case could lead to probing questions about its operations with members deemed unstable.  It is not clear if authorities will follow the available evidence to determine whether these conditions and practices were approved or known to the Church leadership.


47 thoughts on “Tennessee Police Shut Down Scientology Facilities After Reportedly Finding People Held Against Their Will”

  1. Science and tology just do not go together.
    People who fall for this apCray need to be sent to Liberia.
    A place like Tennessee is too tolerant.
    We need an anti Scientology Klan.

  2. Why is this news? US states have laws that allow them to hold people against their will with zero due process. They even send you the huge bill after being held against you will. I know, I was the victim of one of these state kidnappings.

    So can anyone tell me what the difference is? It’s OK for the “state” to do it, but people get their panties in a bunch if anyone that is nongovernmental does it/

    1. No, you’ll have due process. The people clapped in asylums are a public order problem, commonly dangerous to themselves and others. Thomas Szasz did not know this at a visceral level because he’d been able to avoid caring for schizophrenics during his residency.

  3. Scientology is ran by a high school dropout whose father has recently bolted from the (in tax status only) church.
    Side note: Russia has not played nice with it. Do you blame them? The Japanese Sarin-gas-releasing-tokyo-subway-chemical-weapon-murdering cult Aum Shinrimyo has under 10,000 members in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia.

    1. Typo #1 Sum Shinrikyo with a K. Typo #2 had (past tense….in N
      Borris Yeltsin’s Russia)

  4. I grew up in Clearwater Florida and the Scientologist are a totally wacky group. They have been brainwashing and controlling individuals for a long time and they have become very good at it. I believe they are trying to find ways to hide the negative blow back from Leah Remini’s enlightening series.

  5. Psychiatric hospitals also keep patients against their will and drug them without their consent.

    I’m not defending Scientology, but there’s a lot to dislike about psychiatry.


    1. Not without a court order, unless it is an emergency situation.

    2. The people in asylums are a public order problem.

  6. With Trump these religious institutions that teach all sorts of stuff are going to get even bigger tax breaks, more access to political issues, etc. Read the papers. The thumpers and the space cadets are all the same, and they turn on the roulette wheel of ignorance, fear, and anger. If ever there was someone like Hubbard it is Trump, same imagination, megalomania, aspirations, etc.

    1. Your anti-Trump diatribes are sooo obigatory, and predictable. I bet if JT ran a post on Dudley Do-Right, you would compare Trump to Snidely Whiplash. I think you have some sort of mental illness.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Just like your endless diatribes about Da Libruls, Squeaky…

        Talk about mindless cults…

        All repeat after me…

        Da Libruls.. da libruls… da libruls… da libruls… da libruls… da libruls!!!!!

    2. I’m hoping that a minister from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (the Pastafarians) will deliver the opening prayer when Congress next reconvenes …

    3. I heard an interesting brief commentary on some of the religious cases before SCOTUS. It’s second hand, so forgive me if I bungle this, but here goes.

      I am firmly in support of the separation of Church and State. There should be no State mandated religion, nor a State mandated lack of religion. It’s frankly none of the State’s business. I believe in tolerance, whereby you can walk past people worshiping a variety of religions, or no religion, and think, “How interesting.” You should be free to pray in school or not pray in school. If you want to fervently beg Allah to help you before a test, then go for it. I have no problem in a school in a predominantly Christian neighborhood putting on Christmas plays, just as I have no problem with schools in Muslim dominant Dearborn, MI changing their players’ practice schedule to accommodate Ramadan fasting. Neither forces students to participate in a religious observation. Again, students can not participate and learn to say, “How interesting.”

      That said, there was an issue with religious schools wanting taxpayer money. My first thought was, of course not. But then it was explained that the money was for schools to improve the safety and comfort of the kids’ play area. The dispute was whether it was fair to exclude a Christian school, when the money was to go to the play area and not religious instruction. When it was explained that way, I looked at it differently. Whether it’s a Muslim, Jewish, or Christian school, is it fair to exclude them from a program intended to benefit the safety to children’s play areas based on religion? Because that does sound like government discrimination against religion.

      I have heard the exact same argument made for taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Taxpayer funds are not supposed to go for abortion services, but used only for other services. (And, yes, I understand the loopholes and ways in which they get around this, in some states more than others.)

      So how can the reasoning hold for taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood and not for religious schools?

      And if we approve the inclusion of religious schools in taxpayer programs, such as the playground renovation fund, then it must be fair and include all religions, including the Satanic school that I’m sure some Humanist will found in order to test this theory.

  7. They call themselves a church! They are not a church, they are a CULT. They divide families in the way the moonies did. They brainwash, they take in people in their in early teens so that they are trapped with NO WAY of supporting themselves should they leave because they aren’t educated. They are not allowed any view of the outside world rather similar of citizens in North Korea. They are indoctrinated to think they are the answer for the world. They work for a few cents an hour while the organization enriches itself. This is all done in the US and they have tax free status. It is egregious.

      1. No it doesn’t. Which church have you attended that operated like that?

  8. Was Tom Cruise found guarding those people in the woods and keeping them from escaping? I think that he may still have that Nazi uniform that he wore in one of his movies, along with an eye patch.

  9. Isn’t that the definition of religion? Forced to believe absurd imperatives against your will until you’re completelly robotic?

    1. Nope. and speaking as an Agnostic, you’re giving us sceptics a bad name saying stuff like that 🙂
      They’re often not “forced” but “indoctrinated” – the key different is that indoctrination can happen without the person realising that they’re doing it in an “unthinking way” which is slightly different from being “brainwashed”.
      And other than “absurd imperatives” there are also a lot of good teaching that get interpreted badly.
      And following a Belief System (not just religion) does not make you a Robot – its the lack of self-awareness and thought that usually does that.

      I’m sure you were just joking, but even the jokes can be a bit more accurate, or rather done in a way so that you sound less “ignorant of the nature of the situation” 🙂

  10. A good movie on cults is ‘Ticket to Heaven’. A cult is a cult is a cult is for people who can’t deal with the questions and accept any sort of nonsense as an answer.

  11. John Travolta will be fronting for this. I can hardly wait for Scientology to strike back. They are a mean enemy.

  12. I would speculate that the expectations of the people, and their punishments for not meeting those expectations, is the reason for any mental instability. This organization needs to be shut down.

  13. That’s “Shut Down” — shutdown is a noun, not a verb. (More Idiot Journalists Alive Today Than Ever Before would be a good title.)

  14. Going Clear, an HBO doc about Scientology, is a must see as a primer on this cult.

    1. I’ve wanted to watch that for a while. What I’ve read about Scientology, from its formation to its current state, is very troubling.

      I’m sure Tom Cruise will declare this all a conspiracy. That man has got to be so incredibly naive to fall for all the sycophant pampering with which he surrounds himself. He’s like their pet.

      1. Karen – Tom Cruise is so vested at this point he cannot back out. Think of all the apologies he would have to make.

        1. Think of all the dirt they have on him through all those sessions. They would massacre him if he ever left as they would do with numerous other high profile celebrity scientologists who decided to leave and have left. They also have many scientologists who are agents, producers, directors, etc. who would make sure they would be cast out of the community and not receive work. Blackballed and slandered. Nicole Kidman’s kids with Tom Cruise do not speak with her or acknowledge her. Leaving behind children, parents and possibly spouses who choose the church over them. These are all things they have to consider when leaving. It’s tantamount to blackmail and withholding or stealing their loved ones away from them.

      2. I worked at MCBA software in Glendale. It’s president was “Stina Hans”. MCBA had only two non-Hubbardite employees. Bizarre work environment. Employees are said to be “hatted” as a programmer, sales rep etc.

        Ms. Han made 12-13 million dollars from an investment in Earthlink. Her husband was a Hubbardite lawyer, so they made their bucks prior to the unpleasantness that befell the founder of Earthlink — or ERFlink, depending on whose life matters.

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