torsdag, februar 16, 2012

Scientology showdown reveals claims of torture, abuse of dissenting members

Debbie Cook had already spent seven weeks confined in a facility known ominously as “The Hole” inside a small room with barred windows where she says she was forced to sleep on a bug-infested floor and served only bowls of inedible “slop.” There, Cook claims she endured mental and physical torture at the hands of leaders within the Church of Scientology. When she fled, church officials tracked her down, warning they'd shun and excommunicate her and her husband — or declare them “suppressive persons,” in Scientology speak — cutting them off from family, friends, everyone they held dear.

In the fall of 2007, leaders dragged Cook and her husband back to Clearwater, Fla., Scientology's spiritual mecca, where she spent three more weeks in confinement, in and out of forced confessions with church officials, hoping for a path out. Then the church provided one: by signing a sweeping non-disclosure contract, agreeing to never speak ill of the church, she could leave. “I would have signed I stabbed babies over and over again and loved it. I would have done anything at that point,” Cook said in sworn court testimony last week. “If I had refused to sign the agreement, then I wouldn't have been able to leave.”