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The Scientology response

SCIENTOLOGY'S RESPONSE:

The Times asked the church to respond to Don Jason's account that he was locked in his berth, watched 24/7 by cameras, blocked from leaving the gangway and felt his only way to escape was over the bow and down a mooring line. The church responded that Jason voluntarily went to the Freewinds to do the Rehabilitation Project Force program. "On 21 November 1996, Jason changed his mind and left, ending up in Milwaukee where he took a job as a truck driver.''

MAT PESCH

FROM SCIENTOLOGY FILES:

• Pesch last worked at the church base on Oct. 30, 1983. He was found unfit to be an executive and assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force in Clearwater.

The information is contained in a 1983 document from the "Fitness Board" at Scientology's international base in California. As security director there he "failed to wear his hat" (do his job properly). It said he was "heavily disaffected and he spread this disaffection to other members of the security force.'' It indicated he was in charge of some "interested parties" and "allowed them to make illegal phone calls, allowed them to not work and gave them data" they weren't supposed to have.

• The church said Pesch posts on the Internet as Mr. Peacock, "pretending knowledge" about conditions at the international base, "a property he has not seen in 26 years."

• The church provided a document called a "Suppressive Person Declare'' for Pesch, dated March 2, 2005.

"Pesch has proven he has no intention of applying the technology of Scientology to himself or his dynamics,'' the document states. "He has been given many opportunities while on staff to handle his situations with policy and technology, however he has chosen to continue to commit High Crimes.''

It said he "engaged in unethical sexual activities with Amy Scobee when he was her auditor …''

WHAT PESCH SAYS NOW:

• The Fitness Board document refers to an incident where he was in charge of detaining about 10 people at a remote ranch called Happy Valley. "I was having trouble holding the guys and I kept being told to just handle them and keep them from leaving. Well, eventually the guys just walked down the dirt road and headed for the town a few miles away. They had had enough."

• He and his wife, Amy Scobee, post together on the Internet as Mr. Peacock. He last was at the base 20 years ago, not 26. Their postings incorporate Scobee's experiences, which were as recent as 2003.

• Regarding "unethical sexual activities," he and Scobee felt the church dealt with them unfairly and they decided to leave. They were not married at the time. "In blatant defiance to the whole system we had sex. Not a big deal by most people's standards ... a big deal by Scientology rules."

DON JASON

FROM SCIENTOLOGY FILES:

• The church provided copies of Jason's typed declaration and confession he signed at Marty Rathbun's request in Milwaukee.

"In the years prior to my Scientology involvement,'' the declaration states, "I was addicted to drugs. I regularly stole and cheated others to support my drug habit. . . . In fact, I robbed a number of bars when I was a teenager.''

Jason got into Scientology, "and I realized this religious philosophy could save me from certain death as a drug addict and criminal.''

• Scientology helped him, but he failed Scientology, his declaration states. He stole $4,000 worth of church property, he lost $25,000 of his wife's money through bad investments, he stole $2,500 from her and he had an extramarital affair.

"The Sea Org is a group that I recognize as an ethical group beyond compare and based on my actions and prior lifestyle, I did not fit these high standards.''

The church denied that David Miscavige wanted to speak to Jason the day he flew to Milwaukee by way of Atlanta. The church said that when Rathbun was debriefed immediately after his trip, he made no mention of Miscavige wanting to get on the phone with Jason.

WHAT JASON SAYS NOW:

• The section about his youth is exaggerated.

"The truth: I was a 15- to 17-year-old teenager who lived in a nice suburb with my mom and dad. My friends and I smoked pot, snuck out of the house, drank booze when possible and were involved in other petty mischief. . . . We were not exactly reinventing the wheel with this behavior."

He had after-school and summer jobs. "Not exactly the strung out, dangerous criminal junkie they try to portray."

• The $4,000 in stolen items from the church was an exaggerated, ballpark figure. Some weeks he stole $10 to $15 worth of personal hygiene items, food and cigarettes from the staff commissary early in his Sea Org career. It was a three-year period when the church sometimes didn't pay staff their $30 weekly stipend, or paid a fraction of it.

"Twenty years have passed and this (stealing) still bothers me. But the truth is the truth, and there it is."

• The bad investments were the result of he and his wife being taken by a crooked broker. "This was no secret nor did I get in any trouble for it."

• The $2,500 he "stole'' from his wife was in the category of buying things like clothing without first consulting her. The amount covers their seven years of marriage.

• He has a clear memory of Rathbun at the Atlanta airport, holding a cell phone over his head and saying Miscavige wanted to talk to him.

• He noted that the church does not deny he had to escape the Freewinds.

The Scientology response 11/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 11:54am]

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