Church of Scientology's response

Published June 14, 2010

Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis says the accounts of Natalie Hagemo and her daughter, Shelby LaFreniere, are untrue.

Hagemo's description of being pressured to have an abortion and shunned while in the Sea Org: "False and denied."

That Shelby was mistreated while working for the church in Los Angeles and Clearwater: also "false and denied."

In a letter to the Times, Davis said: "The Church has the deepest respect for family and the creation of a family and children. There is no hostility towards pregnant women."

He addressed Hagemo's account that two officers from Scientology's Commodore's Messenger Organization, or CMO, pressured her to have an abortion in 1990. "Clearly this is a vivid incident for Ms. Hagemo; can she not recall the name of the 'CMO Officers' who spoke to her and berated her?" Hagemo says she cannot.

"Ms. Hagemo's contentions are the statements of someone who is rewriting history to justify her decision to leave Scientology," Davis said.

"No one tried to get her to abort her daughter. Once her daughter was grown, no one forced her to give permission for her daughter to join the Sea Organization, or withdraw that permission a few weeks later. No one forced her daughter to then return to the church as a trainee several years later, or to leave the church when she, like her mother, changed her mind."