On February 9, 2012 a pretrial hearing was held in San Antonio, Texas in the case of Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization vs Debbie Cook. I traveled to San Antonio to observe for myself first hand what was going to happen, as I had personally known Debbie for many years to be the Chief Executive of Scientology’s “Mecca of technical perfection” in Clearwater, FL and was one of the recipients of her New Year’s Eve e-mail that prompted this lawsuit by her former employer, a religious organization I had been a part of for over 15 years.
My plan was to arrive at the courthouse very early so I could observe everything, including who was coming and going. I arrived at 7AM.
After the hearing was assigned to a judge, we all quickly moved to her courtroom. There were many members of the media there, and the courtroom was almost full. Judge Tanner decided to allow one video camera for the media pool, but on the second day she allowed all of them.
The only witness called to give testimony on the first day was Debbie, and she spent hours revealing details of her career in the Sea Organization, including the time she was incarcerated against her will at the International Management facility near Hemet, CA and at the facility she had once presided over in Clearwater, FL. The courtroom was shocked and outraged at what she reported under oath, to say the least.
Debbie was questioned extensively by her attorney Ray Jeffrey about David Miscavige. When Mr. Jeffrey told Debbie during his cross examination that he was going to ask her about “The Hole”, I felt a sense of shock and reached for my camera to get what video I could of what she was about to say.
Debbie’s testimony lasted all of Thursday and on Friday morning before Mr. Jeffrey could resume cross examination the Scientology attorneys informed Judge Tanner that they were withdrawing their motion which effectively ended the hearing.
Ultimately, the lawsuit was settled before the trial began.
Debbie’s website is gone, and I recently saw a photo blog that her husband Wayne began posting to. It appears that Debbie and Wayne are relocating to the Caribbean.
The reason I waited this long to write this post is because I intended to travel back to San Antonio and stay for the duration of the trial, so that I could observe the entire thing first hand. I needed to see and hear all of this for myself. I needed to confront what was actually going on in Scientology and the Sea Organization. I was willing to live with the fairy tale for too long, and because I was not willing to look for myself I contributed to something that was not saving Mankind, but harmful to many people of good will.
Here are some of the photos and video I shot to document what I observed: