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April 3rd, 2010
08:14 AM ET

Allegations of Abuse: Who's telling the truth?

Note to readers and viewers: The Anderson Cooper 360 series "Scientology: A History of Violence," which reported competing claims and denials about violence at the top of the Church of Scientology has attracted a number of complaints from senior members of the Church of Scientology (including Mr. Miscavige) and the Church of Scientology itself.

The series is now the subject of a letter of legal complaint in the United Kingdom. The complainants strongly dispute the allegations and the assertions made against them and covered in the course of the series by former members of the Church of Scientology.

Anderson Cooper | BIO
AC360° Anchor

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sam

    If you have to pay to be part of a religion then it is no longer a religion. It you have to pay to be a more pious person then it is not a religion. Great series Anderson!

    April 5, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  2. Simon Peters

    I usually defend Scientology on the basis that this is a free country and you are free to believe whatever you want to believe as long as you don't take away someone's freedom or hurt them. I also believe that the "mainstream" religions and their followers often do what they can to delegitimize fringe religions such as Scientology. Having said that, you can't watch these two groups of people being interviewed and not see that the men are the truth tellers and that the women are coached and have reasons to lie ("acceptable truth" - that's a good one!). There is something drastically wrong with the Scientologist leader and the culture within the church's organizational structure. It's more than a little scary.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  3. Lisa

    It's become a "her word against his" scenario. I guess what really perpetuates the exchanges of accusations between the parties is the fact that both of them do not dwell on the real core issue: what is right, true, and fair as against what is not. On the side of those who allegedly suffered physical abuse, I hope you keep the fight till you expose the truth and justice is obtained. And now that you're out of that religion, remember that you're never out of God's reach. Any teaching that says a person is lost is a deception.

    On the other hand, those women of scientology need not defend their leaders. If they believe their leader/s are upright and have done nothing wrong, they should have peace and calmness in spirit that come from a clear conscience.

    April 4, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  4. John Mc Nally

    And ex-wives are ALWAYS supportive of their ex-husbands.

    April 4, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  5. Jamie Jackson

    Thanks for this very good series. It is a challenge to discern who is telling the truth, but the previous comments raise some good suggestions about sorting that out. I strongly agree with Elizabeth; while I'm not a cult survivor myself, more and more who are keep coming out of the woodwork and telling another part of the overall story of Scientology's reign of mind control. This is a subject which will yield much more such coverage in the months and years ahead.

    April 4, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  6. Marissa Sanchez

    These women are current high ranking Scientologists, it would surprise me if they DIDN'T do everything in their power to protect the church, including lie on camera. If they didn't have anything to hide, why so much aggression in their responses? Also, the fact that there was any sort of violence and that it was handled "internally" (AKA keeping it hush hush from legal authorities) just shows the public how ugly things are in this so called "church". And where's David Miscavige in all this? Why not come forward and defend the church he is leading? After all, these allegations could potentially ruin the church and they are against HIM personally. It's a disturbing truth, but I do believe the allegations of these men. I think it would be a good move for the Church of Scientology to do some major internal reform.

    April 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  7. Margaret Williams

    My only close-up experience with Scientology was in the late 1960's when a good friend was convinced to join. A disenfranchised young man with no real direction, he was promised a "family" and support. What he got was a bill for $2000 so he could reach his next "level of clearing," whatever that was, and the leadership of his group were very controlling. I stayed as far away as I could get.

    Sounds like I was right in my judgement of the "church" as an abusive lover!

    April 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  8. rtrip

    Anderson and CNN

    Thank you so much for the Scientology report. I have a family member who has become a Scientoligist and has changed completely. I hope your reporting goes much deeper. I do believe the "accusers/escapees" in your report. I see first hand the brainwashing/mind control. I have wondered for years why no one was investigating Scientology. They are gaining control through subversive methods ie private schools, addiction programs, "community involvement" programs, politics, etc.

    Keep up the good work!

    April 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  9. Marlene Thomas

    Thank you Anderson for airing the story on possible church abuse in the Scientology church. My inpression is that the women in the Scientology Sea Ogranizatrion were lying. They were in attack mode, being aggressive in their words and how they presented themselves.
    Everyone deserves dignity. Kudo's to the men that left this mind controlling, abusive organ ization. Them gals left a bad impression.

    April 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  10. Jack

    Why is David Miscavige reluctant to appear on the show ?
    the Head of the Church should be willing to answer questions .His silence lends credence to his accusers. He should be willing to confront the accusations and deal with those he considers merchants of chaos. It would make a good series even better.

    April 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  11. Elizabeth

    Thank you for doing the series on Scientology. I spent most of my adult life in Scientology and I can attest to the pervasive culture of mind control and abuse that exists in that organization. Your series is important because it will help to draw out many more of its victims who thus far have had little recourse to address the crimes and abuses that were perpetrated against them. Your series only covered one aspect of abuse- the physical beatings and culture of violence carried out by Scientology's current leadership. That is only a tiny piece of a much, much bigger story. I hope you will consider doing more on this subject. You will have no lack of material or victims if you do. As you already know they have deep pockets and will try every legal move possible to stop you from reporting the truth. Well, how do you think Scientology's individual victims handle that same exact kind of intimidation? You are our voice to the world. I hope you will consider doing more.

    April 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  12. Melody

    If those former members just talked "occasionally" after they left the Church, as Tom DeVocht indicated, how and why did they make the allegations against David Miscavige together? Is that an coincidence for these people to allege at the same time?

    April 3, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  13. Maggie

    All the ex-members were quite clearly telling the truth. The wives had obviously been coached in their replies beforehand. Why the aggression towards Anderson when he was simply asking a straightforward question? They were attacking at every turn and all too eager to state how David Miscavige was not at the property during these incidents even when that was not the question! Word is out that Miscavige's Black Ops now have Anderson in their sights! Another footbullet for Miscavige – never attack someone who is popular. Anderson rocks!

    April 3, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  14. Patricia Kowalski

    I think the former members are telling the truth.
    The current members i am sure will lie to defend their church to the bone. Since it is very protective of its status. And bad media wouldnt be to their benefit.

    April 3, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  15. Chuck Philpott

    I think the reps. of the Church are way to defensive to be telling the truth,and the leader of the Church refuses to answer questions. Sounds like the Pope. these religions are to big and feel they are above not only the law but all of us as well

    April 3, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  16. Rosie J

    I have to say that I was in a church for 15 years and I used to hear things about my pastor and his wife but never believed it. The sad thing is a lot of us used to defend them if anyone was to mention any negative things about them. Come to find out that the allegations were true. The people who were bold enough to expressed themselves or complained about the pastor and his wife were considered to be the bad apples and most of us were against them until I switched places. What I'm trying to say is, I think the guys might be telling the truth from my experienced. Watching the clip of you interviewing these ladies brings back memories. It really reminds me of myself years ago. I think the only way to get the truth out is by secretly record his action because it will be difficult to get members to believe these guys or be on their side.

    April 3, 2010 at 10:06 am |