Woman ‘imprisoned’ on Scientology cruise ship

An Australian resident has told Lateline, an Australian television news and current affairs program, that the Church of Scientology imprisoned her on its cruise ship The Freewinds.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Valeska Paris says the Church of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when she was 17, to prevent her mother taking her away from Scientology.

Ms Paris says she ended up being on the ship for over a decade, and was unable to leave The Freewinds for the first six years without an escort.

She has also described the church’s leader David Miscavige as a psychopath and says he should be put on trial.

Ms Paris was born into a Scientology family in Switzerland, and at the age of six she moved to Scientology’s headquarters in the UK where she was placed in its then youth wing the cadet org.


At 14 she joined the Church’s elite Sea Organisation, signing a contract binding her for a billion years, a commitment that would override her bond with her own family.

“I was basically hauled in and told that my mum had attacked the church and that I needed to disconnect from her because she was suppressive,” she said.

Her mother had denounced Scientology on French TV after her ex husband Albert Jaquier committed suicide.

A self made millionaire, his last days were spent in poverty, and in a diary he kept, he blamed the Church of Scientology for fleecing him of his fortune.

Ms Paris says the church was so worried her mother would take her away that Mr Miscavige intervened, ordering she be taken to the church’s cruise ship The Freewinds. […]

Ms Paris says she was held on the Freewinds against her will, and ended up on the ship for 12 years.

“I did not want to be there, I made it clear I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics, meaning it was considered not right,” she said.

“They take your passport when you go on the ship and you’re in the middle of an island. So it’s a bit hard [to escape] and by that time I was 18, I’d been in Scientology my whole life, it’s not like I knew how to escape,” she said.

The Freewinds is used as a base to deliver Scientology’s highest level counselling course known as Operating Thetan Level VIII.

It cruises around the Caribbean docking at small islands. The Church says ships have religious significance to Scientologists because its founder L Ron Hubbard, had researched and ministered the first Operating Thetan levels aboard a ship. […]

The Church of Scientology in the US refused to be interviewed for this story. Their lawyers sent Lateline a letter threatening legal action over a breach of a confidentiality agreement between the Church and Ms Paris.

In a statement the Church of Scientology said Ms Paris’ claims were false. […]

But Ms Paris says she signed the agreement under duress, and the Scientology statement has been contradicted by Ramana Dienes-Browning, a former a senior executive on the Freewinds.

Ms Dienes-Browning was responsible for monitoring staff behaviour and performance on the ship, and says Ms Paris was imprisoned on the ship.

“Their response is a lie, their response is a cover-up,” she said.

“She made it very clear she did not want to be there. She had been sent to the ship so as not to be in contact with one of her parents and that’s not what she wanted, she was very, very distressed.

“I would definitely consider it imprisonment because there was no choice in the matter.”

Ms Dienes-Browning is now working on a photographic exhibition re-enacting her time in Scientology. She says she too was held against her will on the Freewinds and suffered abuse. […]

The Church of Scientology denies their leader David Miscavige sent Ms Paris to the Freewinds. When asked if this allegation was put to Mr Miscavige the Church failed to respond.

Read the ‘Church’ of Scientology’s response at the end of ABC’s story

Keep in mind that according to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who himself could not keep truth and fiction apart, any enemy of Scientology “May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” (See also ‘Dead Agenting‘).

Such unethical policies are behind the Scientology’s hate- and harassment activities.

The publishers of Religion News Blog consider the Church of Scientology to be a hate group, due both to its record of hate- and harassment activities, and its relationships-destroying ‘disconnection’ policy.

ABC’s Lateline has broadcast a number of report on the ‘Church’ of Scientology, including this recent program in which Valeska’s husband speaks out regarding his experiences in the cult:

Scientology destroys friendships and family relationships through its ‘disconnection’ policy
Disconnection story of Valeska Guider (nee Paris)
Consumer Alert: Scientology
Scientology’s Billion Years contract

See also:
Former Scientologists Level Accusations against David Miscavige
More Church of Scientology defectors come forward with accounts of abuse by David Miscavige

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014