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Ex-Clearwater Scientology officer Debbie Cook testifies she was put in “The Hole,” abused for weeks


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday February 10, 2012

The Church of Scientology’s attempt to silence a former member who criticized the ‘church’ in an explosive email have backfired.

Former Scientology executive Debbie Cook explained in court how two men entered her office.

The men took Cook away to a place called the “The Hole,” two doublewide trailers on the church’s 500-acre California compound where, other high-ranking church defectors have told the Tampa Bay Times, Miscavige sent underperforming executives. The windows were covered with bars, and security guards controlled the only exit, Cook said.

Cook said she was held there seven weeks with more than 100 other Scientology executives. They spent their nights in sleeping bags on ant-infested floors, ate a soupy “slop” of reheated leftovers and screamed at each other in confessionals that often turned violent. For two weeks, she said, Miscavige had the electricity turned off as daytime temperatures in the desert east of Los Angeles topped 100 degrees.

Cook testified Thursday that the experience in the summer of 2007 gave her nightmares and was part of the reason she was so eager to leave the Scientology staff later that year and sign a severance agreement never to speak ill of the church.

“I would have signed that I stabbed babies over and over again and loved it. I would have done anything basically at that point,” she said during several hours of sworn testimony in San Antonio district court. [...]

Cook’s testimony took listeners through an extraordinary tale: from the church’s “Hole” in the California desert, to the Clearwater campus that is home to Scientology’s spiritual mecca, to her escape in 2007 that ended when a church team tracked her to a South Carolina restaurant and boxed in her car in the parking lot.

Once the respected head of the Clearwater operation and known to Scientologists worldwide, Cook said she was “basically imprisoned” in Clearwater during her final months with the church.

The Tampa Bay Time says that in the summer of 2007 Cook and her husband left the Church of Scientology. On the way to see Cook’s father, “were intercepted and persuaded to return to Clearwater to properly separate from the church staff. If they didn’t go along, she said, a church official said her husband’s Scientology relatives would sever all contact with him.”

In Scientology-speak this is called ‘disconnection‘ — a practice in which a Scientologist severs all ties between themselves and friends, colleagues and/or family members that are deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology.

After “three grueling weeks” the couple eventually signed nondisclosure contracts.

Research resources on Scientology

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