The daughter of the president of the Church of Scientology in Australia has spoken out against the organisation, describing it as toxic and accusing the church of tearing some families apart.
In an exclusive interview on ABC 1’s Lateline, Scarlett Hanna has detailed life growing up in the former Cadet Org: a group set up for the children of Scientology’s elite unit, the Sea Org.
“The best way I can describe it is cattle,” Ms Hanna said of their treatment. We were property of the organisation.”
Ms Hanna is the only child of Vicki Dunstan, president of the Church of Scientology in Australia, and Mark Hanna, a former Asian/Pacific director of public affairs for the church.
She claims children of Sea Org members rarely had contact with their parents, lived in separate homes and were granted only 20 minutes each night with their parents.
“I can’t describe it. It was just an incredibly lonely childhood. I had no-one to talk to or to look after to me, or to ask me how I was after school or any of those things that most of us take for granted,” Ms Hanna told ABC 1’s Lateline.
Sarah McClintock, a current member of the Sea Org, grew up with Ms Hanna and rejects the allegations.
Sheila Huber, a former Sea Org member, says she witnessed poor treatment of children at the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.
Virginia Stewart from the Church of Scientology in Sydney denies the church routinely separates family members.
Ms Hanna says she decided to speak out following the screening of a Four Corners story on Scientology on ABC1 earlier this year.
The Cadet Org no longer exists in the Church of Scientology. Ms Hanna’s parents declined to be interviewed by Lateline.
Disconnection: a practice in Scientology, in which a Scientologist severs all ties between themselves and friends, colleagues and/or family members that are deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology.