All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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AFFIDAVIT OF SUZETTE M. DEARING
7856 Rosswood Drive
August 10, 1989
From January 1975 to July 1983 I was a staff member at the Church of Scientology, Mission of Davis (COSMOD) at Sacramento. At Ms. Wakefield's request, I am writing down what I know of the Church's illegal and bizarre activities.
The thing that stands out most about my first years on staff is the sheer lack of sleep. We had staff meetings every Wednesday night that lasted from midnight until 3:00 - 4:00 in the morning. We were all required to work six to seven days a week from 9:00 AM until 11:30 PM (or later), in violation of local and state labor laws. However, the party line was that we were "volunteers" who were paid a "parsonage allowance", as opposed to salaried employees. (The "parsonage allowance" ranged, on average, from $0 on bad weeks to $100 on good weeks.) On Thursdays, then, we were forced to perform our duties on as little as three hours of sleep.
After a few months of this, I became quite ill and decided to quit. Staff members who wished to quit were seen by a person called an "Ethics Officer", whose job, in retrospect, was to brainwash us until we "saw the light" and decided to stay. I was told to remain in a small room, about 8' by 8' and write up my "O/Ws", a list of everything bad I had ever done in my entire life. When I thought I was complete, the Ethics Officer would look over what I had written, and if I still felt I wanted to quit he would send me back to the small room to continue writing. I did this for a couple of days until I "decided" to remain on staff. Note that this was standard handling for anyone who wanted to quit staff. I tried to quit staff several times over the years, and was always forced into a small room to "confront my O/Ws".
In the first years I was on staff (1975-1979) we were actively discouraged from seeking medical help if we were sick. It was felt that all illnesses were "spiritual" in nature. I remember one man named Tom Stevens, who had appendicitis that went untreated for a couple of days until he finally had emergency surgery. He was forced back on the job by the Church after only two days of recovery and performed his duties in considerable pain. On another occasion my supervisor, Cathy Moore, suffered a miscarriage and called me to her house to counsel her to make the miscarriage stop. Needless to say, it didn't and she eventually was hospitalized.
I remember when I was pregnant with my second child in 1983, I asked the director of the Church, Jeff Cota, if I could cut back my hours. I was very ill (during my fifth month I lost five pounds) and my physician was concerned about me. His response was that he was convinced that my difficulties were "spiritual" in origin and that he wanted me to receive counselling rather than go home and rest. I couldn't convince him otherwise.
In the early 1980's the Church went into the pharmaceutical business with a service called "The Purification Rundown". It involved exercise, stints in a sauna, and megadoses of vitamins. Niacin was believed to flush out effects of radiation and drug poisoning. The program usually lasted 10 - 14 days, although some people had difficulty with the vitamins making them ill and spent longer on the service. Towards the end of my "Purif" I was taking about 2400 IUs of vitamin E, 200 mgs of Niacin and correspondingly high amounts of the other B vitamins, A, and C. A member of the Church would direct your vitamin dosage. At the time, this was a man named Chris Nesbitt.
In 1982 our mission was visited by a group of people who called themselves the "International Finance Police (IFP)". At that time, the mother church was convinced that other churches and missions across the planet were withholding tithes (our mission had to pay approximately 10% of the weekly gross income to the mother church). For a couple of weeks we were forced to work seven days a week, anywhere from 14 - 18 hours a day in preparing our files to document everyone who had ever paid any money to us. They demanded thousands of dollars from us: I don't know how much we paid them. I know they demanded $15,000 a day for every day they were at our Mission. As a staff member I was making from $40 - 80 dollars a week. My husband was supplementing his income with a part time job so we could buy food and rent an apartment. I remember being really upset because my supervisor, Jeff Cora, would not let me go home and spend some time with my year-old infant. She spent her days and nights at a church-run day care center.
The last thing that happened at the Church was a big meeting the IFP held at the Sacramento Organization. They invited everyone who had ever been associated with the Church. They posted staff members as guards at all the building's exits to prevent people from leaving. The upshot was everyone who was not on staff had to either pay thousands of dollars to the Church in Clearwater, Florida for counselling or be expelled from the Church. Since I was familiar with the building I was able to sneak out; two weeks later I left the Church.
I was always told by one of the senior staff members, Paul Armstrong, that if I quit staff and quit the Church my life would go to hell. He would attend meetings and tell us that, through his advanced training and counselling, he knew what hell was and gave us rather descriptive, horrifying descriptions to frighten us into staying in line. In 1982 he insisted that the "parishioners" at COSMD Sacramento and Davis chip in enough to make the payments on his brand-new Saab. All the staff and public people had to chip in and buy a $10,000 watch for Martin Samuels, who founded the missions and lived in a very expensive home in Oregon, built by staff members. Also, at that time, Jeff Cora, the director of our mission, lived in a very nice 2,000 square foot home in a suburb of Sacramento. At current prices, that house would run around $220,000. The mission was his and his wife's only source of income, yet somehow he could afford mortgage payments and a new car when my husband and I barely could make $200 rent payments and feed ourselves and a year-old baby and were using food stamps to buy groceries. Looking back on it, I think there was a lot of greed and graft and dishonesty on the part of these men, yet at the time we were told we were "flowing power" and making them more able to do their jobs.
I am not personally aware of illegalities surrounding "reg cycles", which were when people called "registrars" signed people up for church services and had them pay. However, occasionally there would be mission policies issued cautioning the registrars against kiting checks and acting as unlicensed loan brokers, so I am positive those activities were going on. I know that one registrar, Sherese Graves, acted as an unlicensed loan broker on at least two occasions.
I realize this is not a formal deposition, however, all the above is true to the best of my knowledge.