Suicide and Violence: O to Z
BABY WATCHING. When Scientologists have nervous breakdowns (a common occurrence), they are subjected to “baby-watching”. This means you are isolated, for example, in a remote holiday cottage, with nothing to look at except stones and with one other person to keep an eye on you. Lisa McPherson was on baby-watch when she died.
Entries are arranged in alphabetical order according to surname and then by first name.
O for Andreas Ostertag (38), who died at Clearwater in 1985 while staying at the Fort Harrison Hotel. He was head of the Scientology mission in Stuttgart, Germany, and had apparently drowned while swimming to a sailboat anchored off of Fort Desoto Park. Reports published in Germany said Ostertag had been summoned to Clearwater by Scientology bosses to answer questions about financial problems at the Stuttgart mission and raised questions about the death.
O for Ken Ogger (The Pilot), a pioneer of the Freezone, who was found dead on 29 May 2007, in the pool of his house in Los Angeles. His hands were tied together with a wire, and there was a heavy concrete thing attached to his feet. According to Hedrun Beer “Ken Ogger was known as the author of analyses about the Church of Scientology’s mismanagement and authorship of auditing manuals. After his own wife betrayed his identity to the church, he suffered a breakdown and soon afterwards went through a severe health crisis. On 20th of May 2007 he reported back to his newsgroups in his old dynamic way. He published a series of texts in which he told about his physical recovery, about his plans to become active as ‘Pilot’ again, but also about the Church of Scientology’s attacks on his private life. Nine days later he was dead.” The Homicide Department of the LAPD ruled this death was homicide, not suicide.
O for Robert Oakes who made large donations to the “church” and was then excommunicated. See article.
P for Aaron Poulin – “just a kid”, who hung himself at the Holiday Inn in 2003. Born and raised in the Sea Org. He was CMO Int messenger, but was demoted to CCI, and was so caved in by that he committed suicide. He would have been about 20 years old. “I heard that he jumped out a window, not that he hung himself, but I would like to get the story first-hand from someone who was there. This sounds like he was a victim of some harsh ethics cave-in tech. It is so unfortunate. He was such a bright kid.”
P for Brand (Brad) Pince, from Ontario, Canada, husband of Penny Pince (who died of cancer), a former mission ED, who killed himself by asphyxiation in his car, c.1979, overburdened by a huge S.O. (LA) and Mission freeloader debt to the Church, by medical bills, and by disconnection. They were relatives of Bob Mills. This entire family was destroyed by Scientology.
P for Claudia Petschek, c.1995, Canada – suicide. She was a mission staff member and active in Scientology.
P for Don Premarukov who died in a car accident.
P for Elli Perkins, Buffalo, New York, who died 13 March 2003 (that date again). Her son Jeremy Perkins, aged 28, an untreated schizophrenic, killed his mother Elli by stabbing her 77 times. She bled to death on her bedroom floor. Jeremy was found not responsible for his mother’s murder by reason of insanity. His surviving relatives – his father, sister and brother-in-law – are still Scientologists and have disconnected from Jeremy to preserve their hope of eternity.
P for Grant Pool, who was discarded when he grew old. See Golden Oldies.
P for Louis Pagliaro– Louie Pagliaro was a public person taking courses at the Las Vegas Org in 1974. He was a casino pit boss and a professional photographer. He completed his grades and then went on to AOLA (The Advanced Organization of Los Angeles) to take OT I, OT II and OTIII. In 1975 he returned to Las Vegas and, thinking he was “OT”, lost a lot of his money gambling. Furious at being conned, he came screaming into the Org and demanded a refund for all of the money he had paid, over $100,000, from Eddie Walters, his Case Supervisor at the Las Vegas Org. He threatened Eddie Walters that if he did not get a refund he was going to expose the OT Levels. The next day his body was found badly mutilated in his living room. According to his live-in girlfriend, Lisa Gibson, all of his folders were pulled from the Org by the Guardian’s Office and during the police investigation Eddie Walters lied to the police and pretended that Louie Pagliaro had never taken any courses at the Las Vegas Org. His death is an unsolved murder and can be found on the books of the Las Vegas Police Department for the year 1975. Lisa Gibson thereafter married David Sandweiss, who may or who may not have been Quentin Hubbard’s homosexual lover, and who was also murdered two years later.
P for Randy Patterson, former husband of Laurie Best Patterson, who shot himself to death while on a Solo auditing level, probably the ‘clearing course.’ This was in the 70s when AOLA was located at the present celebrity center annex.
P for Remy Petit (25), a French Scientologist who worked as an OSA volunteer, then gave evidence against OSA at a hearing on 25 January 1993. But he was found dead a few days before the confrontation with Patricia Forestier, his OSA boss. Officially suicide, but? http://www.prevensectes.com/edj2.htm
P for the son of Daniele Possebon, OT IV, who committed suicide after his father died.
P for Vicki Payton or Fayton – considered dropping her body after the Key to Life Course but instead divorced her husband and left her job. She is OT V and ex-Sea Org. She was “given a wrong indication” in a Flag Ethics cycle. AOLA audited her for a year after her husband wrote up a complaint and sent it up lines.
P for Wayne Pruitt, from Missouri, believed to be on the upper OT levels, jumped to his death in 1970-71 from the Elks Bldg in Hollywood or the McArthur Park area.
R for Bruce Raymond was the dedicated Scientology thug who among his other achievements collected Paulette Cooper’s fingerprints for Project Freakout. He was also the B1 guy who did the dirty work on the Quentin Hubbard death situation in Las Vegas. Bruce was the most involved in the dirtiest part of the cover-up of the actual murder. He is said in various places to have died in 1975 but if he was involved in events surrounding the death of QH in 1976 this date is evidently wrong.
R for Gary Rist, a staff member at CCLA, had a breakdown in 1975-76. He kept going on drinking binges. HCO asked me to keep an eye on him. I went with him to visit his father one weekend, up at Bear Lake. Gary got drunk and was physically abusive. I had a terrible time getting him back to LA, but I got him there, took him to Sea Org berthing, and dropped him there. Regardless of HCO orders, I wasn’t taking physical abuse. I don’t know what happened to him. HCO never said anything about him again, and I never saw him at CCLA. Scientology – and his untreated alcoholism – ruined what had been a promising acting career.
R for Ilya Rakhmanov, 21, from the Russian town of Saransk, 600 km east of Moscow. He was a former Scientologist, who left the cult about three years ago. Last Friday, 15 October 2004 Ilya announced on several Internet forums that he wants to leave this life. “Ilia was very lonely. He hated totalitarianism, lies and hypocrisy. And he attempted to fight them. All alone. He put upon himself too heavy a burden, and it broke him. His life was very short, and his end was terrible.” Many Scientologists take depression with them as their inheritance from the cult.
R for Jude Richmond (41), a florist and possible Scientologist, who apparently drowned her handicapped daughter Millie (9) on 13-14 March 2009 (a significant date for Scientologists) and then drowned herself in the lake adjoining their luxurious Gloucester (England) home. Ms Richmond suffered from bipolar syndrome and according to the Sun newspaper (quoting a neighbour) ‘had become obsessed with Scientology’. This is not conclusive but there are links with other Scientology deaths by drowning, using cold water spray to purify, the date is suggestive, and Jude might have been distressed by demands to disconnect from her low-tone daughter.
R for Otto Roos, who did not die but was physically attacked by LRH in 1972: “upon entry was hit, kicked, screamed and shouted at...” The blows of an old man did not bother him, he said; but the violence did.
R for Rodney G. Rimondo, 22, from San Jose, California, who joined the Sea Org in Los Angeles in January 1986 and jumped, fell or was pushed out of a window at the LA Org on 25 November 1986. A suicide note found on his bunk bed at the Scientology center was a clumsy forgery. It was not in his handwriting, according to his mother, and made reference to a “wife” but Rimondo was single.
R for Ruth Ann Roberts, 58 – died in 2000. Editor would like to know the cause of death.
R for Venus Cecolia Rojo, 4 Jun 1980 – 13 May 1998 (age 17) who died at the Mohave desert before it got moved from LA; cause of death unknown
S for Bob Shaffner, OT3, killed himself in 1987 or 88 by riding his bike under a truck. According to Jesse Prince, Bobby and his wife Cindy were harassed because they wanted to have children, and children were frowned upon.
S for David Sandweiss – “suicide” in 1977. Was GO agent who allegedly confessed to being Quentin Hubbard’s lover. See end of article on the death of Quentin Hubbard.
S for Frank Suarez was an OT (perhaps OT III) who shot himself in late 1991 at his home in Broward County, Florida (near Ft.Lauderdale), leaving a wife and two children aged 9 or 10. The reason appears to be that he had used LSD in his youth and could not do higher levels in this life.
S for James Sharp, 15, murdered in Los Angeles in August 1969, probably by one or more members of the Manson “family”. Charles Manson may have had a grudge against Scientology for rejecting him when he believed he was a very important member. Another victim was Doreen Gaul, aged 19.
S for James Stewart, 36, who suffered from epilepsy, was found dead 50 feet below a window at the Advanced Org in Edinburgh Scotland, in August 1968. He was on OT3, a class 7 auditor, and the Executive Director of the Durban Org. A few days before his death, had completed an Ethics Condition wherein he stayed awake for eighty hours (a punishment which Hubbard inflicted on his second wife, Sara Northrup.) James had a head injury, sustained during a fit. The following notice was posted on the org bulletin board: “James Stewart has been put in a Condition of Doubt for having seizures in public and thus invalidating Scientology. If there is any reoccurrence of these either consciously or unconsciously on his part he will be placed in a Condition of Enemy.” At the time Doubt incurred 48 hours sleep deprivation. One of his tasks during this period was to crawl about the carpets picking out bits of fluff. Stewart’s real crime was telling the hospital that he was a Scientologist, thus supposedly giving Scientology a bad name. He had injured his head, and wore a blood-stained bandage while performing his demeaning “amends project.” It also possible that he was made to crawl across the steep and slippery slates of the Org roof, as a final part of his Doubt Formula. This bizarre practice was quite usual at the time. Jon Atack speculates that Stewart fell from the roof during this penance. This would be the first known death of a Scientologist that can be attributed to the instructions of the organization. Shortly before his death, Stewart had been suspended from his course at the AO. Stewart, described in the newspapers as an encyclopedia salesman, had been a founder of the Cape Town Org, and was a senior executive there. He was a Class VII Auditor, the highest level of training at the time, Clear number 153 (there were over 2,000 by then), and on OT 3 when he died. One of his Success Stories was published in the Auditor magazine at around the time of his death. It was headed, “How Scientology Training Has Helped Me In Life”: “I find that training and auditing experience helps me in innumerable ways – in driving a car (patiently, in heavy traffic), waking up in the morning, confronting anything unpleasant in life, keeping myself occupied in leisure hours, in writing letters, making telephone calls, in chance conversations with strangers – In fact, training helps in every conceivable situation or experience anywhere, any place, anytime – Try it for yourself and see!”
Scientology kills epileptics: http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/kult-epelep.htm
S for Jimmie Spheeris, 34, the musician, died in a motorcycle wreck near Venice Beach, 4 July 1984. At the time he was on the Philadelphia doctorate course and getting auditing. He was being given a lot of stress about being a homosexual and being in Scientology courses. Alternately, he was killed by a drunk driver.
S for Lloyd Speedy, who suicided when he had spent all his money on services, when he was actually Type III (psychotic).
S for Karen Simon-suicide, hung herself in London, May 1991, shortly after she refused to sign a Sea Org contract. She was preparing a negative report on Scientology at the time of her death. A number of critics have died conveniently and unexpectedly.
S for Lloyd Speedy – killed himself c.1989 after spending all of his money on services when he was psychotic.
S for Mark Schaatsbergen – left Scientology beginning 1988, because he felt they were perverting their own goals and didn’t live up to their statements. According to his mother, Mark’s reason to commit suicide in June/July 1998 was the enormous amount of pressure the cult still exerted on him. His father and sister remain members. His mother is still devastated.
S for Meagan Shield’s daughter, who hung herself.
S for Melvin Streim. A former Harvard student who lost his mind in Scientology: by 1981 he “was getting worse and worse, forgetting to shave, dressing in dirty clothes, and generally out-of-touch with reality. They off-loaded him around 1983 or 4. … he was schizophrenic, and broke. How does a former Harvard student end up as a bag boy?” http://www.skeptictank.org/hs/dps-cos.htm
S for Patrick William Salvo, once a great guy, “who seemed to have lost his mind completely before he died about 2005 (ref: Kathy Mace blogspot.com).
S for Paul Schaeffer who killed himself in the early 70s when he had just left the group. At the time, I was told that he got “messed up” because he left the group. Now we can deduce that he was thrown out and denied help because he, like so many others, had been “messed up”.
S for Quentin Schnehager– suicide in Copenhagen. Hung himself.
S for Rita Smith– who killed herself at by hanging at East Grinstead in 1987.
S for Steve Surrey kept having psychotic breaks in 1973, while he was the ED of Alan Walter’s Salt Lake City mission. “He’d be screaming his lungs out during sessions, begging for someone, anyone to help him. His auditor, Geri Knight, swore that he was just running out dramatizations, as if this was really good for him. I think Steve is still happily in Scientology.”
S for Susanne Schroder who went crazy (perhaps in Denmark); her husband put her in hospital.
S for Terri Schiavo, who was taken off life support by judicial order that aroused great controversy; her husband, Michael, a Scientologist, has been accused of influencing the judge.
T for Gene Trout or Traudt – suicide in about 1980. An OT 7.
T for Koos Nolst Trenite – In 1974, when Koos went to work for GO, he was “a normal, fun loving guy”. By 1979 he was dangerously unstable, showing symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia which persisted and which went untreated. On 25 December 1999 his daughter, then 19 years old, died in their home near Forchheim, Germany. Autopsy showed she had drowned. The father had the habit of torturing (or “treating”?) his wife with hot and cold jets of water. It was perhaps his version of the Purification Rundown. An infant daughter died in 1983 ten days after birth of an untreated respiratory infection. As far as is known Koos is still alive and still posting his very bizarre ideas, which identify Hubbard, not without reason, as the Devil.
T for Leah Theriery, a Scientologist, attempted suicide sometime in May 1974.
T for Rob Twedell, New Zealand, suicide.
T for Robert Thorburn, who died after being shot in the head at Las Vegas by James Duchesneau (30) and Frederick Weber (23) who had both been shot in the leg by Thorburn, with the same gun.
V for David Voorhees of Washington State went crazy in 1982 or 1983 in Los Angeles trying to audit the BTs and clusters. He was held captive in a room somewhere in Los Angeles for weeks and injected with Thorazine to calm him. David was told by his captors that he was getting Vitamin B injections. HEW 219.
V for Eric Vigeland who was in Scientology in Boston in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Eric was a psych case. He inherited some money, gave it all to the fund to help Mary Sue in the USGO/FBI lawsuit, and got a bunch of auditing as a “reward.” He was not a very stable person, and even by Scientology standards, he should have been shown the door. Scientology knew Eric was not stable when they took him in, and it’s not right to take every cent from someone who is ill-equipped to survive on his own in society.
V for Frank Vitkovic of Queen Street, Melbourne, Australia. In 1987 Frank Vitkovic opened fire in a business building in Melbourne, Australia, killing eight people and wounding five others before he plunged to his death trying to escape. Two months prior to the attacks he had taken a personality test offered by the Church of Scientology, which was said to mean he was extremely depressed; it was the second-worst test result the Scientology volunteer had ever seen. It was argued at the inquest that the organization had not taken the appropriate measures indicated by their information, which could have prevented the massacre, and that the test possibly contributed to Vitkovic’s mental state at the time of the shootings.
V for Patrice Vic, father of two young children, who died in March 1988 in Lyon, France, when he jumped to his death from the 12th storey window of his children’s bedroom. He had spent all his money on courses with the CoS, and had then borrowed 30.000 FFr (about $5000) to be able to take the Purification Rundown, a process described as ‘dangerous and worthless’. The French court ruled that the local branch had driven Vic to suicide, and found its leader Jean-Jacques Mazier guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Fourteen other scientologists were convicted on related charges. He went to his death believing his debit card had been stolen by prostitutes, when in fact it had been stolen by the criminals running the Lyons Org.
V for Suzine Van Sickle of Seattle was murdered in November 1990, when her daughter Jean Shumway, 59, and granddaughter Alexis Shumway, 29, both Scientologists, first tried to kill her with a drug overdose and, when that did not work, they smothered her with a pillow. $13,000 went to Scientology.
W for Bruce Welsch, a crew member on the Apollo, went crazy during the early 1970. He was locked up in a port aft cabin by Stuart Moreau and Ron Anderson, two ship crew members. HEW 204.
W for Gregory Bradford Wisner (27) whose body was found in the surf near Indian Rocks Beach, FL, on 20 January 2001. Reckoned to be an accident but he was a cocaine addict, born into a Scientology family and his father was a spokesperson for Narconon. Gregory attended Narconon in December 1997. Gregory had been raised in various Scientology families but had been disconnected.
W for Jim Whyte who died when train-hopping when drunk.
W for Linda Walicki: “I just butchered my family.” Linda Walicki , an untreated schizophrenic aged 25 killed her father Michael (52), a “Sponsor for Total Freedom”, and her sister Kathryn (15) and seriously wounded her mother Sue (52), at Revesby, Sydney, Australia on 7 July 2007. The cause of the attack was later determined to be a psychotic episode brought on by replacing her prescribed anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medication with the Scientology method of treating psychosis by isolation and vitamins (see McPherson, Perkins). Linda was diagnosed with mental illness at Bankstown Hospital in late 2006 but treatment was discontinued because her parents were Scientologists. At that time a magistrate refused to sign an order to continue her treatment. Three weeks before the killings her parents were apparently worried enough to reintroduce her to the prescription medication but it was evidently too late. Linda was declared not guilty by reasons of insanity. Vicki Dunstan, for the CoS, at first denied the family were Scientologists. Virginia Steward, a local Scientology spokesmen, also denied any knowledge of the family, then claimed the tragedy was all the fault of psychiatrists who had interfered and caused damage. Then she blamed Linda’s breakdown on earlier intervention by psychiatrists. “Church of Scientology denies stabbed man ‘a recruiter'” (Fiona Connolly, Daily Telegraph, News.com.au, 10 July 2007). But it did not take local journalists long to find that a man with the same name as the dead father is listed on the Church of Scientology’s “Honour Roll” in the 2002 Impact magazine which glorifies members worldwide for their efforts in “signing more than 20 members to the church” or for donating $US20,000 ($23,200) or more. The “church” typically tries to disconnect from any potential source of embarrassment such as suicides, murders, and even the death of its members from natural causes. It never offers counselling, shows any respect for the dead or responsibility for what has happened, or helps bereaved families in any way.
W for Larry Wheaton and 78 other people died when his Boeing stalled and came down crashing its tail on the Potomac River bridge before plummeting into the icy river. Four passengers and one stewardess survived and four car drivers also died. The pilot was a Scientologist who was not doing well on the Bridge. His wife was a pc at Flag and used most of her insurance money to pay for FSO services. An enquiry identified the cause of the crash as pilot error. The pilots had failed to switch on the engines’ internal ice protection systems, used reverse thrust in a snow storm prior to takeoff (against the rules), and failed to abort the takeoff after detecting a power problem while taxiing and visually identifying ice and snow buildup on the wings although there was time and space to do so.
W for Lawrence Wollersheim who attempted suicide immediately after receiving L-12 and other upper level auditing. He later sued the cult and won a major victory.
W for Margarit Winkelman (51), from Zurich, Switzerland, who drowned in 1980 when she walked fully clothed into the sea at Clearwater, Florida. As part of her Scientology course she had stopped taking Lithium and was treating herself with huge quantities of vitamins.
W for Margery Wakefield, who suffered psychosis and neglect during her twelve years in the cult (1968-1980). When she had problems on OT3 the solution was to sell her an even higher level of auditing called New Era Dianetics for 0T’s (NED for 0T’s for short). For weeks she went through indescribable agonies, unable to understand anything she read or heard.
W for Rudolph Willems of Germany, shot himself in 1987 after his steel company went bust, after he had given millions to the scam.
W for Trevor Woods and Denise Webb, of Cairns, Australia, who were both killed in a motorcycle accident in 2004.
W for Willie B. Wilson, went psychotic on OT 3 in the late 70’s or early 80’s. He was a wealthy Texas oil man. for
Y for Sherry Marie Yearsley, 47 – Murdered. May have an ex-member. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 6/21/2003]
Updated 19 November 2010