The following is from the Sydny Morning Herald, Sept. 23, 2011.
The Church of Scientology has hit back at a former first grade rugby league player who accuses the head of the church of being violent towards members.
Chris Guider, who played for St George in the mid-1980s, gave up his sporting career at the age of 24 to join the church full-time.
Mr Guider said after two and a half years he moved to the US, where he worked closely with David Miscavige.
“I found out that the leader of the church, David Miscavige, is basically a very toxic person,” Mr Guider told ABC Television’s Lateline program.
“He’s a violent individual. I’ve seen him physically beat one staff member … who worked very closely with Miscavige for a lot of years.”
Mr Guider said Mr Miscavige told him to hit a colleague, who was putting together a promotional video for Scientology.
“Miscavige told me to beat the guy with the stick. I looked at him and I refused to do that.
“He took that very, very seriously because I didn’t do what he wanted me to do.”
Mr Guider said he was punished over the incident and sent to the church’s Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) in Sydney for two and a half years.
“It’s like prison except it’s worse. You don’t have television. You don’t have visitor rights. You can’t read the newspaper. You can’t read books. You can’t listen to music.”
The Church of Scientology in Sydney said in a statement: “Chris and his wife Valeska Guider, both former long-term religious ministers of the Church of Scientology, are currently engaged in an ongoing action against the Church of Scientology with the Fair work Ombudsman (FWO).
“Their negative claims have only now surfaced since this FWO action was lodged, and are not backed up by statements from their contemporaries.
“These allegations appear to have been made to bolster their claims for money to which they are not entitled.”
The Church of Scientology produced copies of sworn declarations from church members who deny the incident with Mr Miscavige.
These included his ex-wife and the editor involved.
It also said the RPF is a voluntary religious program offered to provide a second chance to people who have failed in their responsibilities.
“Upon completion of the program in 2008, Chris Guider featured in a report in The Sydney Morning Herald that he personally arranged through an independent source and spoke glowingly about Scientology,” the Church of Scientology statement said.
“In this article he says, ‘I passed through rigorous training programs and learnt professional-level pastoral counselling and delivered it, aiding people overcome their self-doubts and reach the highest levels of performance.’
“Such a declaration is not in keeping with someone unhappy with the RPF or the Church.”
Important update, Chris Guider’s wife speaks out:
Scientology Held Woman Aboard the Freewinds for 12 Years Against Her Will: Aussie TV
Village Voice Blog by Tony Ortega, 11/28/11.
NEW: See our lengthy interview with Valeska Paris, with much more information about her background, her time aboard the Freewinds, and her memories of Tom Cruise’s infamous 2004 birthday aboard the ship.
Australian journalist Steve Cannane of the ABC program Lateline e-mailed us early this morning with this stunning new report which aired only a few hours ago in that country.
Valeska Paris tells Cannane that she joined Scientology’s hardcore Sea Organization — signing its standard billion-year contract — at only 14 years of age. Three years later, after her stepfather committed suicide and her mother denounced Scientology on French television, Paris was ordered to “disconnect” from her family. She says that church leader David Miscavige then enforced that disconnection by having her put on the cruise ship, the Freewinds, that sails the Caribbean and caters to high-level church members.
Paris was told she’d be on the ship for two weeks. Instead, she says she was held there against her will for 12 years. For the first six years, she tells Cannane, she couldn’t leave the ship without an escort. When he asks her if she tried to leave, she answers, “I’d been in Scientology my whole life. It’s not like I knew how to escape.”
Another former Sea Org member, Ramana Dienes-Browning, backed up Paris’s claims, but ABC got denials from Scientology, which says that each of them is lying.
Paris says she spent some of her time aboard the ship working at hard labor in the engine room. At one point, the work was so arduous, she passed out for more than 4 hours. At Marty Rathbun’s blog in 2010, Paris described her life on ship as a prisoner:
I was put in this small room by myself with a camera monitoring my movements. A security guard escorted me anywhere I went, I had to eat in the engine room and was not allowed to eat in the control room because it was air conditioned. I was not allowed to work with anyone so I was alone at all times…I was in the engine room for almost 3 months full time. I hated it and just wanted to get off the Ship, I was of course not allowed to call my family at all or talk to anyone.
Paris finally left the ship in 2007 when she was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force in Sydney as punishment. The church tells the public that the RPF is a spa-like retreat that church members attend voluntarily, but ex-members always describe it more as a prison detail that is more re-education camp than Club Med.
While at the RPF, Paris met her husband, former rugby star Chris Guider, who was the subject of a previous report by Cannane. In that report, Guider talked about personally witnessing Miscavige getting violent with his employees.
For the rest of the story go here: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/11/valeska_paris_scientology_freewinds.php