A story by Tony Ortega in the Village Voice Blog tells of the deceit and lies perpetrated by Narconon officials and supporters. In the article, dated today 8/29/12 it also contains a statement by Gary Smith, the head of Narconon Arrowhead in the state of Oklahoma, saying words to the effect that Narconon is not Scientology!!! For those of us who watch the Scientology creature Narconon this makes juicy reading.
Court Testimony: Narconon Intentionally Deceived a Florida Drug Court About Its Licensing.
There’s been a lot of attention focused on Scientology’s flagship drug rehab in Oklahoma — called Narconon Arrowhead — because of recent deaths there and investigations by multiple local and state agencies.
But as we indicated previously, there are also serious questions being asked about Narconon’s facility in the Atlanta area. The 2008 death of Narconon patient and employee Patrick Desmond produced a lawsuit by his family, and documents in that case provide a startling look at the deceptions that appear to be a part of the Narconon business model.
We now have court testimony from the lawsuit which shows that Narconon deceived a Florida drug court in order to keep quiet that it didn’t have licensing to house patients.
The Florida drug court, meanwhile, tells the Voice that it now knows it was lied to. And it isn’t happy about it.
Patrick Desmond was sent by his family to the Atlanta drug rehab center after being sentenced for six months by the Brevard County, Florida drug court. Desmond’s sentence required that he be sent to an in-patient facility, somewhere he would be housed and closely monitored as he fought his addictions.
What the Desmonds and the Brevard County court didn’t know was that Narconon in Georgia has never been licensed to run that kind of facility. By state law, it can’t house anyone, or provide around-the-clock monitoring. Its licensing is strictly for an out-patient facility.
It’s in-patient rehab centers, however, that really bring in the big money. Narconon centers that house clients typically charge about $30,000 for a three-month program.
In Atlanta, however, Narconon’s executive director Mary Rieser had tried and failed to get the kind of licensing that would allow her to house patients at the rehab facility.
So instead, court records show, she asked a Scientologist couple to lease a set of apartments at a nearby complex called One Sovereign Place, and then began placing four Narconon patients in each apartment there. Prospective clients, like the Desmonds, were not told that Rieser had no license to be running an in-patient facility — but they were charged like they were sending their loved ones to a legitimate in-patient rehab.
What’s worse, investigations by Narconon Georgia’s parent company, Narconon International, found that drug use was rampant at One Sovereign Place, with employees (who tended to be former patients) joining in. Desmond, court records suggest, was using Oxycontin at the apartment complex, and one night went out with a friend, tried heroin, overdosed, and died. The Desmond family, in their lawsuit, wants to tell a jury that Narconon was negligent by allowing their son to be so unsupervised at the unlicensed housing complex.
We wondered, however: how has Narconon Georgia convinced drug courts to send patients to a supposedly in-patient facility, while not arousing the interest of Georgia state officials, who consider it an out-patient rehab?
We got an answer to that question in the deposition of a former Narconon Georgia employee, Allison Riepe, which was made public this week.
Like other Narconon employees, Riepe was a former patient and a recovering addict herself. She had numerous jobs at the center, but at the time Desmond was there in 2007 and 2008, she was a legal liaison who handled all the communication with drug courts.
During her deposition, which was taken January 26, she was shown letterhead that was used for official Narconon Georgia correspondence. On it, the facility was described as an “Out-Patient Drug Treatment Program and Education.”
But then she was shown another letter, this one sent to Desmond’s probation officer at the Brevard County, Florida drug court, which had something different on its letterhead. The word “out-patient” had been removed, and Narconon was now described as “Drug Education and Rehabilitation.”
Riepe was asked about the change.
“I took it to Mary and I said, obviously I can’t send this, it says ‘out-patient drug rehab’ and that’s not going to work because this person is court ordered to be in an in-patient facility, so what am I suppose to do with it? And she said take the ‘out-patient’ out.”
“OK, So you knew that Patrick was sentenced to an in-patient facility?” asked attorney Rebecca Franklin.
“Yes,” Riepe answered.
“Did Mary Rieser know that?”
But lies, scandal and lawsuits are to be found wherever Scientology rears its ugly head. From the start the Narconon program attracted some publicity they would rather have done without. Here, the our vault of former Scientology members we have the story of Mark Jones was the former head of Narconon for the USA until he quit Scientology. He is interviewed in a three-part series in Turlsa done in 1989 that exposes Narconon as a front group for the cult. Too bad these warnings were not heeded until four people had died at the hands of Scientology quacks and crooks.