Last year, as Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, was sinking deeper and deeper into trouble, we noticed that an attorney in Las Vegas, Ryan Hamilton, had begun advertising online for Narconon victims. It was another sign of just how bad things were getting for Scientology’s rehab facilities, which were being sued and investigated in several states.
Well, Hamilton’s ad apparently paid off, because this week he filed a federal lawsuit against Scientology’s Narconon facility in Nevada, and the lawsuit’s complaint is one of the best written and most thorough that we’ve ever read.
David, Stacy, and Jack Welch of Texas are suing Narconon Fresh Start, doing business as the Rainbow Canyon Retreat in Caliente, Nevada, for breach of contract, fraud, and negligence.
According to the complaint, in August Stacy Welch and her husband David began searching on the Internet for a rehab facility for their son Jack, who was 19. Like so many others before her, Stacy found a site that purported to be an independent dispenser of advice about such facilities. She was strongly persuaded by a consultant from the website to send Jack to a Nevada center called “Fresh Start.”
“The consultant never referred to the facility as Narconon, but only as ‘Fresh Start,’” the complaint says.
Stacey and David were then told that they had to hurry, or their son “would wind up dead.”
That certainly sounds familiar. Last year, we reported that some scripts used by Narconon referrers had been leaked to the Internet, and one of the things that consultants are told to do is get a family worked up into a frenzy, telling them that if they don’t hurry, it could have dire consequences.
The consultant then set up an interview with Narconon Fresh Start’s intake director, Josh Penn, who told the Welches that Narconon has a 76 percent success rate.
That’s another thing that comes right out of the scripts, but as we’ve pointed out before, even Narconon’s own legal affairs officer has admitted that there’s no science for the ludicrous success rates the program claims. (Reputable drug rehab programs claim success rates of about 25 percent.)
The Welches told Penn that they had spotted a reference to L. Ron Hubbard on the the Fresh Start website, but when they asked whether Scientology was involved, Penn assured them that it wasn’t.
The Welches were told they’d have to pay $33,000 up front, and that before Jack could enter the program in Nevada, he’d first have to go through a medical detox in Murrieta, California.
The Welches signed a contract, and the complaint points out that the contract describes Narconon’s origin — it was started in 1966 by a man named William Benitez, who had been inspired by Hubbard’s book, The Fundamentals of Thought.
The complaint points out that the actual name of the book is Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, The Basic Book of the Theory and Practice of Scientology for Beginners. The Welches believe that the full name is left out of the Narconon contract in order to hide the program’s connection to Scientology.
The contract also refers to the Narconon program as a secular one. But as we’ve pointed out many times, the Narconon program is virtually identical to the introductory levels of Scientology itself, as the Welches learned…