Battleground Foley: A Scientology Narconon “Sauna” Rehab?

Church of Scientology: Clearwater (FL)

Foley: Clearwater Rehab

The withering little downtown area of Clearwater, Florida, has a beauty parlor, a pizza shop and a couple of run-down saloons, as well as a bunch of aging bungalows and some old storefronts that look as if they haven’t seen any customers in years. There are few cars and almost no one walking on the streets. There is, however, a fleet of gleaming white and blue ones that slowly crawl through town, stopping at regular intervals to discharge a small army of tightly organized, young, almost exclusively white men and women, all clad in uniform preppy attire: khaki, black or navy-blue trousers and crisp white, blue or yellow dress shirts.

Some wear pagers on their belts; others carry briefcases. The men have short hair, and the women keep theirs pulled back or tucked under headbands that match their outfits. No one crosses against the light, and everybody calls everybody else “sir,” even when the “sir” is a woman. They move throughout the center of Clearwater in tight clusters, from corner to corner, building to building. This regimented mass represents the “Sea Organization,” the most dedicated and elite members of the Church of Scientology.

For the past thirty years, Scientology has made the city of Clearwater its worldwide spiritual headquarters, its Mecca, or its Temple Square. There are 8,300 or so Scientologists living and working in Clearwater, more than in any other city in the world outside of Los Angeles. Scientologists own more than 200 businesses in Clearwater. They sit on the boards of the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Boy Scouts.

Members of the church run schools and private tutoring programs, day-care centers and NARCONON, a drug-rehab clinic. Narconon, which relies upon “sauna” detox, has been documented as having been founded and under the absolute control of the Church of Scientology.

In July 2004, The St. Petersburg Times dubbed Clearwater, a community of 108,000 people, “Scientology’s Town.” On the newspaper’s front page was a photograph of Scientology’s newest building, a vast, white, Mediterranean Revival-style edifice known within Scientology circles as the “Super Power” building. Occupying a full square block of downtown, this structure, which has been under construction since 1998, is billed as the single largest Scientology church in the world. When it is finally completed in late 2006 at an estimated final cost of $50 million, it will have 889 rooms on six floors, an indoor sculpture garden and a large Scientology museum. The crowning touch will be a two-story, illuminated Scientology cross that will shine over the city of Clearwater like a beacon.

Foley: Gone to Narconon Detox Mansion

The widely-read investigative political blog, Wonkette, has come up with this juicy bite of information:

“Gay sex with children, underage drinking, gross e-mails and IMs, Congress, the Republicans, Macaca, rehab … you were probably thinking there was no possible way this story could get better. Oh ye of little faith, how about a heaping helping of Scientology? First, our trusty Scientology Investigator sent us this detail:

“Foley sent his “Gone to Detox Mansion” fax from Clearwater, Florida. Are there any rehab joints there that aren’t run by Scientology? Remember, that’s the same cult that says they can ‘cure’ homosexuality ….”

Clearwater is known as the town Scientology built … or at least the town Scientology almost completely redeveloped. Clearwater is also home to Narconon, L. Ron Hubbard’s homemade rehab program. And it turns out Foley was no stranger in Clearwater. At a 2003 Scientology meeting, Foley gave a speech and was photographed happily accepting “leatherbound copies of Dianetics and The Way to Happiness.” In 1999, Foley joined three other Scientology-friendly politicians in condemning Germany for outlawing Scientology; German law is very strict about cults, because of previous problems. The Clearwater Scientologists also held a fund-raiser for Foley’s aborted Senate run; he dropped out after the gay thing was mentioned.

And on Friday, the Creative Loafing blog in Tampa reported that Foley attended a Scientology gala in Los Angeles five years ago: Memories of Mark Foley (Creative Loafing)


Amish Children Murdered in One-Room Schoolhouse

Milk Truck-Driver Kills at Least Three Children in Pennsylvania Amish Schoolhouse

Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old milk-truck driver carrying three guns and a childhood grudge, stormed a one-room Amish schoolhouse Monday, sent the boys and adults outside, barricaded the doors with two-by-fours and then opened fire on a dozen girls. He murdered at least three of them (although updated accounts now substantiate that five girls have died) before committing suicide, and the death toll might rise. At least seven other children were critically wounded, authorities said. Most of the children had been shot execution-style at point-blank range after being lined up along the chalkboard, their feet bound with wire and plastic ties. The shooting occurred around 10:45 a.m. in Nickel Mines, in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country. Not long afterwards, Amish women in plain blue smocks and simple white caps hugged one another in grief and shock outside the sunlit one-room school.

It was the nation’s third deadly school shooting in less than a week, and it sent shock waves through Lancaster County’s peaceful Amish country, a picturesque landscape of green pastures and “neat-as-a-pin” farms, where violent crime is virtually nonexistent. The shooting dragged the Amish, who normally seem stuck in an idyllic rural past of horse-drawn buggies and butter churns, straight into a national series of school attacks. “This is a horrendous, horrific incident for the Amish community. They’re solid citizens in the community. They’re good people. They don’t deserve … no one deserves this,” State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said.

Roberts was not Amish and appeared to have nothing against the Amish community, Miller said. The attack bore similarities to a deadly school shooting last week in Bailey, Colo., and authorities there raised the possibility that the Pennsylvania attack was a copycat crime. The victims were members of the Old Order Amish. The shooting took place at the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School, a neat white building set amid green fields, with a square white horse fence around the schoolyard. The school had about 25 to 30 students, ages 6 to 13.

According to investigators, Roberts walked his own children to their school bus stop, then backed his truck up to the Amish school, unloaded his weapons and several pieces of lumber and walked into the school at around 10 a.m. He released about 15 boys, a pregnant woman and three women with babies, Miller said. Then he barricaded the doors with two-by-fours and two-by-sixes nailed into place, piled-up desks and flexible plastic ties; made the remaining girls line up along a blackboard; and tied their feet together with wire ties and plastic ties.

Roberts apparently called his wife around an hour later, saying that he was taking revenge for an old grudge, Miller said. Evidently, he told his wife shortly before opening fire that he had molested young relatives decades ago and had “dreams of molesting again,” authorities said Tuesday. Despite his talk of molestation, though, and the discovery that he had sexual lubricant and flex-ties with him, police have no evidence that any of the victims were sexually abused, State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. “He states in his suicide note that he had dreams about doing what he did 20 years ago again,” Miller said.

Miller said police could not confirm Charles Carl Roberts IV’s claim about molesting young relatives when Roberts would have been a just a child himself, and he said Roberts’ family members knew nothing of molestation in his past. Roberts also left a note talking about his anguish over the loss of the couple’s newborn daughter nine years ago and how he was angry with God, Miller said. “It changed my life forever, I haven’t been the same since,” he wrote in a note the police released on Tuesday. “It affected me in a way I never felt possible. I am filled with so much hate, hate towards myself, hate towards God and unimaginable emptiness. It seems like every time we do something fun, I think abut how Elise wasn’t here to share it with us and I got right back to anger.”

In Pennsylvania’s insulated Amish country, the outer world has intruded on occasion. In 1999, two Amish men were sent to jail for buying cocaine from a motorcycle gang and selling it to young people in their community.

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