By Daily Mail Reporter
UPDATED:06:31 EST, 27 April 2012
A senior Scientologist who claimed she was imprisoned and tortured by the controversial religion’s tyrannical leadership has settled her case out of court.
Debbie Cook, one of Scientology’s top brass executives before she quit in 2007, is not receiving any money following the conclusion of her legal wrangle with the Church.
The 50-year-old had claimed she was forcibly taken by two large men to ‘The Hole’ – a pair of double wide trailers at Scientology International Base in the southern California desert.
End of the matter: Debbie Cook’s case has been settled, but she will not receive any money
Her version of events was contested by the organisation – but the two parties have now agreed to let the matter lie. The church has dropped its demand for damages against Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten.
This is as long as they never ‘printing, post or disseminate […] defamatory or disparaging material against any of the Church Parties, either directly or indirectly’.
The world was given an insight into the controversial religion when Cook sent a shock email denouncing the Chairman, David Miscavige.
The message, which accused the chairman of hoarding and mismanaging funds, went out to 12,000 members just minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day.
The Church immediately sought an injunction. But continued efforts to silence her backfired when she repeated claims she was held prisoner for 45 days in a crowded, ant-infested trailer.
Cook had previously told ABC News ‘When I was there it had bars on the windows and security guards posted at the one door for entering and exiting.
‘And this was where a number of executives from management level were held for varying lengths of time.’
Captive: The Scientology insider claims she was held at a place called ‘the hole’ at Scientology International Base in Southern California for seven weeks
TOM CRUISE AND THE THETANS: THE TEACHINGS OF SCIENTOLOGY
- The Church of Scientology was established in 1954 by science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard
- It numbers up to 15million members worldwide and likes to cultivate celebrity followers
- Among its more famed acolytes are the actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta
- Hubbard claimed that each human being has hidden secret powers required for the lifelong journey towards spiritual freedom and happiness
- The Church holds that humans are descended from an exiled race of aliens called Thetans
- Once a worshipper reaches a higher state of awareness called ‘the Clear’, he becomes an Operating Thetan who can address deeper psychological dilemmas of his own existence
She was made to stand in a trash can while her captors poured water over her to elicit confessions, she claims.
‘People screaming at you, sometimes slapping you, in some cases, sometimes you’re made to stand in a trash can and water is poured over you.’
She also said she saw Scientology chairman David Miscavige, a friend of celebrity follower Tom Cruise, punch another senior executive in the face before wrestling him to the ground.
She explained to ABC News: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before. It was inconceivable.’
He never hit her, but ordered his secretary to hit her so hard she fell to the ground, she told the station.
The alleged attack came ‘because he was displeased about how I was answering a question. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear.’
The former leader had previously made both allegations in court.
In the ABC News interview, Cook said that her problem is not with the Church but with the current leadership.
She said: ‘I have never lost my passion or love for the church and all that it stands for, and all that it does to help others,’ Cook said. ‘That is my life and I loved doing it, so I’m not bitter. It’s really out of that passion and love and care that I am doing this to rid it of a situation that has grown out of control … it needs to get confronted and it needs to get handled. It can’t go on. You know, I know that L. Ron Hubbard would never approve of it.’
But the continuing publicity adds to the embarrassment for the Church, which took legal action to prevent her from revealing the exact details its lawsuit has now allowed her to expose in court. They claimed breach of a confidentiality agreement she signed when leaving the Church in 2007.
The organisation then suddenly withdrew from the legal proceedings after Mrs Cook’s blistering testimony on the stand. Mrs Cook claimed in court that in the summer of 2007 she was one of 100 Scientology executives imprisoned in a large trailer known as The Hole.
Describing the conditions, she said: ‘It had bars on the windows and the one entrance was guarded by security 24 hours a day. The place was infested by ants, so ants would crawl on you, and there was a two-week period when the electricity had been shut off, as ordered by Mr Miscavige.
‘This was of course in summer in the desert so the temperature was about 106F [41C].’
Mrs Cook described forced ‘confession’ sessions during which she stood in a dustbin for two hours while water was poured over her head and abuse screamed in her face.
One senior executive who upset the Scientology leadership was made to lick a dirty floor for half an hour, she said.
In her New Year’s day email Cook accused Mr Miscavige of turning the Church into a tyrannical regime in direct conflict with the doctrine laid down by founder L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.
Writing under a banner of ‘Keep Scientology Working’, Mrs Cook called out Mr Miscavige for ‘hoarding’ more than $1billion acquired through fundraising and then spending millions on building unnecessary, lavish facilities that lie empty.
The Church applied for an injunction, claiming this email breached a confidentiality agreement she signed when leaving the organisation with a $50,000 (£32,000) pay-off in 2007.
But Mrs Cook told the court this had been signed under severe emotional duress, so broken was she after her treatment.
She said: ‘I would have signed that I stabbed babies over and over again and loved it. I would have done anything.’
She claimed she was ‘imprisoned’ at a Florida compound during her final months with the Church.
Followed everywhere she went, Mrs Cook said: ‘I called my mother and told her if I wasn’t out in three days to call the police.’
In her New Year’s email, Mrs Cook confirmed her continued commitment to the Church and called on her fellow worshippers to usher in an era of change.
It is thought that the reason she emailed thousands of worshippers was to get around the ‘long and harsh’ disciplinary action endured by those who question Mr Miscavige’s methods.
She claimed it was her conscience that caused her to speak out.
Mrs Cook was once a leading member of Scientology’s Sea Organisation before becoming a captain at its Flag Service Organization spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. She left that position a few years ago but remains a highly-respected member of the Church.
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