FBI investigating Scientology, defectors say - 2011-02-07
FBI agents investigating human trafficking have interviewed several high-ranking defectors from the Church of Scientology who spoke out to the St. Petersburg Times over the past two years about abusive and coercive practices within the church.
Five former church staffers confirmed Monday that the FBI interviewed them individually over the past 15 months about their experiences in the church's religious order, the Sea Org.
They said agents asked detailed questions primarily about working and living conditions at Scientology's remote international management base in the desert east of Los Angeles. The defectors — Amy Scobee, Mike Rinder, Tom DeVocht, Jeff Hawkins and Gary Morehead — said they described to agents how Sea Org staffers were restricted to the compound, intimidated, degraded and coerced to work long hours for little pay.