Former Scientologist Describes Prison-Like Atmosphere at IntBase

News Channel 3 sent former Scientology marketing director and Portland resident Jeff Hawkins to KATU-TV, the local ABC television station, where he revealed what happened during his years inside Scientology's world headquarters in Hemet, called "IntBase."

His account of what goes on behind these fences is one of religious punishment and imprisonment.

"Within that Hemet compound, they work 100 hour weeks, seven days a week. They have no breaks. They have no vacations of any kind. They work around the clock. They have no private time. They're paid around 40 cents an hour and they're subjected to all kinds of punishments and abuse. If they do things that are wrong or if they don't toe the line, they have to run around the buildings, sometimes for miles in their street shoes, they get thrown in the lake out there which is pretty cold this time of year. And, if they refuse to come around and toe the line and be good members, they can go to these rehabilitation camps that they have in Los Angeles and in Clearwater which are virtual prisons and people have been there for years. They don't go outside. They don't see anybody. They are paid maybe 10 cents an hour for hard manual labor. They make furniture for the churches."

"They spend part of their time studying Scientology and the rest of the time doing physical labor. They're not allowed to contact anyone outside of the rehabilitation project force, they're virtual prisoners. They stay in dormitories, 30, 40 people to a room, with one bathroom. I've been down there. I was actually assigned to the R.P.F. for one day. Then, they said it was a mistake," said Hawkins.

Longtime staff members tell News Channel 3, IntBase in Hemet was built in the 1970s after L. Ron Hubbard left his La Quinta cove ranch near Avenida Juarez and Calle Yucatan because he felt it wasn't secure enough.

Hawkins continued, "A fellow took over the church after Hubbard died, a guy named David Miscavige, who is very, very authoritarian and very oppressive. He has transformed that international base into really, a sort of cult compound."

"I personally was physically assaulted on four occasions by the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige," added Hawkins.

Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis talked with News Channel 3 at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Center and says there's nothing abusive or illegal going on inside the Hemet headquarters.

"When you have allegations like this made that somehow indicate some sort of secretive or nefarious something or rather having to do with the church anything along these lines. It's just untrue. It's ridiculous," said Davis.

Why haven't celebrity Scientologists spoken out about abuses of IntBase workers? Hawkins explains why, "Tom Cruise has been to the headquarters. The staff is not allowed to talk to him. He's been given tours and I've been on the other end of those and they're very orchestrated. They're on walkie-talkies and they go, 'He's going into this building, he's going into that building.' They have certain staff set up and rehearsed in those spaces to give him a certain scripted talk."

Scientologists Wanting to Leave Church Face Life-Changing Consequences

Since our News Channel 3 investigation into the Church of Scientology began, nearly a dozen former church members came forward to tell us their accounts of what happens inside the church's world headquarters in Hemet. Jeff Hawkins was the first. He is the church's former marketing director.

Hawkins explained the Scientology faithful, "It's a combination of fear and faith. Because anybody who is in Scientology is there because they believe. It's a very fundamentalist sort of cult. They believe the teachings of Scientology are the only way to spiritual salvation. So they feel they need to tow the line or they will not be saved spiritually."

But if things are so bad inside church headquarters, why don't people just leave?

"Technically, they can get up and they can leave and nobody can legally stop them, but you don't know that. And you are kept under watch by security people 24 hours a day. The entrances are all guarded. Nobody is allowed to leave," said Hawkins.

One 2005 police report obtained by News Channel 3 describes an incident in which a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy responded to reports of people driving by Scientology headquarters witnessing several men fighting.

The deputy met Marc Headley who claimed he wanted to leave the church and claimed the guards prevented him. The guards claimed they were just concerned for Headley.

Headley was escorted to a nearby U-Haul center. One of the guards followed the deputy. The deputy warned the guard to back off.

Headley is now suing for years of back pay.

The Church of Scientology has its own intelligence department. It's part of the Sea Organization. It's called the Office of Special Affairs.

Documents show how they use the church's e-meters to question those suspected of wanting to leave the Hemet headquarters.

Hawkins continued, "I received what was called security checks, where they go on and on, 'What have you done? What have you done? What are your crimes? What are your crimes? And, I had this for weeks, 6 weeks, every day, 'What are your crimes? What are your crimes? What have you done? What have you done? They try to guilt you into backing off."

Hawkins finished by saying, "People ask me why did I stay so long? The fact of the matter is, in order to leave, I had to leave all my friends, I had to leave my wife, I had to leave my job, I had to leave my religion, I had to leave my entire life as I had known it for the past 30 years and go out into a world I had been told was hostile and dangerous because that's what they tell you inside. With no money, no job, no house, no friends, go to a strange city and just start my life anew at 58."

We continue our investigation into the war between Scientology and Anonymous next week. Keep coming to for more updates on when our next segment airs.

We have learned that KATU-TV story in Portland, Oregon will air their investigation next week as well.
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