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The operator of several Tennessee facilities claiming to be associated with the Church of Scientology was charged with kidnapping after police discovered two people being held against their will at one of his treatment centers, reports the New York Daily News (NY Daily News).
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) May 5, 2017
According to the NY Daily News, police responded to a 911 call at the Life Center for a New Tomorrow facility, described as a series of cabins and a double-wide trailer, WZTV reported. When they arrived on the scene, officers were met with a padlocked gate securing the facility. Upon their investigation of the property, the officers noticed a man, locked inside one of the cabins, peering out of a plexiglass window with no visible means for escape.
Officers said the cabin had “no obvious amenity for life” and that it was empty aside from a pile of sheets in the corner, the Cannon Courier reported. The victim’s room was small, with a single bed, and the only light source came from the restroom.
The man reportedly told the officers that he was being held in a rehabilitation and was to be “cleansed through Scientology.”
The officers continued to search the property, and eventually found a woman who made similar abuse allegations. The female victim, who cops said was mentally handicapped, was locked inside her cabin for 14 hours a day, according to the NY Daily News.
Attorney David Veile, who is representing several people involved in the case, said the facilities were not operated through the Church of Scientology. A local Scientology pastor in Nashville similarly told WZTV that the treatment centers were not affiliated with the church, reports the NY Daily News.
The NY Daily News mentioned that Marc Vallieres, the property manager, was arrested and charged with two felony counts of kidnapping. Police said he is a Scientologist who was able to utilize the training he received through the church to open the treatment centers.
Two men who worked as caretakers, Dennis Flamond and Han Lytle, were also arrested and have pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment, according to the Courier.
Vallieres had reportedly run multiple facilities, with the goal of treating teens who struggle with mental issues and addiction through Scientology-inspired therapy programs, said the NY Daily News.
Although, according to the report, nobody working at the facilities had an actual medical or healthcare license.
A judge ordered that all the treatment centers be permanently closed, reported the NY Daily News.
Judge Rules to Close All Scientology facilities in Cannon County, Tennessee
According to the Cannon Courier, the Circuit Judge, belonging to the The 16th Judicial District of Tennessee, David Bragg has ruled in this final disposition of the cases that “all facilities in Cannon County are closed and will not operate any resident facilities in Cannon County, TN.”
And the county sheriff’s reiterated the same point:
“The Cannon County Sheriff’s Department would like to make the general public of this county aware that the Scientology facilities are closed and not operating in Cannon County,” a statement from the Sheriff’s office said.