I Was Imprisoned on Scientology Ship: Woman

Church denies charges, calls her 'apostate'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2011 12:19 AM CST
I Was Imprisoned on Scientology Ship: Woman
An Australian resident has told Lateline the Church of Scientology imprisoned her on its cruise ship The Freewinds.   (t44aaab)

A woman says she was imprisoned on a Scientology cruise ship for 12 years, unable to leave without an escort for the first six, and often forced to work long hours in the hot, noisy engine room, reports Australia's ABC News. Born into a Scientology family, Valeska Paris says the head of the church personally ordered her to the Scientology ship the Freewinds, site of the church's highest-level counseling course, when she was 18, after her mother left the church and denounced it on television. "I did not want to be there, I made it clear I did not want to be there," Paris said.

The Church of Scientology strenuously denied all of Paris' accusations, as well as related charges by a former senior executive of the Freewinds who supported her account. "Valeska is lying to you," said the church in a statement. "She is a true apostate." The church said that Paris had total freedom of movement and could have left anytime. "I had been in Scientology my whole life, it's not like I knew how to escape," said Paris, who signed a "one billion year" contract with the church when she was 14. (More Scientology stories.)

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