Lakeport woman goes national with claims against Scientology

Lake Country Record-Bee, California/January 21, 2014

By J. W. Burch, IV

Lakeport -- The last time Lakeport resident Lori Hodgson saw her son, she was on national television, she said.

CBS Inside Edition aired a segment on Dec. 6 following Hodgson from California to Austin, Texas to pay her son a surprise visit.

According to Hodgson, both of her children have "disconnected" from her because she is considered a "suppressive person" by the Church of Scientology.

Hodgson's son, Jeremy Leake, is 20 and her daughter, Jessica Leake, 23.

Disconnection, according to, "is defined as a self-determined decision made by an individual that he is not going to be connected to another. It is a severing of a communication line."

"There is no policy in Scientology that requires church members to disconnect from anyone," the website continues. "Let alone family and friends who simply have different beliefs."

A suppressive person, according to, is someone "who is antagonistic to Scientology or its tenets."

Hodgson said each of her children disconnected from her via text message.

Hodgson said that because she is considered a "suppressive person," there have been instances of intimidation by individuals she believes are connected to the church.

"After I had resigned from Scientology, I found Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking member of the church of Scientology who counsels other ex-members to help them," Hodgson said.

According to Hodgson, the practice of Scientology outside of the church is referred to as "squirreling."

Hodgson said that after her visit with Rathbun she was "harassed and threatened by" a person.

"He approached me and asked Do you enjoy beatings?'" Hodgson said. "He was aware of my whereabouts. You've been doing some squirreling over the weekend.'"

"I immediately reported the incident to the authorities," she continued. "It became rather clear to me that I was being followed."

Hodgson said she has been keeping in contact with the Lakeport Police Department (LPD) because of the intimidation toward her.

In a statement regarding Hodgson's situation, Officer Gary Basor said: "The LPD has been kept apprised of Mrs. Hodgson's situation. She lets us know when she is in town so that we may be vigilant about keeping her and her family safe as we do for all our Lakeport citizens."

Hodgson said the way she can see her children again is if she returns to the church and "does these steps, called A to E."

According to Hodgson, the steps include counseling, apologizing to the church and giving a public announcement that she lied about everything.

But she said she won't admit to something that she didn't do. Instead, she has been telling her story and working to get disconnection abolished.

"I'm doing everything I can and I'll never give up," Hodgson said.

In a statement from the church received by the Record-Bee, Media Relations Executive Assistant Linda Weiland stated: "The Church of Scientology does not debate former members about the circumstances of their departure from the Church, nor about their private family matters. Thus, a spokesperson will not be granting an interview.

"It was evident from the Inside Edition clip that any problems in Ms. Hodgson's family are being generated by her vindictiveness and her efforts to interfere with the lifestyle choices of her adult son and daughter.

"She did not merely leave Scientology, she did so in a way to cause the most disturbance she could to her family and to the Church.

"The issue is not and never was whether Ms. Hodgson left her religion. The issue is that she has become part of a small group of anti-Scientologists who are trying to foment bad press on Scientology through false, embellished and inflated claims and who are using every expedient they can to accomplish this. If her aim was truly reconciliation with her family, ambushing them with a television camera crew in tow is certainly not the way to go about it. Even giving this story to you is an effort to create more trouble.

"Ms. Hodgson's son made it clear in the Inside Edition segment that he is unwilling to communicate with her as long as she is causing so much trouble for the family and that it is totally within her power to change.  That is the decision the majority of this family has taken and they should be respected for their integrity."

Hodgson said she became a Scientologist at 13 when her mother introduced her to the religion. When Hodgson had children of her own, she raised them in the church.

"I would have never participated in such a cruel organization. If I had known that if I chose to leave, I would lose my children, my family and friends that remained in Scientology," Hodgson said.

Hodgson said that it was the church's aggressive recruitment of her children for the Sea Organization that was the catalyst for Hodgson's resignation from Scientology.

"Once each of my children turned 15, they started talking to them about joining Sea Org," Hodgson said.

According to the Church of Scientology's website, "The Sea Organization is a religious order for the Scientology religion and is composed of the singularly most dedicated Scientologists individuals who have committed their lives to the volunteer service of their religion. The Sea Organization is a fraternal religious order and is not incorporated. Members of the Sea Organization are therefore wholly responsible to the Church of Scientology to which they are assigned and are responsible, as are all other staff, to officers and directors of that church."

Hodgson said The Sea Org "are the elites of Scientology."

"When you join the Sea Org, you sign a billion-year contract dedicating yourself to Scientology," she added. "That isn't something a parent wants for their children I don't care if people do Scientology, but don't recruit kids."

"I don't want any other parents to go through what I have," Hodgson said

The Record-Bee attempted to get in contact with Jeremy and Jessica Leake for comment, but as of press time, has not heard back.

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