McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

May 6, 2013

Ex-Narconon Arrowhead president speaks out

McALESTER — A former president of Narconon Arrowhead said the four deaths at the facility were “beyond anything imaginable.”

 Narconon Arrowhead is a drug rehab in Canadian that uses Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings to rehab it’s clients. It’s also where three rehab clients were found dead in a nine month span in 2012. 

A fourth died in 2009 at local hospital.

The most recent, the July 2012 death of Stacy Murphy, 20, spurred a multi-agency investigation into the deaths.

And on Wednesday legislation spurred by deaths and allowing the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Abuse Services to oversee Narconon Arrowhead and other rehabs the Senate unopposed and was sent to Gov. Fallin’s desk. If signed, the bill could become law in November.

The deaths also brought several lawsuits against Narconon Arrowhead with allegations such as wrongful death, credit card and insurance fraud and allegations of employees trading drugs for sex.

Former Narconon Arrowhead President Lucus Catton said he was involved with Narconon Arrowhead and Scientology for more than 12 years before he was “excommunicated” for questioning the program and the church.

He said when he heard about the death of Gabriel Graves, 32, found dead in his bed at Narconon Arrowhead in Oct. of 2011, he figured it was an ‘isolated incident.’

“I just thought maybe something happened that wasn’t related to the program.” Catton said. “I never thought it could be the program.” Then six months later when Hillary Holten, 21, was found dead in her bed at the facility in April 2012, and he learned of the the 2009 death of Kaysie Werninck, 28, he became alarmed and he said worked to disassociate himself completely from any possible ties he had left with Narconon.

Finally when 20 year-old Stacy Murphy was found dead at the facility three months after  Holten died, Catton said he had to speak out.

 “It was beyond anything imaginable,” he said.

After those deaths, Catton said he began reading and learning more about the Narconon program.

“ I decided that the entire Narconon program is based on fraudulent practices.”

“The fact that they have a medical facility and that they are supposed to be monitoring these people and they died.” Catton said.

He said he was a Scientologist for 12 years and contributed to many Scientology-related activities.

“I was introduced to (Scientology) primarily through Narconon, and worked with them for over ten years in various capacities. I had served as President of Narconon Arrowhead and even signed the billion-year contract to join Scientology’s Sea Organization, but thankfully that was never activated.”

He said as president of Narconon Arrowhead that the facility was required to pay $30,000 a month in rent to a company called Social Betterment Properties International a non-profit group which he said is owned by the Church of Scientology.

The form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service states;

“Social Betterment Properties International was formed to acquire, develop and maintain buildings and other real estate utilized by social betterment organizations carrying out programs that utilize technology and methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard and that are associated with and supported by the Scientology religion.”

Catton he was asked to leave the church completely in 2011, when he began questioning the Narconon program and the beliefs of the church.

 He was declared in a letter from the Church of Scientology as a “Suppressive Person.”  “ It means I was basically excommunicated from the church and that church members including close friends and family could no have no contact with him.

“When I was declared a suppressive person ... it was because I knew too much at the time and wouldn’t accept their obviously false propaganda,” Catton  said.

“They didn’t want me infecting others with truth.”

Catton said Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith read the letter to Narconon employees and they also no longer had communication with him.

Smith does not deny this.

“All members of the Church of Scientology would have either been sent a communication to this affect or would have been able to access this communication at any church,” Smith said in an emailed statement.

“As a member I did receive such a letter and I did share the letter with six Scientologists that are also employees here at Narconon, after hours. This was a personal matter for members of our faith only and did not concern any other Narconon employees or our work to help people overcome drug and alcohol addiction.”

Meanwhile Catton said he wrote a book on his experiences with Narconon and Scientology called Have You Told All ? Inside My Time with Scientology and Narconon.

On his website lucascatton.com, Catton explains the title “Have You Told All?” as a question used in Scientology confessional procedures which he said are supposed to be purely for therapeutic spiritual benefit.

He said the questions were used against him. He said other types are more punishable, called security checks or sec checks.

“If you disagree with Scientology, have an upset with something or have done something not deemed favorable in their eyes and are subjected to sec check, you are grilled trying to “find your crimes”.

“While holding cans at the end of (an) e-meter, you are asked if you have told all, is there anything you failed to reveal, are you withholding anything, and other similar questions to see if there is anything left you might be hiding from them,” Catton said.

“I went through several sec checks, and was honest every time. One major one occurred when I no longer wanted to be the president of Narconon Arrowhead and requested a transfer.”

Catton said he was punished for making the request.

He said “they figured I must have done something wrong ... but there wasn’t anything they could find to use against me and so I was just punished for being honest.”

He said when he was ready to leave Scientology completely, he submitted to a sec check in his hotel room in Clearwater by a member of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs.

He said he was told was only going to be an interview and that he would have his questions answered. He said the interview lasted six hours and he was “100 percent honest” about everything, Catton said.

“(The information) was used against me and they refused to answer my questions about the organization.”

Catton said that in retaliation for  publicly coming out against the organizations, Scientology and Narconon created website which he said contains written and video testimonials from “back when (I) worked at Narconon and (was) a “True Believer Scientologist, but they also contain outright lies.”

The website lucascatton.org also contains links to Narconon Arrowhead.

When asked if the Church of Scientology was behind the website Smith said,

“Narconon has many supporters and as you know the Church of Scientology is one of our biggest,” Smith said. “I viewed the web site and see that it has success stories about how the Narconon program saved Luke’s life and other positive public statements he made about Narconon when he was involved with us,” Smith said.

Meanwhile Catton after his experiences he has finally landed on his own two feet and is ready to tell his story.

“Now I have vowed to indeed tell all,” he said.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com

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