Church of Scientology accused of holding woman hostage, denies claims
The church of Scientology in Sydney is facing hostage-holding accusations after a young Taiwanese woman was hospitalized when she punched through a window at the church in order to, as she initially claimed, escape the church’s headquarters in Dundas, Australia.
The incident occurred in March of 2012 after Alice Wu expressed a desire to leave the church’s Sea Organization headquarters. Wu had signed a billion-year contract with the church in 2011, vowing to join this “elite” branch of the church, ABC News reported Tuesday.
The Sea Org is the “singularly most dedicated” branch of the religious group, according to Scientology.org.
Following her request to leave, she suffered a mental breakdown and was put into isolation, according to Wu’s cousin, Teresa Wu. “She was still offered food but was locked in a room. It is an isolation room in the Sea Organization,” Teresa Wu told ABC.
The church’s lawyer Stuart Gibson denied the allegations claiming she was actually in a “sick bay.”
A statement released by the Church of Scientology said Alice Wu had the flu and was “somewhat delusory” when she cut her hand. The statement also states that a staff member called the hospital as soon as she was hurt.
However, Teresa Wu believes Alice smashed the window because she wanted to leave, she told ABC.
Alice’s medical records revealed that she told hospital staff that Scientology members were holding her hostage, when she arrived at the hospital for treatment. She was later diagnosed with a mental illness.
Isolation is used as part of a procedure to deal with mental breakdowns in the Scientology religion, since the religion is against psychiatric treatment. The lawyer Gibson called the term “isolation” a “derogatory term” and told ABC, “There is no isolation and there’s never been isolation.”
Alice’s brother, Jack Wu, said he contacted a former president of the Church of Scientology in Taiwan, Mei Tsu Lee, to inquire about the situation with his sister. In the recorded conversation ABC obtained, Lee reportedly admitted, “I was with her in the isolation room after she became unstable.”
Alice recently sent an email to ABC’s managing director, Mark Scott, denying allegations of being held hostage or being treated badly by the Church of Scientology.
Teresa Wu said two scientologists took Alice to a notary office to sign the statement that was sent to Scott. Alice’s father claims the document should be annulled because Alice was not in a “good state of mind” when the document was signed.
Despite accusations and claims from Alice’s family members, the Australian Federal Police have not found sufficient evidence to pursue an investigation of breaches to the Migration Act or people trafficking, ABC reported.