A Tennessee judge is cracking down on Scientology after finding several cult members guilty of false imprisonment and felony kidnapping.
“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.
The 16th Judicial District of the state of Tennessee, Cannon County, has charged three suspects in the case. Two of the three, Dennis Flamond and Hans Snyder Lytle, entered guilty pleas in General Sessions Court on two counts of false imprisonment.
The third suspect, Marc Vallieres, was charged with two felony charges of facilitation to kidnapping in Circuit Court. Vallieres pleaded “by information” in Circuit Court.
Circuit Judge David Bragg 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.”
This sounds like a story straight out of Leah Remini’s show Scientology and the Aftermath. I suspect it will probably be the subject of an upcoming episode. On the show Remini and Mike Rinder have already interviewed people who have been confined and drugged for questioning the cult’s doctrine or practices.
A 911 emergency phone call provided the Sheriff’s Office with the opportunity to go inside the facility which they described as a double-wide trailer with several tiny cabins located behind it.
“We proceeded up the hill through a gated, makeshift paddock that is secured externally with a steel latch.” The officers reported the individual who called them was looking out through a Plexiglas window.
“He is locked inside the cabin with no way to remove himself from the building. The caretaker unlocks the door and lets us enter the cabin.
“The cabin is bare there is a small pile of sheets in the corner, there are no obvious amenity for life, ” the officers reported.
The man being held there tells the officers he is being held against his will and is given unknown medications. He explains that he is there to have rehab and get cleansed though Scientology.
“He states that he has been there for nine months and is being mistreated and falsely imprisoned and all he wants is to go home.” the officers said.
The man was taken to the hospital and a search warrant was obtained for the facility in which he was held. When police returned, the Scientologists were actively packing up and destroying evidence.
When officers returned to the address on Sycamore Creek with a search warrant for all of the premises, they discovered that the personnel was in the process of packing up and moving out. The locking mechanism was removed from the front gate.
During the search of the facility, a female patient was discovered. She was transported to Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital and parents notified.
Deputies found the building at 3343 Sycamore Creek road heavily fortified. The officers used a ram to force the door open and several boxes of evidence were discovered, cataloged, photographed and confiscated by Inspector Gullett.
Later in the day, officers discovered Hans Lytle following a search at an address on Cedar Crest Lane. He was taken into custody on multiple charges
Could this case be the start of something that could eventually bring down the cult? Let’s hope so.