Nora Crest, a former top female Scientologist who worked with some of the Church’s prominent members like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, opened up about the three years she endured in a Scientology prison during an interview with Daily Mail. The 39-year-old was forced into the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) because she kissed another girl. The RPF is another name for the secret labor camp in a remote Southern California suburb where Crest was forced to endure horrifying working and living conditions.
“It was the most horrific time of my life,” Crest said. “I was battered and bruised, pushed around and nearly died trying to leave the Church, and all because I had the audacity to desire another woman.”
The Church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, believed homosexuality was an “illness” and “perversion” that could be “cured” with the help of the Church.
“We would stand in an empty trash can while various people poured buckets of iced water over your head and were shouting at you about what crap you were,” Crest said.
The squalid living conditions in the camp reflected the horrible treatment of inmates in the prison.
“The rooms had bugs and cockroaches,” Crest said. “The bunks were dirty mattresses with rusty springs dating back to the ’50s. Disgusting conditions become the norm and you think that’s what you deserve and that you are what they say you are: a worthless piece of shit.”
Crest continued with more painful details: "We’d be made to wait in line for the food to be distributed, there’d be around 250 people. When the doors opened, there was large stands of burger and fries and people would be diving at them, it was like a scene from Lord of the Flies, elbowing, punching each other, ripping hamburgers from one another, screaming in each others’ faces, then running off with the food to corners of the room like rabid animals and eating it quickly.”
After two years, Crest begged to leave the camp, but the only way out was to admit she “was a degraded human being.” The RPF also continued to incessantly interrogate Crest with thousands of questions regarding her stance on the Church, making sure she wouldn’t speak out if she were to leave.
“It was one of the worst days of my life and I had to wait for three months for their decision while being convinced to stay on a daily basis,” Crest said. “They threatened to split my family up and that I could never speak to my mother or sister. Ultimately I changed my mind and decided to stay, they’d broken me again.”
Crest was later caught laughing and joking with another inmate, and was brutally punished for attempting to leave her interrogation session regarding the interaction.
“I was trying to get to the door and got five feet from it, but they were grabbing all parts of me and dragging me down. At one point, I had 13 people on my body and was pinned to the floor…I was kicked and punched, my face was covered in blood…I was screaming.”
Crest was only able to escape the prison by drinking a bottle of bleach in an act of desperation. After she was released from the hospital, she “was forced to sign a waiver” that said she wasn’t going to sue to speak out against the Church. “I said it all to the camera,” she said. “I didn’t care, I just wanted to go home.”
Crest now lives with her husband, Cameron, and their two sons, Landon and Nick.
“This can’t be allowed to happen to another person, hence why I’m speaking out,” Crest said.
Read the full interview here.