Scientology facilities in Tennessee closed due to kidnapping charges

This isn't the first time the church has been linked to missing persons.


Rehabilitation facilities in Tennessee operated by Scientologists were recently shut down after police discovered numerous victims imprisoned against their will. According to court documents, at least three suspects working at the facilities have been charged with multiple counts of false imprisonment and 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,” the Sheriff’s office wrote in a recent statement.

Responding to a 911 emergency call, Cannon County sheriff’s deputies approached a locked building on the compound and located the man who had called them while attempting to communicate through a Plexiglas window. According to the officers’ report, the caretaker unlocked the door to the cabin where they found a man who had been imprisoned against his will for the past nine months.

Given unknown medications, the man told the officers that he entered the facility seeking rehabilitation through Scientology but had been mistreated and imprisoned in a cell without any amenities. After a confrontation with the facility manager, Hans Lytle, Investigator Brandon Gullett later recalled, “I explained to him that no one on this facility is a licensed healthcare provider and no one here has power of attorney over him so if he feels that he needs to go to the hospital, then he will have to be transported.”

Returning with a search warrant, the officers reportedly discovered facility personnel in the process of packing up and fleeing. Using a battering ram to open the heavily fortified building at 3343 Sycamore Creek Road, the officers found a female patient who had also been held captive against her will.

Three suspects have been charged in this case, according to the 16th Judicial District of the state of Tennessee. The caretaker, Dennis Flamond, and the facility manager, Hans Lytle, pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment. Their supervisor, Marc Vallieres, was charged with two counts of kidnapping.

According to his website bio, Vallieres moved to Tennessee in 2004 and founded the “A Wave of Hope” organization. As a Scientologist, Vallieres treated teenagers suffering from alcohol and drug abuse despite the fact that none of his employees were licensed professionals.

A core tenet of Scientology requires followers to believe that psychiatry and many forms of modern medicine are both ineffective and detrimental to society. They also believe that Xenu was the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy.

Missing for roughly a decade, the wife of the leader of the Church of Scientology, Shelly Miscavige, was reportedly spotted in California looking “frail” while repeatedly escorted by Scientology minders. Although actress Leah Remini filed a missing person report with the LAPD regarding Shelly’s disappearance, the police did not bother conducting a full investigation.


If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.

Previous articleTesting Republican values
Next articleThe attack on Western democracy
Andrew Emett is a staff writer for NationofChange. Andrew is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew’s work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.