A former Scientologist, who worked with celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, has said she was put in “prison” for kissing a woman.
Nora Crest spoke to the Daily Mail about her ordeal which lasted three years, and said it nearly killed her.
The 39-year-old said: “It was the most horrific time of my life,” she says.
“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 founder of the Church of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard, had voiced his views that homosexuality was an “illness”.
He also said those found to have same-sex attractions should be “cured”.
During Crest’s time in the Church, she was subjected to attempts to “cure” her sexual orientation.
“I was brainwashed into believing I’d done wrong and had to live in horrific conditions for three years before I was finally allowed to leave,” she said.
The former Scientologist said she was sent to a secret work camp in Southern California, where she was made to endure hard labour, and was watched “every minute of every day” by “hundreds of people.”
“We were sleeping in dorms where there were at least 33 women on bunk beds, three beds high … We had three meals a day, where you have 20 minutes to gather your food and eat it, and 30 minutes to do your hygiene.”
According to Crest, the rooms in the secret camp “had bugs and cockroaches”, and that the place had “disgusting conditions”.
“You think that’s what you deserve and that you are what they say you are: a worthless piece of shit.”
Going on, Crest says five people watched her go to the toilet, and that communication with the outside world was “heavily vetted”.
Forced to work 80-hours a week, prisoners at the camp weren’t given breaks, and were tortured.
“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,” she went on.
Describing one instance, when food was served, Crest said: “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.”
One day she tried to escape, but was pinned down and brutally restrained.
“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 couldn’t move … I was being kicked and punched, my face was covered in blood … I was screaming.”
Now married to her husband, Crest says “I can safely say marrying my husband and having children saved my life”.
“This can’t be allowed to happen to another person, hence why I’m speaking out,” she said.