Scientology's "Disconnection:" Lori Hodgson, Ex-Church Member, Kept from Scientologist Son After Serious Wreck (UPDATED)
Lori Hodgson with her children, Jessica and Jeremy Leake, before they 'disconnected' from her
Breaking news this morning for Scientology watchers: a drama is playing out at a San Jose hospital today which puts Scientology's notorious "disconnection" policy in high relief.
This is a moving story, and we expect to add updates to this post later. At this moment, about 8:00 am in California, Lori Hodgson is on her way to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose as her son Jeremy Leake prepares to undergo surgery for fractures to his femur and collarbone, which he sustained in a motorcycle accident yesterday.
When she gets there, she expects that she will not be allowed to see her son, and may be prevented from even hearing about his condition.
Why? Well, as we reported earlier, Hodgson is a former Scientologist, but her son, daughter, and ex-husband are all still active members of the church, and have followed Scientology policy by "disconnecting" from her -- and they are actively trying to keep her from knowing what is happening as her son is treated for serious injuries.
Hodgson joined Scientology in 1976 at only 13 years of age, and between 15 and 20 spent years working part time at the Stevens Creek "org" as a staff member. Then she left staff and continued as a parishioner, known as a "public." But she left Scientology entirely recently, and has gone public with her frustrations -- specifically, that she was alarmed to see her own two children, Jessica and Jeremy Leake, recruited into Scientology's "Sea Org" at such a young age (18 and 15, respectively). Both children left the Sea Org after a short time, but they have remained ardent Scientologists, and reacted to their mother breaking away from the church last August by telling her in February that they could no longer have anything to do with her (they are 18 and 21 today).
Scientology's notorious policy of "disconnection" forces families to split apart when one member has been declared a "suppressive person" -- Scientology's version of excommunication. Refusing to shun an "SP" is itself considered a "suppressive" act, and so for Jessica and Jeremy, they would have faced the prospect of being kicked out of the organization if they didn't cut off all ties to their own mother.
However, Jeremy Leake has a propensity for wiping out on his motorcycle.
Two or three years ago, he took a bad fall at a track on a dirt bike, and Hodgson says that her son's blood pressure was so low, he was helicoptered to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he recovered. And last year, she says, he broke a bone in his hand from another fall.
This time, while racing on a track that featured motocross-style double and triple jumps, he didn't clear a jump properly, tumbled, and was hit by his own motorcycle, resulting in multiple fractures.
Hodgson was not called as her son, 18, was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.
However, Leake had been riding with a friend, Alan, who called the mother of his child, Jenn Maynard, a cousin to Hodgson and the Leakes. Maynard posted a notice about the wreck at her Facebook page:
Moto Friends....please be careful!!! 2 Major bad accidents in 1 week is too much for me and this time hitting too close to home. Please say a prayer for my cousin in the ER right now! :(.....
While at dinner last evening, Hodgson says she checked her smartphone, including looking at her Facebook account, where she saw Maynard's posting. When she saw the reference to "cousin" she knew it had to be her son.
That was confirmed in a later comment Maynard made to the post:
jeremy took the triple as he always does, but landed short, turner said he flew, bike hit him twice. he tried to jump off bike but his feet got hooked on the bars. :(... Alan and Turner both said it was a really brutal site [sic]. Prayers he's ok!
Hodgson, remembering that her son had been taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical in the previous incident, called there first and was told that yes, Jeremy Leake was in the ER.
She then headed to the hospital.
What she didn't know was that her call to the ER had alerted Jeremy's sister, Jessica, and their father, Hodgson's ex-husband, Jim Leake.
While Hodgson was driving to the hospital, her phone received a voice mail, which she played back for the Voice. It was a frantic-sounding Jenn Maynard:
"Lori, please don't go to the hospital. They are freaking out on me right now. I told them, I did not contact you, but they are freaking out. They said they know that you're on the way, I guess? I don't know why you're not answering right now."
Hodgson says that Maynard told her that Jessica later texted her that her father, Jim Leake, was "furious" that Maynard had made the Facebook post so that Lori was able to find out that her son had sustained life-threatening injuries.
Maynard declined to speak with the Voice.
When Hodgson arrived at the hospital, she was told that she would not be able to see her son, and would not even be able to get any information on his condition.
When she asked if a nurse would ask Jeremy personally if he would see her, she was told "Your son does not want to see you."
"Can you at least give me his status?" Hodgson says she asked. "I was told, 'No, your son is 18, and by the privacy laws we're not allowed to give out any information.'
"So I went around the back of the ER, and a nurse came out. I told him what was happening, and I was crying," Hodgson said to me by telephone this morning. She explained to the nurse quickly about Scientology's policy of disconnection, and that she just wanted to know how badly her son was hurt. He told her that he couldn't do that, but if she wrote a note to her son, the nurse said he would take it to Jeremy.
"I told him that this is your mom, I'm here. I want to see you, and I love you very much. He took it to Jeremy, and his sister and dad weren't in the room at that point," she says. The nurse came back and told Hodgson that Jeremy had said to tell her that he was all right, but that he couldn't see anyone.
"I was relieved, because I knew that he was OK," she says.
After a night of little sleep, Hodgson is heading back to the hospital today with her mother and father. Jeremy is scheduled for surgery today, she says, and nothing is going to keep her from being there.
"Jim, my ex-husband, is upset that my cousin posted this on Facebook. He didn't want people to know what had happened. They don't want me there, but I'm going. I don't want to force my way into his room, I just want to be there," she says. "Maybe Jeremy will want to see me today. I'll ask the nurse again."
We'll let you know what Lori reports to us as she waits for word on her son's surgery. Her daughter Jessica, 21, and ex-husband, Jim Leake, are expected to do what they can to keep her in the dark.
Their eternities as trillion-years-old "thetan" souls are at stake, apparently, if they can't keep a worried mother from her seriously injured son. Such is the way Scientologists perceive their place in the cosmos.
Update: Hodgson has been posting updates to her Facebook page about how things went down today:
Jeremy's surgery went well. It was 3 hours and he has a nail in his Femur with pins on each side holding the bones together. His collar bone is broken and the Dr. Said it should heal naturally. I'm waiting to see him in the recovery room...we will see if I get to see my son.
I was determined to see my son and this is what happened. My mom and I found out what room he was going to be in and we waited by the elevator near his room. After he was settled in his room, Jim his father was standing by his bedside asking Jeremy if he wanted to see me. Before Jim finished his sentence I went over to my son and said "Hi Jeremy I've been here for you all day and I'm so glad your doing well. Im going to leave now so there is not a problem for you. I hope you get well real fast and I love you so very much". Jeremy looked at me and said "I love you". Then I went to leave and saw my daugter talking to a nurse and I went up to her and hugged her telling her "I miss you and love you.". Jessica hugged me back. Then her grandma gave her a hug. This has been one hell of an emotional 2 days for me and my family. Thanks for all your Love and support it means alot!!!!
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology #1: L. Ron Hubbard #2: David Miscavige #3: Marty Rathbun #4: Tom Cruise #5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin #6: Anonymous #7: Mark Bunker #8: Mike Rinder #9: Jason Beghe #10: Lisa McPherson #11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants) #12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives) #13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists) #14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists) #15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics) #16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ #17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano #18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive #19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons) #20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures) #21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church #22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members) #23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church) #24: David Touretzky (and other academics) #25: Xenu, galactic overlord
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
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