By Gene Decheff
I have told my story of leaving the Gold/Int base at various times to various people over the last 19 years and decided to put it out there for anyone who is interested. I also decided to refuse to be intimidated, and use my real name, as the story makes it obvious who I am anyway. I have also already been part of an investigation by a private investigator sent by the Church and they found nothing. This is a factual account of my experience, not an attack on the Church or anyone in it. The Church should have nothing to fear from the truth of what occurred.
In the fall of 1990 I was a Gold staff member working in Estates after getting off the RPF for the third time. My wife had been approved for RTC after several successful years as CO CMO IXU in PAC. DM found out about this and cancelled the approval and put her in HCO Gold. She had also recently done a successful recruit mission that got a lot of people approved and sent to Gold from PAC.
In September of 1990 it was decided to send her back to PAC to recruit more people for Gold. She was given a quota and a time target to do this. This time it did not go as well. On October 8th she was ordered back to Gold. She knew she would end up digging ditches or worse. At that time we were sharing a two bedroom apartment at the Devonshire Apartments in Hemet. The couple we were sharing with just happened to be the CO Gold, Wendell Reynolds and his wife. Getting the recall was the final straw for my wife. We were one of the lucky few Gold/Int staff who had a car. She left LA, drove to the apartment, packed some clothes and hit the road.
At this time we had already been married for 10 years. Our marriage had survived through thick and thin, including my 3 RPF assignments when I would not see her for months at a time, missions all over the world, transfers, etc.
This is where it gets interesting. At the time my wife was on her way to freedom, I was chosen to go on a project ordered by DM to complete the security fencing around the Base. I was in briefing for this project in CMO Gold when I was told my wife had blown. This was a shocker, to say the least. I knew she had not been happy since being transferred to Int/Gold, but I did not expect her to blow.
Anyone reading this that is familiar with “Mission Tech” knows that before you fire on a mission or project, you have to be approved by HCO and Qual. This means you have to be in a good state of mind, with no “case” issues, no ethics issues, and no PRESENT TIME PROBLEMS in your life. Well, after a phone call to my wife at her parents’ with Security present, I was fired on the project. Security and everyone else I talked to assured me that she would be back. I knew different.
This was the point I decided I was done. I continued on the project, with Andre Tabayoyn as the Project In Charge, and Kevin O’Hare.
One night after work I returned to the Devonshire Apartments. They had an outside pay phone and I used it to call my wife. That is when told her was done and was going to join her. I continued to call her from that pay phone a few times a week for a couple weeks. I was very afraid someone would see me and report it. They never did. I figured either everyone really did think she was coming back, or they really were clueless of what was going on.
I started quietly packing a few small boxes of personal belongings at night and hiding them in my closet. I don’t even remember how I got the boxes as this would have been a dead giveaway if I had been seen.
I decided on the date I would leave and made the last call to my wife.
Here is another amazing key part of the story. One obvious factor in leaving the Sea Org after 11 years is MONEY. Few SO members were able to accumulate any savings, myself included. Somehow a few months earlier I received a pre-approved letter from Discover Card. I accepted the card and it made it to me through Security. This was especially odd since I had previously had a Visa card while at Flag that had to be charged off due to months in the RPF and no way to pay off the balance.
On the morning of 22 October, I got up at about 4am and with Discover Card in hand, quietly slipped out of the apartment and walked about 5 miles to the Ryder truck rental store in Hemet. I waited until they opened and rented a box van. I drove around Hemet until I knew the last bus had left to take the crew to the Base.
I knew it would only be a matter of time before I was missed and someone would come looking for me. I was loading everything I could, as fast as I could, into the truck when Andre arrived. He asked what I was doing and I told him I was leaving. Of course he tried any way he could to get me to change my mind. I continued loading the truck. Then, knowing it was also HIS ass if I were to succeed in leaving, he asked me to stay until he called Security. This is where everyone is going to think I was nuts. I agreed. I guess I figured that if I cooperated, they would eventually let me go, as opposed to fighting them.
About thirty minutes later, Jackson from Security arrived. He also tried every possible way he could think of to get me to stay. Finally as a last resort got me to agree to come back to the Base so Security could go through the truck. Again, I agreed, for the same reason. My biggest fear about this was that I would no longer be in a public area like the apartments if I needed help. I would now be on private property behind a fence with gates and no way to get help.
I arrived back at the Base between noon and 1pm. I was met by two security guards. They got into the back of the truck and got busy searching everything that I had.
They went through every page, of every book I had. They took any photos out of my albums that had ANY Scientology significance, i.e.; anyone in SO uniform, any Church buildings, etc. After being in the CMO for a total of 4 years, I had some gifts that I had received from LRH that were given on special occasions, like Birthday, SO Day, etc. Those were also confiscated. At one point I sensed that they were getting frustrated about not finding enough booty to confiscate. One of the guards happened to look down at my feet and said; “are those uniform issue?” He was referring to the work boots I was wearing. They had been issued to me as part of my Estates uniform. He told me I would have to leave them as they were Church property. I took off the boots and handed them to him. I dug through some things in the truck and came up with an old pair of cowboy boots I had and put them on.
Now it was about 4pm, and after over 3 hours of searching the truck, to my surprise and relief I was allowed to leave the Base. I drove to the Denny’s in Beaumont and called my wife. I was free. I had lunch and hit the road and never looked back. I reunited with my wife at her sisters’ in Vancouver, Washington and we started rebuilding our life. We will celebrate our 29th anniversary this December.