The St. Petersburg Times has conducted a lengthy investigation into the always controversial Church of Scientology, focusing on their practice of chasing down former members who've left the church in order to bring them back and ensure that they do not reveal any of the Church's secrets. The Times interviewed several high-ranking Scientology members who were involved in these retrieval operations:
Ex-staffers describe being pursued by their church and detained, cut off from family and friends and subjected to months of interrogation, humiliation and manual labor.
They say the church, led by David Miscavige, wanted to contain the threat that those who left might reveal secrets of life inside Scientology.
Marty Rathbun, a former church official and confidant of Miscavige, said the leader especially targeted those he had edged aside during his rise to the top or anyone he feared might threaten his position or the church if left alone on the outside.
A spokesman for the Church of Scientology has "categorically denied" that the leader of the Church knew about these practices and accused the Times being biased and practicing tabloid journalism.
Read the paper's full report here, or watch their video report below.