RELIGION
06/02/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Ramifications Of Leaving Scientology (VIDEO)

Last night, Anderson Cooper 360 continued its investigation of allegations of physical abuse within the Church of Scientology.

The allegations come from several formerly high-ranking Scientologists against the Church's leader, David Miscavige. The Church has responded that the accusers themselves were involved in acts of violence and that the allegations against Miscavige are fabricated.

In last night's segment, several of the accusers alleged that when they began to speak out against Scientology, their friends and relatives within the Church were pressured to cease communication with them.

Jeff Hawkins, a Scientologist for 35 years and a former member of the Church's Sea Organization, said that when he left Scientology in 2005, the Church forced him to divorce his wife. They haven't spoken since.

He pointed to a policy called Disconnection, which pressures Church members to sever ties with anyone declared a Suppressive Person, a Church term for an enemy of Scientology or its principles.

Amy Scobee, another former member of the Sea Organization, said that when she left Scientology, she witnessed Church officials serving her mother with papers declaring Scobee a Suppressive Person and ordering her to Disconnect.

The Church denies that any such policy exists.

"Anything that's characterized as Disconnection or this kind of thing, it's just not true," Church spokesman Tommy Davis told CNN in a previous interview. "There isn't any such policy in the Church that's dictating who people should or should not be in communication with."

Monique Yingling, an attorney for the Church, said, "It isn't the Church saying you can't talk to this person, but individuals make decisions that they don't want to have contact with someone who is attacking what is their life, essentially."

Christy Collbran, a former Sea Organization member whose parents no longer communicate with her, said that while the Church may not enforce Disconnection officially, family members who do not comply may be labeled Suppressive Persons themselves.

"You can say, 'No, I'm not going to Disconnect,' but then what happens to you is that you can't go into the church, and other people won't speak to you," she said.

See the entire segment below: