Astra Woodcraft Interview

Part Five

"The Mace Kingsley Ranch"

Video Interview - January 20, 2001


Transcript of Part Five

Stacy: What about when you visited the Mace Kingsley Ranch School?

Astra: Before I was in the Sea Organization, I was about 13. And there was a place called the Mace Kingsley Ranch. It was in Palmdale, about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles. And it was run by a man named Wally Hanks who was OTVII. He was one of the highest level Scientologists. He was very well known and revered and he used to do briefings to people on how to handle their children. And a lot of the children at Mace Kingsley Ranch were considered problem children. Their parents had gone into the Sea Org and they wouldn't go. Or their parents were in Scientology and they didn't want to be in Scientology. For one reason or another, they were considered a problem child. I never was sent there but I had friends who were and I went up to visit them a few times. Now, when I went to visit them, I found out what happened was, anyone who acted up…like, a boy was found peeping in the girls room. And, just anytime you did something wrong, you were paddled. Wally was a very big man and he had a paddle. And all of us would sit around-this happened the first time I went up there to visit-sit around on the sofa and the person who is being paddled stood in the middle of the room and Wally would paddle them with this paddle. And it made them cry. And then he would put a little notch on it for paddling them and that was the punishment. In the evenings, he would build a bonfire and give all the girls and all the boys beer. I was 13 years old. I think I was 13. Everyone had beer and got drunk. I think the first night or the second night I was up there, I was sitting next to him and I had had a few beers and so had he. And so had everyone else. And he put his hand down my shirt and down my bra and started feeling me. And I…it really scared me and I asked my friend later, I said, "What's Wally doing? Why did he do this?" And she said, "Oh. Don't worry. He just does that with the girls. That's just what he does but don't worry about it."

Stacy: This guy is running the school?

Astra: Yeah. He ran it. From what I know, he owned it and he definitely ran it with his wife. Another night, he took us camping and we went out and we had more beer. And we were camping and once we had all had a few drinks, he gave us guns to go practice shooting. So, I sat in the dark with a flashlight and a gun and practiced shooting at cans and things after I had had a few beers to drink.

Stacy: What kind of guns?

Astra: Just, like, handguns. Oh…and rifles. We did rifles earlier in the day before we drank and then we did handguns in the evening. That one time that he put his hand down my shirt was the only time he did that to me. But later on, when I was in the Sea Organization, when I was the Director of Inspections and Reports, I came across some reports on him. He had been found out that he had been doing these things but he had done a lot worse than what he had done to me. He had really badly molested several girls.

Stacy: How do you mean?

Astra: Like, felt down their pants and had them pee on his car or on someone's car and just…

Stacy: What do you mean, pee on the car?

Astra: He got off by seeing them pee on the cars. Told them to pee on cars. And they would do it for him because they had to or…

Zoe: They might be drunk.

Astra: He got them drunk. Had them pee on cars.

Stacy: God!

Astra: Felt them and I don't know if he actually had intercourse. I don't remember if he actually had intercourse with anyone. But, you know, up to that point, really bad molesting.

Stacy: What happened? What happened to him?

Astra: Well, because he was an OTVII, they had said they weren't going to declare him officially because it would be bad public relations for people to hear that an OTVII molested children and got declared. So, they quietly ousted him from the Church. They quietly said, he's declared.

Stacy: But did they report him to the authorities?

Astra: No. They never reported him…at least not to my knowledge. The report said nothing about it. They said…it was a handling. It's, like, "he's been doing this and what we're going to do is we're going to oust him but we're not going to officially declare him. We're not going to tell people about it because it's bad public relations" because he was an OTVII.

Stacy: What about the parents of the girls who were molested? Did they do anything about this?

Astra: I don't know. I don't know about that. I don't know what happened. One of the girls was in the Sea Org with me and left. And another one of the girls is still a Scientologist. They're all still Scientologists.

Stacy: Gosh!

Astra: And the parents probably were told, "Well, we're ousting him from the Church." And that's considered a handling.

Stacy: Incredible.

Zoe: There was another case of that. Before I came to the QI, like, the second time. There had been a cadet coordinator there, I have forgotten his name. I mean, I never even met him but my friend was later telling me that he had molested her. She had come in with a cut on her leg to his office saying, "Can you fix this? Do you have a band-aid?" And he sat her down and he also felt her up, down her pants. She had been, like, I think 11 at that time. And she finally told her mom and her mom told, like…now, her mom was totally outraged. And her mom told the Church authorities and they took him off the post of cadet coordinator. I think they put him on the Rehabilitation Project Force. And that was it. He didn't get anything else. They wouldn't report that to the authorities because it would bring attention to their school and it would be bad publicity for Scientology.

Astra: There was another case, too. When I was in the Cadet Org at Flag, I remember, I was about eight. There was a girl who was there who was maybe 13, 14, maybe 15 or 16 and one of the men who was an older man, maybe in his 30s, he as in charge of the kids, I think. Or he had another job, I don't remember because I was so young. But I remember this happening. He had an affair with her and she was underage and he got ousted but not reported. Because I remember, I saw him later and he…
Stacy: With a 15 year old?

Astra: Yeah, he was, like, a taxi driver. 15 or 16. Definitely not…he was in big trouble because she was underage and then you're not allowed to do anything before you're married and she was underage. But never reported because, they just ousted him. They just kicked him out. But they don't want to get in trouble for it because they are liable for this kind of stuff. Same thing with the lady who poisoned the little child in LA. They sent her to the Rehabilitation Project Force instead of reporting her to the authorities because they didn't want the bad public relations.

Zoe: They often pick, like, the staff members that had, you know, messed up the worst on jobs or had proven the most ineffective and the most irresponsible, they often picked those people to be the nannies and the adults in charge of watching the children. The few adults in charge of watching the children because the Cadet Org was considered unimportant and unnecessary, really. Like, it was just children who are taking up their money and it was…most of the people that watched me came off the Rehabilitation Project Force for doing something wrong, sometimes sexually wrong. Sometimes wrong with the Scientology technology, which are both considered very bad. So, they put the people that they consider really low and, like, the worst to watch us. I mean, who knows how bad things got?

Astra: There's obviously no background checks. No criminal checks, nothing done. They didn't even do their own checks. Like, people who were sent up to Int. or people who would go to OSA or people who work on, like, the jobs I worked on even are given special confessionals to make sure they are qualified. They didn't even do their own internal checks on these people. They picked…because it was considered about as important as washing the pots and pans. They put the people they consider the least qualified to watch them. And that was…even in a program once…one time they wrote a program to handle it because there was a girl who was suicidal and these other things were happening. And they were worried they were going to get in trouble legally. They decided they had to do something about it and it was even written in a program I saw that the people who are the least qualified are the ones put to handle the children.

Stacy: The program actually stated this???

Astra: It stated that but then they never handled it because it was very typical in Scientology-they write these long programs with these long handlings that are impossible to do that can't get done because they don't have the resources and they don't have the ability. And all their policies act against each other. The programs never get done.

Stacy: Mm-hmm

Astra: So it never got sorted out.

Stacy: I just wonder how many things are going on in Scientology like this that aren't being reported because Scientologists are forbidden to go outside the organization.

Astra: Yeah. I mean, and the things I said are just the things I know about. And I certainly don't know everything.

Zoe: I would guess that children that-over 20 instances of molestation or serious abuse of, like, hitting them or, like, slapping them around to unconsciousness have happened, over 20, I bet. Like, really serious.

Astra: Then there's the whole point on abortion and coercing into abortion. For example, after I left and I had my daughter, my brother's wife got pregnant. She was just a year or two older than me. She was one of my best friends when I was there. She got pregnant so that she could leave and she thought my brother would go with her. She thought he wanted to leave. She wanted to leave very badly. My brother called me up and he told me he was trying to convince her to get an abortion. And he was very upset because she wouldn't. Why he was telling me this, I don't know. I just had a child. But he's telling me all this and we were…I was very happy for Dee even though she was going to go through the same thing of having to raise the baby by herself. I was happy. I knew-I had said to my dad, "I know Dee's not happy and I know she's going to leave." And a few months later, we heard that she did. And she never said a word but you can just tell, you know? So, she was going to leave and then she was just going to leave without him because he refused to go with her. He wasn't going to go. And she was four months pregnant, he called me up and told me that he had convinced her and she had gone…that he had taken her to go and get an abortion.

Zoe: He was all happy about it.

Astra: And he was happy about it. And he said, "At first," this was the day after, he said, "At first, I was upset but now I'm okay because I know it was the best thing." Then my mom called and Zoe was very upset about it and I was too. But Zoe says to my mom, "Dee just got an abortion." And my mom says, "Oh, good!"

Stacy: God!

Zoe: Yeah, my mom…you could hear relief in her voice. She was, like, "Oh! Oh good! The problem is solved!" I said…

Astra: We were just in shock.

Stacy: I said, "Mom, do you realize what you're saying?" I said, I was, like, "Dee got an abortion!" I said, "Our little baby that was half grown." I said, I was, like, "It had a heartbeat already. It had a fingerprint." And I was, like, "It would have been Kate's cousin." I kept trying to describe, like, how, you know, like she sounded…

Astra: Does this make you feel anything?

Zoe: It wasn't human! Yeah, and she was, like, and she instantly kind of changed. She's, like, "Well, you know, these things happen. But it was all for the greatest good. It was all to forward Scientology so Dee could keep working for Scientology." That's all that mattered.

Stacy: God!

Astra: That's all she cared about.

Zoe: Even though, you know, a little baby was put to death. I mean, I'm not against all abortion or anything. I just think that, in this case, Dee wanted the baby, you know? She purposely got pregnant so she could have this baby and leave. And my brother just ruthlessly went after her and convinced her. And you know, Astra described her state of mind to me, you know, she was kind of wobbly. And I'm sure that's how Dee was. And he just went after that and went after her vulnerable points and convinced her. And she just, she just had her baby killed.

Stacy: Kate is so lucky that nobody was able to convince you.

Astra: Yeah. Well, I was lucky because I had my dad. I knew I had somewhere to go. She didn't have the support. Plus, she wanted my brother to go with her. She was in love with him. She thought he would go with her. I was…I wanted to leave my husband. We didn't want to be married anymore. So she, you know, it was very hard for her. She left anyway. I don't know what happened but I…

Zoe: Months later.

Astra: One time I asked, "Where is she?" Because I went to speak to my brother. And they said, "Oh, she doesn't work here anymore." So I don't know what happened. But I know of other girls who got abortions. There was an older lady about 40 and she already had a couple children who were grown and they were in the Sea Org. And she got pregnant and she's, like, "Oh, I have to get an abortion." And she just went off and got it. And another girl got pregnant and she had to borrow $300.00 to go and get an abortion. They were all sent to Planned Parenthood to get the abortions.

Stacy: Planned Parenthood in LA?

Astra: Yeah. And, I mean, it's not even a matter of pro-choice or pro-life. But, I mean, even if you're pro-choice, it's not a choice when someone's making you do it.

Stacy: Right.

Zoe: Yeah. It wasn't like…

Astra: I mean, the law is that you may get an abortion and, you know, that's fine. Because in some cases, it's warranted. But, like, if someone's raped or something.

Stacy: But you shouldn't be coerced?

Zoe: It should be totally your choice.

Astra: But these people are like wearing you down for months while holding you prisoner saying you have to get an abortion. And it's just unbelievable to me! It's unbelievable!

Stacy: It's tragic.

Astra: Yeah. I mean, it's the only "church" that I know of in the world that gets people to get an abortion. It's only because they don't want to deal with the financial difficulty of it.

Stacy: Or the production distraction.

Astra: Yeah. And it's so backwards because…this is another example of the policies conflicting. L. Ron Hubbard says there are eight dynamics in your life. The second dynamic has to do with family and procreation. And he says that if you don't have all your eight dynamics, you know, working in alignment; if you're not happy and successful in all of those, you can't survive on any of them. Yet, you're not allowed to have children. I remember at 12 years old, I was suddenly, like, "Oh. I read the rule." And suddenly, I'm 12 years old and I already know I can't have children. You know? That was just a shock.

Astra: When that rule came out, I was…my post was the Director of Inspections and Reports and all the staff were put in one room and given a briefing on this new policy. And I had to…I was under orders to stand there and look and see who got upset about it and then take them to ethics and handle them. And that's what I had to do. And there were several people who were, like, and I'm sitting here, like, (whining) "I want children! What am I going to do?" Having to handle people on wanting children. It was just unbelievable to me.


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