Tonja Burden Affidavit

Date: January 25, 1980
Tonja Burden signs an affidavit describing her experiences in Scientology: At the age of 13, she signed a billion-year contract to join the Sea Org. She lived apart from her parents. She went to live on the Apollo. "On many occasions I ironed through the night, finishing at 6:00 am. I then started washing the next morning's clothing. On occasion I worked three or four days without sleep. I fell asleep at the ironing board with a hot iron in my hand. My senior, 'Doreen' Gilliam, 'caught' me sleeping and yanked my head off the board. She ordered me to run laps and assigned me a condition of 'Doubt.' ... Aboard the ship, I received a Telex from Peter Albert, who was the Continental Justice Chief, FOLO. The Telex informed me my father had been declared an SP (Suppressive Person). They said he was a 'plant,' a spy within Scientology. I began crying and asked to leave, telling them I could convince my father to return to Scientology. Dede Riesdorf, the 'Super Cargo' of our 'org', would not permit me to leave. I explained I wanted to leave and reunite with my mom and dad, but she would not permit this. She told me to 'disconnect' from my parents because my parents were SP's. Disconnection meant no more communication with my parents. ... On a number of occasions, I saw people placed in the 'chain lockers' of the boat on direct orders of Hubbard. These lockers were small, smelly holes, covered by grates where the chain for the anchor was stored. I saw one boy held in there for 30 nights, crying and begging to be released. He was only allowed out to clean the bilges where the sewer and refuse of the ship collected. ... At Fort Harrison, security guards were stationed outside to prevent people from 'blowing'. To 'blow' meant to leave Scientology. People were not allowed to just leave Scientology. Approximately 30 to 40 people tried to escape. These people were caught and placed in the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force). The RPF was a Scientology 'concentration camp', where people who were 'security threats' were kept under guard. The RPF at Fort Harrison was in a storage area. ... In August 1977 I refused to perform a certain order and was sent to the galley, where I performed menial labor until I emotionally broke apart and was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) on the direct orders of Hubbard. ... In Los Angeles I was locked in a room and forced to undergo a 'security check' on the E-meter. I was very scared and crying ... "
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