A man who runs Scientology “treatment centers” throughout Tennessee and two of his employees were prosecuted after police found two people held against their will at one of his facilities.
All facilities in Cannon County were closed and three men were arrested in connection with the kidnappings. According to WZTV, deputies responded to a 911 call from the Sunshine Lane facility in early February and discovered a man in a cabin with no food or running water. The man claimed a caretaker prevented him from leaving and that he was assaulted.
Authorities also alleged that a mentally handicapped woman was made to stay in a padlocked room for 14 hours a day.
The Cannon Courier provided additional details about the victims’ living conditions. Officers described the locked cabin where the man was living as having “no obvious amenity for life”—being completely barren aside from a pile of sheets in the corner. Authorities said the man claimed he was at the facility for nine months and was given unknown medications during that time.
Circuit Judge David Bragg ruled this week that “all facilities in Cannon County are closed and will not operate any resident facilities in Cannon County, Tennessee,” the paper wrote.
WZTV reported on Friday that Marc Vallieres, the manager of Life Center For a New Tomorrow, LLC, was charged with two felony counts of facilitation to kidnapping. The Life Center website describes its mission as a non-medical facility:
“The Life Center is not a medical or treatment facility. The main focus is to provide an environment that is peaceful and safe, where people can rest, destimulate, gradually calm down, regain their senses and with some help perhaps recover the social skills necessary to function successfully in life.”
Hans Lytle and Dennis Flamond (pictured left and right), who acted as caretakers at the Sunshine Lane facility, were also arrested for their treatment of the female and male victim, respectively. The pair later pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment.
The Cannon County Clerk’s Office told WZTV that all three men were sentenced to unsupervised probation for 11 months and 29 days. The court also ruled that Vallieres cannot operate any facility or residence in the county.
The Life Center is said to have no affiliation with the official church. The station pointed out that none of the three men are licensed healthcare professionals and that the self-proclaimed Scientologist used training learned through the church to open up his own treatment center.
“I had no idea what was going on down there. You can’t open a Scientology facility unless it’s approved by the church,” Church of Scientology Nashville pastor Reverend Brian Fesler commented. “It has nothing to do with our church. It’s nothing we would be involved in, in any way.”
[Featured Image: Cannon County Sheriff’s Office]