Declaration of Zoe Woodcraft Part 1
27 Mar 2001
DECLARATION OF ZOE WOODCRAFT
I, Zoe Woodcraft, declare as follows:
1. I am 16 years of age.
2. The statements herein are of my own personal knowledge and if called upon as a witness, I can testify competently thereto.
3. In 1986, when I was two years old, my parents and 15-year-old brother joined the Sea Organization at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. My seven-year-old sister and myself were put into the care of the Cadet Organization at this time. My family and I lived at a building on U.S. Highway 19 called the "QI" which was an acronym for Quality Inn. This building was once a Quality Inn hotel. The cadet organization was located there.
4. The room we were assigned to live in was very small, approximately 12'X 20'. It was one room and one bath; very shabby, infested with cockroaches and smelling of mold. All five of us were in this room so it was very cramped and nearly unlivable.
5. My parents were shocked when we were first shown these living quarters. When they had been recruited to come into the Sea Organization to work for Flag they had been promised a new, two bedroom apartment in the Hacienda Garden complex; that we children would go to private school and that they would get one day off every two weeks. We soon found out none of this was true.
6. After about a year we returned to England to take care of our visas. I remember being in England and playing with a cousin and not wanting to return to Florida and our horrible living conditions.
7. I also remember my father being suddenly sent away and I had no idea when he might return. This frightened me, as I feared I would never see him again. I was told he had been sent to the ship but no one could tell me when he would return. He did return after 6 months.
8. We lived in Florida for about two years and then my mother was transferred to Los Angeles.
9. In Los Angeles I was placed in the "CEO" which stood for the "cadet estates organization." This was a building located next to Celebrity Center International. This is where I lived, by myself, for the next two years. My parents and brother were placed in adult living quarters and my older sister into the Cadet Org down the street. This building housed only younger children. We did not live with our parents, but were assigned to the care of "nannies."
10. Eventually my father had to take a leave of absence from the Sea Org to further take care of visa problems. He rented an apartment at this point and our family moved in. He then began working for a company owned by a Scientologist. He was supposed to work in this company for one year in order for our family members to obtain green cards. Technically, I lived in this apartment with my parents, however because both of my parents worked such long hours I would be taken to the CEO in the early morning and then picked up by my parents late in the evening. This was my basic schedule until I was six years old.
11. When I was six I was moved to what is called the "Int Ranch." This is a compound in Happy Valley, CA. We were told that this was a secret location and I was instructed not to tell my father where it was as he and my mother were now divorced and my father was no longer in the Sea Org.
12. I was placed in a dorm that was acceptable; i.e. nice carpet, neat etc. However, neither of my parents lived on premises and there was a sixteen-year-old boy named Sterling Thompson who was in charge of about twenty of us younger children, known as "pre-cadets." All together there was a staff of about six or eight adults who ran the compound and about one hundred children living there.
13. My schedule at the ranch was: wake up at 7:00 a.m., take one half hour to get dressed for the day then go to breakfast. Meals were highly regulated. We were assigned seats and each table had a "table captain" who made sure the assigned steward brought our food from the kitchen to the table. It was placed on the table and we served ourselves. Afterward we cleaned our own tables. We had half an hour to eat.
14. After breakfast we worked, dumping trash, mopping floors, sweeping etc. We were assigned cleaning stations throughout the compound. All our work was supervised by Sterling. We worked for about 20 minutes.
15. We then went to school for four hours with one fifteen minute break. Often, the school schedule was changed. Sometimes we did four hours in the morning and two at night, after working in the afternoon, and sometimes we did six hours straight.
16. Most of what I studied was Scientology materials. I remember doing the Basic Study Manual when I was six or seven years old and it was very difficult for me. This is a course geared for adults. When I did not score well on the final test, the instructor first told me to redo sections of the course and then told me to redo the entire course. I then had to start all over on this course. The only other subjects studied were reading and math.
17. After school, we had half an hour for lunch, and then we lined up and did group drills. We did "left/right/left marching, chanting of Scientology doctrines, and relay races to increase our "particle flow" so we could work faster. Then we received our work assignments for the afternoon.
18. The work consisted of such things as collecting rocks from a stream, putting them in a wheelbarrow and taking them to where a stone wall was being built; raking the football field after it had been mowed; and weeding. Most of the time we pulled weeds as the appearance of the compound was very important. We were often told how lucky we were to be allowed to live here. We worked all afternoon from lunch to dinner.
19. Before dinner, we showered. After dinner, we went to study for two more hours.
20. One thing that occurred some months after I had been there was that one afternoon we were all gathered up and directed to go to a house that was for what we called the "big boys." This was the house that Justin Miscavige lived in with several other boys. It was a very nice place, much better than the dorms. They had art paintings on the wall, whereas in our dorms we were only allowed pictures of L. Ron Hubbard or the Apollo ship. They also had different colors on the walls and the bedding, whereas the dorms were in nautical colors: navy and gold. There was no house for the big girls. Older girls just lived in the dorms with us younger children.
21. The day we were taken to the big boys house we were told to stay inside. I was told by the adult watching us that what was happening was we had too many kids at the ranch and a health inspector had come to check on us. So, we were hiding until he was gone.
22. In describing my bedroom, I again state all bedrooms were done in dark colors. Bedspreads were navy with a gold Sea Org symbol imprinted on them. The curtains were navy; the carpet was blue. We had brown dressers upon which we were not allowed to place personal items or family photos. We were not allowed to hang any personal photos or pictures; only the LRH or Apollo pictures.
23. One of the courses I had to do soon after arriving was the "make the bed" course. I had to learn how to fold the sheet corners so the bed was perfectly tucked and no wrinkles on anything. The final drill was making a perfect bed in less than five minutes.
24. At the ranch we dressed in uniforms. These consisted of khaki shorts with a red t-shirt or polo shirt with the Sea Org emblem embroidered on it. We also had sweat pants and dress pants and a vest. We could not wear our own clothes ever while on the ranch with the exception of pajamas.
25. As far as free or play time, there was none. Every aspect of our time was scheduled and controlled. Sometimes in the summer we were given twenty-five minutes to swim but that is all.
26. At the ranch there is also a form of punishment called "pigs berthing." This is levied against those who had a dirty dorm or dorm area. The punishment varies in different cadet orgs, but in this one offenders had to spend the night in what was called "The big house." The big house was an abandoned building with rotting floorboards and broken windows filled with insects, rats and bats. I clearly recall two girls about nine years old who were forced to spend the night there and in the middle on the night they ran screaming and crying from the building. One of the girls afterward told me that they had been terrified by the bats and couldn't stand it anymore.
27. This ranch was hours away from normal civilization. In the year plus that I lived there we never went into town for a field trip; never went to a movie, shopping or anything. We were totally isolated. The only time I ever left was when I was allowed once to take a leave of absence to visit my father at Christmas.
28. At the age of seven I was also made an MAA. This is a person who watches out to make sure no one is slacking in his or her work and to write reports when other children are misbehaving. For example one incident I had to write up on myself was when I had snuck into a snack shack and taken a bite of someone's candy bar. Another boy was made to stand up in front of the group and list off things he had stolen, such as a pen from a teacher. He listed about thirty such incidents of having taken or borrowed things without asking. This was extremely humiliating for him - he was about ten years old - and the next day he was kicked off the ranch.
29. Every Friday night my mother came at about 2:00 in the morning to pick me up in a car. We would return to her housing about half hour away and I would visit her until 12:00 noon the next day. This was the extent of my time with her. On alternate weeks, when I was to visit my father, my mother arranged for a friend of hers to pick me up and take me to my father's house as my father was forbidden to come to the ranch. I would stay there with my dad over night until 10:30 a.m. then I would have to return to the ranch. I often asked to stay longer, but I was always refused permission. This often upset my father and me. I felt like I had spent a lot of my life saying goodbye to my father.
30. The last few weeks I was at the ranch, I learned my mother had been sent to New York on a mission. After she was gone about three weeks, I was sent to be with her.
31. I was now in Manhattan. Here, I lived in a room with my mother. There was a bunk bed and I slept on top and she on the bottom. This room was relatively clean and nice as my mother was an "Int Missionaire" which meant she was highly ranked and the other staff members were frightened of her authority.
32. My schedule here was to hang out all day with six or seven other kids also in the building. I did no schooling during the entire time I was in New York, which turned out to be eleven months. My mother once asked me if I wanted to go to public school, but I thought public school was horrible and "the enemy" as this is what I had been taught all my life. I told her I didn't want to go and she said ok. While in New York, I turned eight.
33. At one point my mom put me in the Scientology course room to study training routines, but I didn't like it and upset the supervisor and eventually stopped. I did get to go out each day to either a comic store or to get a slice of pizza. Other than that I had no outside contact with non-scientologists. Also, there was a guy named Eugene who's job it was to watch the kids and he did take us to Central Park and to the empire state building.
34. Each Thursday night, my mother had to do the financial planning for the scientology organization and she would not come to our room in the evening. I would go to bed, but early in the morning hours I would get scared and wander around the building looking for her. I usually found her typing away in an office and I would stay with her until she came to bed.
35. Right before my ninth birthday, we returned to Los Angeles. I could not return to the ranch, as they had no more room for me. So now I went to the Apollo Training Academy.
36. The Apollo Training Academy is a training organization for scientology cadets i.e. children age seven and up. While a member of this organization I lived in the Anthony Building [AB] located on Fountain Street. The AB was a four-story heap: the pool was covered over with plywood and we were instructed not to walk on it, as it was flimsy and unsafe. Children played on it anyway as we were often unsupervised. The carpets were old and smelly and there were a lot of cockroaches. We slept in metal bunk beads with chipping paint. There was no proper bedding; not one of us had a complete sheet set, blanket and pillow. I slept without a pillow for many months.
37. All of the furniture was very old and decrepit. For light, we had bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The kitchens had also been ripped out to make more room for people so there were exposed pipes everywhere. These were the worst conditions I lived in during my tenure as a child of scientology.
38. This building was in an unsafe area of Los Angeles and I often heard gunshots at night. It was a very frightening place for me to live. The adult woman who was supposed to be our nanny - there were about eleven girls in my dorm - was missing most of the time. She didn't even sleep there and I remember never knowing where she was. At this time, my mother was again on a mission, this time in Mexico, so I did not see her at all. My dad, however, did begin picking me up again every two or three nights so I could stay with him.
39. The fact that I had contact with my father, who was not living within the confines of scientology, made me happy. This was a place I could go and have nice surroundings and eat whatever I wanted and he would give me spending money, as otherwise I had no money at all. I also had better clothing than the other children, who were wearing very poor clothing as their parents could not afford nice clothes and there were no uniforms here.
40. Meals at the AB were served three times a day. I don't remember what sort of food it was just that it was bad.
41. The bathrooms in the AB were also not fully functional and we often had no warm water, the tiles in the shower were moldy and we had no soap or towels.
42. In addition, the elevators in this four-story building never worked so we always had to use the steps.
43. My schooling during this year took place at the ATA building that was a five-minute bus ride away in a scientology complex. I again studied scientology principles and policies, math, reading and spelling. There were about two hundred kids in this school and we were just packed together. Kids even studied in the cafeteria where they would have to clean up their studies so we could eat. We also had no real schedule at this school. Every Monday was beach day and I did no studies on that day. We would often go to a park and spend the whole day there, also. They would also take us to a fifty-cent swimming pool, however a lot of the kids did not have the money to swim so we just sat around all day. If we asked the teacher for money, she said no and told us it was too bad for us we had no money.
44. Another activity we were assigned at the AB was what we called "chicken picking" the carpet. Since we had no vacuum cleaner, we children were instructed to get down on our hands and knees and pick dirt out of the carpet. This dirt included paint chips and we were expected to leave our section in perfect condition. This was very hard to do, especially in the small space between the carpet and the wall. There would be all sorts of small trash in there including paint and staples that hurt my fingers.
45. I lived in the Anthony Building for about two years in 1992 to early 1993 when I received a call from my mother, who I had rarely seen during this time. She asked me how would I like to come visit her in Florida for about three months. I didn't even really know where she was. I said yes, I would like to go. I didn't think I was moving permanently to Florida, because I didn't want to leave my dad. I just wanted to see my mom as I hadn't seen her in a long time.
46. So, I was flown out to Clearwater, Florida where my mom met me at the airport. She took me to her room at the Hacienda Gardens where I spent the night on her bedroom floor, which she shared with another staff member.
47. The next night, after I had been taken to a nice meal at a steak house, my mom took me to the Quality Inn (QI). She led me to a dorm room and exclaimed, "This is your room! It's nice!" and then she prepared to leave. At this point I begged her not to go and leave me. I cried and did not want to stay alone. It was one of the worst nights of my life. I was afraid at this point that I was going to be staying here permanently.
48. Later as I lay in bed, very upset and missing my father and sister in Los Angeles, I became sick and threw up my steak dinner. The next day I started on the schedule of the cadet organization.
49. Now, I had to work every day. I worked in my mom's office (Hubbard Communications Office) every afternoon filing and sorting letters. It was a similar schedule to the Int ranch schedule except instead of working outside in the afternoon I worked in an office.
50. It was at this point also that I signed a Sea Org contract. Actually, I had signed such a contract at some point earlier; this was the second one I had signed. This contract says I will work for the scientology organization for this entire life and the next one billion years. I also was told to read a policy that stated that if anyone is in scientology and does not want to be there they can just tell the captain and they will be allowed to leave. Of course, I didn't want to stay but I didn't want to upset my mother. Also, I was nine years old.
51. Schooling during this period was a bit broader than my previous experience. We studied some geography and some cultural information. We also had more diverse reading. Always, about forty percent of my schooling was scientology study. When I first got there, I only did four hours of school per day, in the morning, then worked in the afternoon, then just hung out at the QI and played at night. No one supervised our play in our rooms. After some time I started studying in the evenings also. This was called night school and it was purely scientology study.
52. Though I did see my mother in her office every day I did not spend any time with her. She was very busy and if I wandered into her room she would tell me to get back to work. The only time we spent together was Saturday mornings when I visited her at the Hacienda. This was also the only time she had to clean her room, so it was not real quality time. Occasionally, I went to her apartment the Friday night before and stayed the night. This was special to me.
53. Contact with my father during this time was very difficult. I did not know how to initiate contact and my mother was not happy with me when I sought her help. I found out later that he would call and call and finally fax angry messages demanding to speak to me. I did eventually receive these messages and permission to call him, but the deputy cadet commander always sat in the room with me when we spoke. From the time of my arrival at Flag, it was three months before my first contact with my dad, and about four months between calls thereafter.
54. After some time at the base, I was given permission to visit him twice a year. I originally visited him once in the summer and once at Christmas, however my mother and the cadet org frowned upon this as I was staying away longer than the time allowed for "leave of absence." We were only allowed three weeks leave per year and I would often extend my visits with dad because I didn't want to go back. I told my dad I didn't want to go back, but he was still a scientologist at that time and told me I had to.
55. I always got very depressed when it was time to return. I would cry through the whole flight and often upset the stewards on the plane. However, I composed myself as the flight neared Florida because I didn't want my mother to see that I was upset. She always became angry if I showed I did not like living at Flag. I also knew my mom did not like my father. She said he was "Ex-Sea Org and therefore a DB [degraded being]." There is church policy that states this as a fact that sea org members believe wholeheartedly.
56. I stayed in the cadet org for many years. At one point I moved dorms because I had been originally placed in a nice dorm, as my mom was "International management." However, when she got posted to Flag and became regular personnel, I was no longer privileged.
57. The room I was moved to was much worse. The pink carpet had brown stains on it and it had the most cockroaches I had ever had to live with. Only one other girl lived in this room. I didn't know her because I hadn't lived there long and I was shy and this girl was considered to have bad ethics. I stayed in this dorm for some months, and then I moved again. From 1994 to 2000 I lived at the QI in various dorms, some nicer than the others. I moved nine times that I can remember. Only during the final six months of 2000 did I live with my mother. By that time I was 15 years old.
58. All of this moving was very unsettling. Often, once you had become comfortable you would all of a sudden be told you had to move. Usually, this was to accommodate someone of a higher rank moving into the area. When you were told to move you had to quickly gather your belongings and go to wherever they assigned you whether you liked it or not.
59. One of my work assignments was to demolish the walls of a room. This was a strange room that had plywood attached in two layers on all the walls. We were ripping the plywood off the walls. When I asked the cadet coordinator what this room was he told me it was for "ethics particles" who had become upset or hysterical. He would place them (children) in this room and lock them in. Some of them had become so upset that they were kicking holes in the original walls as they were only drywall, so he had layered the walls with plywood so no one could kick through.
60. Life at the QI was overall depressing and dreary. The only place to play was the parking lot. We were always on a boring and strict schedule. I was never allowed to leave the QI premises and we rarely went on outings. I worked every afternoon and the entire day on Sundays. In fact, on Sundays we had "renos" (renovations) day where we worked to fix up the premises of the QI. If we did not have special permission on Saturday afternoons, after our parental visits, we also had to do renos. We were allowed to watch movies every Saturday night in the cadet room and this was our one point of fun, although we never got to select the movies; they were chosen by the governess Italia and at one point she was in love with a move called "White Knight" and we had to watch that movie over and over again for weeks. This was not a children's movie and it was unbelievably boring.
61. After one change of cadet coordinators, our reading and music selections were censored. Our rooms were searched for offensive materials and if something not approved was found it was confiscated. For example an Alanis Morrisett tape was taken away because she was "downtone" and "too much in anger." Archie Magazines were considered "too sexually oriented" and these were forbidden. Seventeen Magazine was also not allowed, nor were any fashion magazines because of the "middle class orientation" and sexual content.
62. Over the years I rose up in post. (By the way, I was considered a "missionaire" from the cadet org during the time I worked in my mom's office.) I once was the animal room I/C (in charge) of the pets. We had snakes and a tarantula and rats and a bunny. I liked this job. I then went to work as an "MAA" (Master At Arms), which deals with ethics. I had many other jobs in the HCO division and eventually became Exec Esto. On this post I carried out programs written by myself and the cadet coordinator to improve the cadet org. When I was the LC (LRH Communicator) one of my jobs was to make sure all the pictures of Ron Hubbard looked nice, so I was always cleaning cockroach feces out of the frames and the cardboard backing. I would also lead people in the chanting of scientology doctrines.
63. As the HAS and Director of Inspections and Reports I had to read the "overt write ups" of the other cadets. This would include the reports written up about masturbation and other sexual activity between the cadets. I also participated in courts of ethics and committees of evidence for children. These are disciplinary actions per church policies.
64. During some of these years I was considered a pre-cadet and at around age 11 I became a cadet. There is some pressure applied to convince children to become cadets.
65. First, it is made clear that at around the age of ten or eleven you should become a cadet and if you do not you are constantly asked why you are not a cadet.
66. Secondly, cadets receive privileges that other children do not. Cadets are paid weekly. When I first became a cadet I was paid sixteen dollars a week, but this was reduced to eight dollars some time later. There were special certificates that one could earn for extra money. These were originally worth $25.00 but were also reduced to be worth only $12.00. I did earn these certificates through good behavior and high production on my job.
67. Thirdly, cadets were given better accommodations. Non-cadets (called simply "children") and cadets had to live separately. If you were a plain "child" at the age of ten and not a "cadet" in cadet quarters you were treated differently and looked down upon.
68. Fourth, cadets were allowed more freedom of movement. They could leave the QI premises by themselves (in pairs- never alone) and if their stats were up they were allowed to go bowling. If they were "Cadet of the week" they received ice cream.
69. The drawback to becoming a cadet was that you were now, per the church policy, on the route to becoming a sea org officer. Per the policy, the definition of a cadet is "one who is training to be an officer."
70. The first time I was asked to become a cadet I said I was not sure I wanted to be in the Sea Org. I was missing my dad and thinking of returning to California. The cadet coordinator was shocked and told me I had to work this out. I told him I might want to go to college. He told me I had to do a condition of doubt
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