Man Sues Scientology-Based Detox Clinic; Blames Them For Suicide Attempt


Sep. 20 2012, Published 2:00 p.m. ET

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By Debbie Emery - Reporter

A former drug addict who tried to kill himself at a Scientology-affiliated detox clinic is suing the center claiming their extreme treatment caused him to jump off a third floor balcony in a suicide attempt.

William Sweeney filed the lawsuit against Pur Detox in Dana Point, Calif., and Dr. Allan Sosin in the Orange County Superior Court this week, alleging negligence, medical malpractice and negligent supervision, the Court House News reported.

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After checking into the clinic for treatment for drug and alcohol problems, Sweeney claims the doctor's "purification rundown" method that took him off all his prescribed medications in a "quick taper" directly led to the near-deadly leap that caused him to suffer "severe personal injuries."

The patient also alleges that he was often left alone unsupervised, and that Dr. Sosin only saw him once and never asked if he was suffering from withdrawals but instead told him to stop taking the anti-opiate, Suboxone and the anti-psychotic, Seroquel.

According to the legal documents, "On or about December 11, 2011, during the 'quick taper' period, Pur Detox staff members took the plaintiff to the third floor of the residence. Plaintiff was led out onto a third floor balcony and told to do certain 'visualization' exercises. After the exercise on the balcony the plaintiff returned downstairs, where he was left alone.

"Instead of monitoring and observing the plaintiff, the staff member assigned to him went to sleep on another level of the residence. At approximately 6:00 p.m. the plaintiff returned to the unsecured third floor, went out onto the unsecured balcony through an unlocked and unalarmed sliding door, and attempted suicide by jumping off the balcony."

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The complaint goes on to explain that, "Pur Detox Inc. is a Church of Scientology-affiliated facility which has a policy of quickly weaning clients off of psychiatric medications," and its controversial purification rundown method was first developed by the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Sweeney suffered multiple fractures in the fall that landed him in the hospital for four weeks. He is now seeking punitive damages, medical and incidental costs, and lost and impaired future earnings.


While the Church of Scientology is not a party to the lawsuit, this is not the first time a death has been connected to their treatment methods.

As previously reported, the LAPD investigated the death of Alexander Jentzsch, the son of the President of Scientology, who was found dead at the home of his wife's parents last July after suffering from a high fever.

An Oklahoma rehabilitation center with a controversial regimen that has ties to Scientology is also at the center of an investigation after three young patients died there within the last nine months.

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Recent deaths at the non-profit, non-medical Narconon Arrowhead, which was founded by Hubbard, include 20-year-old Stacy Murphy, 21-year-old Hillary Holton, and 32-year-old Gabriel Graves, and all have been linked to unorthodox methods the center employs, including patients spending up to five hours a time in a sauna for a month straight, and taking large doses of Niacin, a vitamin.


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