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Sterling Management recruited yet another dentist
CHEROKEE COUNTY HERALD, Centre, Alabama
Wednesday December 12, 1990.
"Management Seminar" Harrowing Experience
By TERRY DEAN, Staff Writer
"We now feel like we've been raped. We feel so invaded. We say, "I still can't believe this happened to us."
Dee Rowe, wife of local dentist Glover Rowe D.M.D., described their recent harrowing experience in what was sup posed to be a "management seminar" in California. Dr. and Mrs. Rowe said they were held against their will by a religious cult and were forced to endure brainwashing attempts.
MRS. ROWE identified the organization responsible for luring dentists, chiropractors, veterinarians and other medical professionals into this "scam" as a management systems firm with facilities in Glendale, Calif.
"They advertise business management courses that cost $15,000 for seven days," said Mrs. Rowe. "They usually get a dentist who has been in your area and print a success story on him. This dentist gets 10 percent of the $15,000 if you buy the package."
Mrs. Rowe. who could not reveal the name of the dentist who introduced them to the seminar, said that she and Dr. Rowe took out a loan for S15,000, not knowing how they would pay it back.
"We went to California to a seven-day seminar," said Mrs. Rowe. "These people participate in a type of mind control. I now look back at some of the things I was doing. They were having a big influence on me."
DR. ROWE became a different person, Mrs. Rowe said.
"They had a lot of meetings with him. They talked him into bumping up our credit cards to buy more courses, basically life-improvement courses."
The first seminar the Rowes attended was held Oct. 18-25 in Glendale, Calif., and they attended a second seminar Nov. 15-22 in Orange County, Calif.
"I went in and begged Glover not to sign anything," said Mrs. Rowe. "Glover said 'I've already signed it and feel good about it.'"
According to Priscilla Coates, with Cult Awareness, a national organization, these people are so sophisticated at mind control, they do not need drugs or other mind-altering devices.
"You see people walking around with this glazed look in their eyes," said Mrs. Rowe.
The Rowes returned to California for their other courses a few weeks later, which were $5,000 and $2,500 each.
"I FOUND OUT they had done personality tests on us and were lecturing him on our marriage." said Mrs. Rowe. "They said we're in serious trouble and that if we didn't take these courses, we would be divorced in a year and I would become a child abuser."
On her second trip, Mrs. Rowe said she wasn't happy the first three days, but could not put her finger ou a specific reason for her mood. The third night, however, things started coming to a head.
"They put a telephone in front of me and said I should call every member of my family and tell them I was a member of the Church of Scientology. I refused," said Mrs. Rowe. "At that point, they said, 'but you see Dee, you have to.' I said, 'No I don't have to,' and they said I couldn't leave until I did."
After arguing with them for two hours, Mrs. Rowe convinced them to let her leave, saying she would call her family from her hotel room.
"WHEN I STARTED complaing to Glover about this, he said, 'You don't understand, because you've never been to dental school. You have to do what they tell you to pass.' It hit me Medical professionals have been trained to think that way," said Mrs. Rowe.
The next day, Mrs. Rowe told seminar personnel she had phoned her family, but that she resented it. They then asked Dr. Rowe if she had called her family from her hotel room.
"All that night in the hotel room, I threw up and cried," said Mrs. Rowe. "They sent both of us back to the motel room early. The next day I begin to complain immediately. I said you people are trying to control us!"
Dr. and Mrs. Rowe were then separated, she said, and she was taken into a room where her back was placed against a wall.
"FOR SEVEN hours, a man drilled me, tried to brainwash me," said Mrs. Rowe. "I begged him to let me go, he kept saying, 'but you see Dee, you can't.' He tried to get me to con-ess to crimes. He started getting me to tell him sex stories. He made me list every overt sin I had committed. They insisted I write down everything I had done wrong. I couldn't list any- thing bad enough to please them. They tried to get me to tell them crimes other people I knew had committed. I learned later that this was for blackmail purposes."
At this point, Mrs. Rowe had cried for seven hours. Mrs. Rowe finally decided the best thing to do was play along.
"THEY WERE TRYING to control me," said Mrs. Rowe. "I stopped and started rubbing my eyes. He kept on at me, trying to get me to tell him sex stories, so I burned his ears. He seemed really pleased."
"Okay Dee, now that you're calm, we'll see what to do with you," the man said.
Mrs. Rowe bolted out the door at this point, out into the highway and tried to scream for help.
"He stood there and watched me," said Mrs. Rowe. "It was just highway with a sidewalk. Eventually, I got to an intersection."
A man then jumped out of the car, Mrs. Rowe said, and began to chase her.
"I was about a mile up the road by then," said Mrs. Rowe. "He turned, ran and jumped back in his car. He drove off quickly when I screamed."
MRS. ROWE then hit a side road and tried to stay out of sight. The sun was setting about this time.
"I came upon a golf course, found a restaurant with pay phones and starting making calls," said Mrs. Rowe. "I called the hotel and said, 'Gary, I'm in bad trouble. This thing we've been going to is a cult."
Gary had just started working at the hotel, Mrs. Rowe said, and was someone the Rowes felt they could trust.
"Dee, the people are demanding that you come back to the hotel."
Gary, as it turned out, was working for these people and Mrs. Rowe refused to go with him when he came for her in a car.
MRS. ROWE then called Barbra, Dr. Rowe's office manager, who was keeping the Rowes' baby in the hotel.
"Dee, they're asking where you are," said Barbra.
Mrs. Rowe then arranged to meet with Barbra and the baby at the restaurant next door to the hotel, before calling the police.
"They were waiting at the hotel," said Mrs. Rowe. "At the restaurant next door, two men came running and chasing me through the restaurant. I began screaming, 'Call the police, call the police!' In the meantime, we called a cab and went to a populated area."
MRS. ROWE said the police had advised her to go to a populated area because the cult members would follow her home. The three went to Irvine, California.
"We checked into a hotel under a fake name," said Mrs. Rowe. "We didn't sleep all night."
Mrs. Rowe then got in touch with Priscilla Coates of Cult Awareness who called Dr. Rowe at 5:30 a.m. the next morning.
"They let her through because she had a California accent," said Mrs. Rowe. "They told Glover 'the Cult Awareness people have kidnapped Dee and are holding her for ransom.' Cult Awareness doesn't hold people for ransom, it helps them get away."
"ARE YOU going to stay with Scientology?" Mrs. Coates asked Dr. Rowe.
"Yes," Dr. Rowe replied."
"They were with him every minute," said Mrs. Rowe. "Glover couldn't even go to the bathroom by himself. The baby, Barbra, and I got out of there. We had police escorts all the way home. We were very scared, That was Thanksgiving Day."
Mrs. Rowe was informed by Cult Awareness that Dr. Rowe was probably under the cult's control and didn't offer much hope of getting him back.
"Friday, I decided to call GIover and see if he was okay," said Mrs. Rowe. "I disguised my voice. Glover answered."
"ARE YOU alone?" Mrs. Rowe asked.
"No," Dr. Rowe said.
"Are you being held against your will?" Mrs, Rowe asked.
"Yes," Dr. Rowe said.
"If you can get away from there, call me," said Mrs, Rowe. "Get them in a public place and start screaming. I'm going to call the police to come get you."
"The guy from Scientology then told Glover he was playing along with them. He pretended to be on their side. After Glover hung up, he told the guy it was me."
"I THINK I'd better go," the man said. "If you take the shuttle to the dianetics center. I'll give you a plane ticket back home."
Dr. Rowe then went to a shopping center across the street from the hotel and called his wife and got a cab.
"He called me and said I had an hour to catch my flight," said Mrs. Rowe.
Their troubles weren't over yet, however. A woman from Scientology came to the airport looking for Dr. Rowe.
"The lady at the ticket counter remembered us," said Mrs. Rowe. "She asked him if he was in trouble and called airport se- curity to see that he got on the plane safely."
WHEN THE Rowes arrived at the airport, they were met by two police officers, Dr. Rowe's brother, an elder from his brother's church, a psychologist and Craig Branch, who helps people get away from cults.
"A man approached Glover's brother and said he'd pick him up," said Mrs. Rowe. Glover's brother said, 'Well we're here now, so you may leave.'"
Mrs. Rowe said she and her husband are in the process of filing a lawsuit against Scientology and the Sterling Corporation.
"My mission is to expose this company rooking these people," said Mrs. Rowe. "I don't want to see them bring our profession down. It is such a clever scam. Many people don't understand. They really believe everything that is being said to them."
UPON DOING research, the Rowes discovered that their experience is by no means a solitary incident. Mrs. Rowe said the California police were "not even surprised" when they reported the cult's behavior.
In a March 1990 issue of Cult Awareness Network News, Dr. Roberty G., an Ohio dentist reported writing up to $200,000 to Sterling Management and claimed the company "almost cost him his dental practice and injured his wife's mental health."
According to the article, Mrs. G. was told that she needed to be "cleared" and was held captive in a cabin for two weeks "to correct behavior that could harm the organization."
At the cabin, Mrs. G. was deprived of food and sleep and was pushed against the walls and thrown onto a bed whenever she tried to get away.
"Tell people if they get any brochures from Sterling or any other Scientology group, to just throw them away," said Dr. G. in the article.
FOR THREE decades, the Church of Scientology was head- ed by L. Ron Hubbard, famous science fiction writer, who died at the age of 74.
The Church of Scientology, according to an article in the Nov. 23. 1987 issue of Fortune Magazine, is a full-blown cult that believes it has simple cures for high cholesterol levels. radiation sickness, low productivity and "just about anything else that ails society."
In an open letter to readers of the New York Times, publisher Lyle Stuart quotes a former Scientology recruiter as saying, "Our job as Scientologists is to suck every dime we can from a person. We convince them that they are saving not just this world but the entire universe!"
According to Stuart's letter, the goal of Scientology experts is $80.000 per customer, which is extracted in sums of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Scientologists even ask the customer to sign a billion-year agreement.
SCIENTOLOGISTS seek young people in the 19-25 age range, Stuart said.
After their ordeal was over Mrs. Rowe recalled another strange incident. "When I got away from these people, they called the Crystal Cathedral," said Mrs. Rowe.
"When we were at Sterling on the first trip, I had Robert Schuler's book. 'Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do." It occurred to me that I read to Glover every night out of that book but I never mentioned it. They must have bugged the room."
The Rowes will never forget their nightmare at the Park Court Hotel in Orange County, Calif., but they now feel they can warn others from being sucked in.
"A LADY FROM Scientology called the office when we got back home and asked how we were doing," said Mrs. Rowe. "I said 'Not very well. We went to Orange County and were held against our will. We want nothing to do with Scientology or anything having to do with cults."
Dr. and Mrs. Rowe are now on the campaign to "wipe these people out," Mrs. Rowe said. "I'm extremely paranoid, so is my babysitter," said Mrs Rowe. "We're real jumpy about the baby. You're jumpy after being a victim."
The Rowes, although they were taken for more than $23,000, are grateful for a happy ending, however.
"I BELIEVE God's children carry an armour," said Mrs.
Rowe. "We've been told it is a miracle they didn't gain control
of our minds. I give credit to God and know He was protecting us. I
think there are reasons for everything and think we have been put
through this to inform people. God knew I couldn't keep my big
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