THE CASE OF THE OVERWORKED SCIENTOLOGIST

A True Story from the Dark Side of the Church of Scientology

THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF A FRIEND

ALAIN PRIOUZEAU

1955-1987

 

 

A BENIGN BOOKSTORE OFFICER



In 1987 Alain Priouzeau had been the Flag Bookstore officer for nearly a year.

He was a quiet and pleasant individual.

Born in France, his family had immigrated to Canada in the 1970s and soon after he had joined staff at his local Church. It is where I first met him. We became good friends.

In 1976, I went to Clearwater, Florida and joined the Sea Org at Flag in 1976. Alain did it nearly a decade later.

At the time, I was a full time Flag HGC auditor. Alain held a series of clerical posts until he landed as Bookstore officer in late 1986.

At first glance, a bookstore officer would not seem to be a high profile job and certainly one would have expected such a job to remain in relative obscurity.

Not so: "Gross Book Sales" was viewed at the time to be one of the 3 Key statistics of an Organization. In fact, starting sometimes in the mid 1980s, it was given greater importance than any delivery statistic.

The reason claimed has always been "Books sales are directly responsible for future income and expansion".

Either by coincidence or design, the shift in importance took place shortly after the new rulers of the Church of Scientology found themselves the direct beneficiaries from Hubbard royalties. This coincide with the denial of Sea Org bonuses based on delivery of Services, leaving selling books and other bookstore materials as the only source of income for Sea Org members beside the measly $5-$10 weekly pay that was often the rule for many Sea Org Units in the 1980s.

At the same time individuals motivated by greed discovered all too easily that by engineering large book sales, they could become very rich even if chicanery and deception was their main tool of trade.

In 1987, an extremely large number of questionable Book sales deals involving commissions in the tens of thousands of dollars were made.

Alain soon found himself between a rock and a hard place. He was blamed for any wrong doing because of his "failure to verify the validity of all Book sales", yet was given no time to do it and most of the large book sales were made by people who not only outranked him but were in fact his Superiors.

Alain was already taking 15 minutes meal breaks and worked over 14 hours a day. He had even been sacrificing the time he was entitled to enjoy with his two year old son and his pregnant wife.

In spite of it all, he still could not meet all the demands that were being thrown at him.

The degree of fanaticism invoked by the new rulers of Scientology at the time, discarded any considerations for human rights for those who had “volunteered” to join the Sea Organization and family needs were directly viewed as a distraction.

Anyone disagreeing with those principles was certain to be assigned a condition of  DOUBT which meant even harsher penalties

Open rebellion against the group tyranny, meant instant and noisy expulsion as "APOSTATE", often in the most indignant and public manner its leaders could conceive.

Except for two 10 minutes meal breaks and a series of mandatory musters, Alain was working flat out from 8:30 in the Morning until sometimes past Midnight.

The 23rd of July 1987, a Thursday, had been particularly frantic for Alain. Not only was there the sprint for the highest possible sales by 2PM, but after the mandatory weekly staff meeting that ended just before Midnight, he was rounded up by his Superiors to handle an invoice backlog.

It was well past One o’clock in the Morning when he was able to climb into bed at his residence, an old Quality Inn Hotel, where Sea Org members with children lived. It was a full 8 miles from his place of work.

DISASTER



Alain woke up with a start at 8:30. He had overslept. He had gotten an average of less than 6 hours of sleep a night that week, because the “statistics were down”. . He felt ghastly, horrible. You do not ever call in Sick in the Sea Org, unless you already are at the hospital.

For only a very brief moment, Alain entertained the idea of sleeping in. He was jolted from that dream by the thought of the Master at Arms violently opening the door of his room and dragging him to the RPF while he was still wearing his pajama. It had been done the year before, to someone who was running a fever, because he was “down-stat”.

Alain jumped into his clothes and within 30 seconds he was racing his tattered 1977 Grey Honda through the parking lot.

The little Honda skirted amid the traffic and was able to negotiate the first three miles in less than 10 minutes

He then turned left on Gulf to Bay Boulevard which would bring him directly to his place of work.

Gulf to Bay Boulevard is a large road with three lanes on each side.

Alain was desperately speeding. He felt he still had a chance to arrive on time and avoid the penalties for being late.

The Belcher Road intersection was approaching fast. This is a major artery with priority lights in the opposing lane.

The Light suddenly turned Yellow.

He was still 300 feet from the intersection. Unable to face the thought of another set of penalties for arriving late, Alain decided to gun it.
The accelerator went to the floor and the high mileage Honda slowly crept above 60 miles an hour.

For William Warren, sitting in a flatbed truck across the road, this was just an ordinary day. He was driving his large truck for the county and was doing his first run.

As soon as the priority light started flashing, he drove into the opposite lane as he made the left turn.

Alain saw the oncoming truck too late. The impact was terrible.

Alain compulsively exteriorized from his body and went into a state of panic. His body was profusely bleeding and in spite of a prompt airlift to the best hospital in the county, he was pronounced dead less than half an hour later

EPILOGUE


I heard of Alain's fate later that day. Rumors were already spreading that he was responsible for "False statistics" and that that his own unrevealed transgressions against the Church were somehow responsible for his violent demise. This was meant as a lesson to all on the consequences for "not coming clean" with the Church.

The Church of Scientology hypocritically poses itself, when it fills the PR need of the moment as a fully caring Religious organization who models mainstream religions and their sacraments.

No memorial service of any kind was ever held for Alain within the Church. His indigent wife was left alone to address those concerns.

He was to be forgotten.

Shockingly, even if the core Scientology beliefs advocate that man is a spiritual Being and that it is possible to communicate with the recently deceased and help them make more easily the transition toward their next spiritual step (especially if their death has just been the result of a violent and unexpected trauma), except for his wife, absolutely none of those principles were ever applied. There are scores of lectures by Hubbard where he brings the subject.

At 11:30 that Night, as soon as I could get off work, I drove alone to the corner of Belcher Road and Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

I parked nearby and walked to the now deserted corner. A large amount of minute and fresh debris was still on the road.

I felt Alain's presence nearby and did my best to help him. It is my private belief that I was successful and effective.

It was the least I could do for an old friend and I felt ashamed that in spite of all its professed beliefs, the Church of Scientology had yet again callously decided to abandon one of its dedicated followers to his own fate in his or her moment of need.

This is the true story of the last moments of Alain Priouzeau as personally and privately witnessed.

It can be independently confirmed by interviews of eye witnesses and newspaper articles in the archives of the Clearwater Times.


Pierre Ethier