On Wednesday a story broke on Tony Ortega’s site which can be seen here.
His article focused on the American leg of this story which has such a strong South African connection that we decided to track down declared Scientologist Shelley Ashurst, one of the parties most intimate with the story, and get more of the South African detail.
Regular readers of this blog know that Bob & Trish Duggan (the biggest donors in Scientology) have been donating to Ideal Orgs in South Africa for some time. In March this year, an article introducing Bob & Trish and their connection to South Africa appeared on this blog. That article can be read here
In a previous article on this blog it was explained how the Pretoria Ideal Org fundraising was running into big trouble, until SO Management, Elmien Lochner and Flag Reg Charmaine Rodgers (formerly DeKiewet) – daughter of Sadie Lurie – had the bright idea of sending some “OT emissaries” to the USA to solicit the Duggans.
The result was, to say the least, dramatic.
On the 9th September the following 2014 Ideal Orgs Honour Roll was emailed to Scientologists:
We already know that Ian & Cristina Hammond have donated in excess of R3 million based on previous articles and promo sent out by the org – possibly by now even R5 million? Phillip & Ines Park have capped that as “New Civilization Crusader” (R10 million?) and now the big guns – Bob & Trish Duggan with the prestigious title of Legend. We don’t know what the value of this status is, but we reckon it’s minimally R10 million – possibly even double that.
Another of our correspondents was personally told of the arrangement with the Duggans: they would match million for million money raised for Ideal Orgs in South Africa. However, we cannot vouch for this data with 100% certainty.
Bob & Trish Duggan
Many South Africans are familiar with Carol and Robin Hogarth. For those who don’t know them, Shelley provides some relevant background data as to their fitness as parents, which is critical to the story:
Robin & Carol Hogarth
“My (half) sister Carol is married to Robin Hogarth – they met while both working in the GO and got married in the late 70’s. My recent relationship with my sister has been at best civilly cordial and at worst, extremely acrimonious.
“During 2010, while Robin was on OT7, Carol was involved in an extra-marital affair while she was at the same time receiving the Happiness Rundown at Joburg Org. Despite a handling where she agreed to end the affair it continued, unbeknownst to Robin.
In 2011, apparently at the instruction of his Flag MAA Robin & Carol got divorced.
Up until mid-2012, Carol and Robin were considered by Org and SO Management as not “on board” with the Ideal Org strategy– but were rather considered dilettante when it came to these activities. They were not frequent attendees at fundraisers and had only donated small amounts of money despite frequent holidays and the general apparency that they “had money”.
Shelley notes that all this changed in 2012. In what was to be a pivotal point in Carol and Robin’s relationship with the Church and the Ideal Orgs Campaign, Robin was elected to attend the 2012 MV events aboard the Freewinds. This came about because of the fall from grace of Ciaran Ryan, the former OTC Chairman/OT Ambassador.
“When Robin came back from the MV event, something had changed. He was a different person, attending fundraisers with gusto and seemingly best buddies with Elmien (Cont Fin Dir).”
Whereas previous event photos contained no evidence of Carol and Robin in the audience, suddenly they were pictured at EVERY event – often with Robin on stage spearheading activities and encouraging donations. This was a total 180-degree turnaround, observes Shelley.
Robin & Carol – Ideal Org Supporters
“I then learned something very interesting: while Robin was on the Freewinds for the 2012 MV event, he had received a personal one-on-one SRA (Severe Reality Adjustment) from none other than David Miscavige himself”.
“And that explained everything.” said Shelley. It does indeed. In fact, Albert de Beer often relates how Ciaran Ryan’s attitude towards fundraisers similarly changed 180 degrees after a similar SRA some years before.
Despite being divorced Carol & Robin were attending Church events together, and Shelley reports a number of people asking her what the “deal” with Carol and Robin was. Shelley said she had no idea, but she did know Robin had not actually moved out of the marital home despite the divorce.
And now we get to the meat of the story:
Around October/November 2012, Pretoria Ideal Org was running into trouble with a ballooning budget which the Church was in default on. South African donations were no longer coming in fast enough, and an urgent plan was needed. Enter the bright idea to source overseas funding – getting someone to pay dollars towards Ideal Orgs!
Shelley picks up the story: “Robin, by now one of the most gung-ho Ideal Org supporters with celebrity status as a double-Grammy Award winner, was a natural selection. He and Carol were nominated to visit Flag.
“Robin came to visit me shortly after his return from the USA and told me how successful the trip had been. He had met ‘someone’ (no name given) who could write out one cheque and literally pay for every Ideal Org in South Africa. Shortly thereafter it was announced that Bob Duggan had been closed to support Ideal Orgs in South Africa – so now I knew who Robin’s “someone” was.”
However, it seems there were strings attached. A consequence of the deal was at least two of Duggan’s children coming to South Africa to be cared for by South African Scientologists.
A little over a year after getting divorced, in December 2012 an OT Committee Christmas party at the home of Pat & Rene Habib became a surprise wedding when Robin and Carol were re-married.
Carol & Robin re-marriage ceremony
Early in 2013 a young boy (9 or 10 years old) arrived in South Africa accompanied on a flight from the USA by David Lurie (Charmaine Rodgers’ brother and Sadie Lurie’s son). This child was a fostered or adopted child of the Duggan’s and he was being delivered to South Africa to live with Carol and Robin.
We have decided not to publish the child’s real name as he is a minor, so for the sake of protecting his identity, we will call him Junior.
The stories behind Junior’s adoption/foster circumstances were myriad – but none made sense.
The Duggan’s are billionaires. If these children were too much for them to handle, Bob and Trish could easily have afforded full-time nannies, child-minders or handlers, tutors, chauffeurs, chefs, sports and lifestyle coaches or special schools – in fact anything these kids needed. Why send them to South Africa? And what was the nature of the arrangement?
The first introduction of South Africa to Junior was a shock: David Lurie dropped him at the org to be fetched by Carol who was running late, and the child was terrorising the canteen screaming profanities and brandishing a knife, threatening anyone who came near him.
The LRH Comm (Sandra de Beer) immediately forbade Junior on org property in the future unless he was under adult supervision.
Shelley continues “All I could glean regarding the deal with Junior was the following”:
Carol and Robin had done some deal with the Duggan’s whereby donating to Ideal Orgs in South Africa was dependent on the fostering of Junior.
- This child had serious behavioral problems – he was prone to violence and outbursts of threatening to kill or hurt people and animals. When he first arrived at Carol and Robin’s house, they had to hide all the knives as he kept threatening to stab or kill them.
- Junior was not the only Duggan child that had been sent to South Africa – one had also been sent to live with OT8 Heidi Wolfaardt, another was somewhere else.
“My immediate concern was that Carol and Robin are inexperienced parents. They had never borne children from their marriage and Robin’s kids from a previous marriage (both now in their late 30’s) had not been raised by him. Robin is 65 and Carol 54 so their age alone puts them at a disadvantage in terms of raising a boisterous prepubescent youngster with behaviour issues”
Shelley carries on to say “Another concern of mine was that both Robin and Carol were frequently absent from home for long periods (Robin to do his 6-monthly trips to Flag and Carol travelling all over the country & overseas with her business). This meant that either Junior had to accompany one of them or be left behind and cared for by other people. I do know of one instance when Carol and Robin went overseas and left Junior in the care of their maid for some time, and another when they went on holiday to Mauritius taking the maid with them so that she could act as au-pair to Junior on the trip.
“I was also concerned that before Junior came to South Africa, Bob and Trish Duggan had not been here to check out the Hogarth situation, and as far as I know, Junior had not even met his prospective new parents before being put on a plane to South Africa,” adds Shelley.
When Junior moved into the Hogarth household, Carol immediately set about hiring a number of young Scientologists and other people as daily child-minders for Junior. She was paying these people handsomely for their time, and she got on with life as as though it were business as usual, expecting these people to wear the hat of parent.
“One of these people was my daughter who was transporting Junior back and forth to his tutor and taking him on other educative outings. She was afraid of him as he would threaten to kill her and described in detail how he was going to slit her throat. Eventually I couldn’t handle the horror stories anymore and told her I would pay her the equivalent money to NOT look after Junior anymore. Much to our relief, she told Carol she wasn’t willing to continue and this came to an end.”
Shelley further reports: “In May last year, Carol told me that Junior had come up as a PTS item for Robin on his Flag check, and he had been instructed by the MAA to send Junior back to his parents. A few weeks later while Andrew I were visiting Pat & Renie Habib (JBG OTC members), she told me that Trish Duggan had paid Flag for intensives for Robin to continue with his OT7 – I guess that handled the PTS situation” said Shelley.
Shelley relates how Carol had seconded no less than seven people as au pairs for Junior (all inexperienced child-minders) and eventually each in turn refusing to have anything further to do with looking after him. He could not be put into a mainstream school due to his violent rages and anti-social behaviour. We believe that he has been attending a home-school tutoring program being run by Mandi Waldbaum when he’s not travelling with Carol and Robin.
“My daughter-in-law (Kirsty) took pity on Junior and offered to assist Carol by spending time with him. On one occasion she was supposed to take him to a museum but due to inclement weather decided to keep him at home and do some painting with him instead. This resulted in a ranting phone call during which Carol told Kirsty that she was having to give weekly reports to Elmien who in turn was passing these onto Charmaine and then the Duggans. Junior was supposed to be receiving proper structured scheduling and education, and what Kirsty had done was a total no-no. After Kirsty heard about this, she declined further help”.
“To me this confirmed that the Duggans’ support of Ideal Orgs in South Africa was conditional (and possibly supervised by the Church) upon Junior being fostered by Carol and Robin” said Shelley.
Furthermore, Junior is in South Africa on a holiday visa only and has to be taken out of the country every three months to keep his visa valid. The legal implication of this is not known.
“Two other incidents occurred after this which finally confirmed to me that there was something strange with this arrangement”:
“Scientologist Lauren Strachan and her 2D Vincent were renting a flatlet from Jean and Kirsty (my son and daughter-in-law). While Lauren and Vince were away on a trip, the alarm triggered necessitating Jean and Kirsty entering the flat to investigate. Lying open on a coffee table was a file containing Robin’s bank statements. A number of substantial deposits had come into Robin’s account from Church of Scientology Pretoria! Just by glancing over these statements, Jean calculated in excess of R150,000 was paid into Robin’s account. There were also payments out of the account to various Scn’s like Sally-Anne Cook”.
“This confirmed my suspicion that Carol and Robin were personally benefiting financially from the Duggan/Ideal Org arrangement”.
On further investigation with a reliable staff member, Shelley confirmed that Carol and Robin had been receiving commissions from the Duggan donations, as well as directly receiving monthly maintenance for Junior to the tune of roughly R90,000 ($8,500) a month.
Carol also purchased an IAS lifetime membership for her maid, and bought a car for her as well so that she could transport Junior to and from the org and other places.
Ironically, notwithstanding all the money Carol and Robin have made from their Duggan alliance, their Ideal Org Donor Status has remained unchanged at Platinum for more than a year. Below is a picture taken of the Hogarths being presented with their Platinum award during a fundraiser called the “300 Africans Event” in July 2013.
Carol & Robin receiving their Platinum commendation for Ideal Orgs
And that’s the South African end of this strange story – one we hope will come to a stable and happy end for the children involved.
Shelley states as her final comment “My opinions on this story are many and I could have given a lot more data in terms of the fallout this caused in my family. Those details however are not the point and this blog is not the platform.
What is important to me is that Junior deserves a loving home with stability in his life which seems to have been anything but normal up to this point.”