The Church of Scientology purchased a multi-million dollar estate in the La Quinta Cove. They reportedly plan to use it as a museum and spiritual retreat center.
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard once lived at that estate in the 1970s. Now, former Scientologists are coming forward to say they were abused there by the church and they fear it could happen to others.
The estate is right next to the La Quinta Resort at 49875 Avenida Obregon. Former owner Richard Fredericks tells News Channel 3 he sold it for the full appraised value of $4.3 million. The Church of Spiritual Technology purchased the home.The churchis a division of the Church of Scientology.
The Scientologists plan to turn it into a museum of sorts, much like alook back at the church’s history in the Desert. But, as we continue our investigation, more people are coming forward to say it is a very dark history.
You can’t tell the history of this quiet La Quinta cove estate just by looking at it. But, in the 1970s, Ron Hubbard owned the home. He wrote some of his books here. The gates keep people at a distance now. In the 1970s, guards, including Peter Gilham, kept watch.
“It’s like a lot of water under the bridge,” recalled Gilham.”I got out 27 years ago and I’m glad I left, but I remember [Hubbard] was sitting out there. He was paranoid of these raids. So, I’m standing guard for this paranoid person and I’m like ‘what is this? Why can’t we just be open? If this is so good, why can’t we just be honest about it?’ But, no, when it came to him, you had to hide everything. You couldn’t be truthful.”
This estate was part of a complex. “Rifle” was the code name for Hubbard’s home. “Olives” and “Palms” were where Scientology staff stayed and worked. Those two buildings are currently part of the La Quinta Resort.
Gilham lived here throughout the 1970s. His mother recruited actor John Travolta into Scientology. Gilham himself even attended the wedding of current Scientology leader David Miscavige.
Many Scientology films were shot in La Quinta. Multiple former Scientologists remain anonymous, because their families are still inside the church. They claim they were kept inside the La Quinta compound, sometimes by physical force.
Gilham says he recalls what happened inside Scientology’s detention center, called the “Rehabilitation Project Force.”
“At RPF, you were assigned there when you had ‘counter-intention,’ [which is] when you weren’t producing what they wanted you to produce and you showed other intentions. And, they would assign you there and basically take away your civil rights. You would have no place to stay. You basically became a hobo on their property. And your rights were suspended, so you had to sleep on the ground,” explained Gilham. “Back in those days, (we earned) about $17 a week.”
Court records reveal Hubbard worried the FBI would raid his La Quinta estate, so he built the massive headquarters compound currently located near Hemet called IntBase.
But, recently, the church re-purchased the ranch. It plans on celebrating the church’s history. The question remains: did that history come at a high price to the people who once called this place home?
Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis has not respond to our request for comment about our most recent investigations.