Michelle LeClair is going public with her story of allegedly being humiliated and persecuted by Church of Scientology officials when she came out as gay.
The former Scientologist is releasing a new memoir, Perfectly Clear, about her experience within the controversial church.
The 45-year-old spoke to People about how she was treated after revealing her sexual orientation.
“I had to go around to all the members inside the church, confess to them what I was thinking, what I was doing,” she said. “People would look at me in the face and say, ‘You are disgusting.’”
According to LeClair, her humiliation by Church officials was done systematically.
“I was ordered to walk the halls of the Scientology Celebrity Centre [in Hollywood] asking random members to read and sign my confession,” LeClair recalled. “I needed 25 signatures to be allowed to rejoin the church. I was so mortified that, after 10 or 15 requests, I ran to the bathroom and sobbed.”
LeClair, who at the time was the successful founder of a life insurance firm, explained that her commitment to Scientology only started to break down when she began a relationship with music producer Tena Clark.
“The idea that the Church would deny me a friendship with such a sterling person simply because she wasn’t heterosexual or a Scientologist seemed ludicrous to me,” she said. “I talked myself into believing that, because I was a top donor, my relationship with a woman would be tolerated, or at least ignored. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. My Scientology mentor outed me to the Church ethics department.”
After leaving the Church, LeClair said officials had the state of California go after her business, alleging it was a Ponzi scheme, forcing her to dissolve the firm and pay out $1.3 million to over 40 alleged victims.
Now, LeClair is happy to be out of the Church and living her life with Clark.
“If I had not met Tena, I’d still be in the Church,” she said. “She saved my life, my children’s life. She woke me up.”
In a statement to People, the Church of Scientology disputed LeClair’s allegations: “Contrary to the myths spread by Ms. LeClair and her publishers as they try to sell her book, the Church has no position on sexual orientation. The Church is on record as being opposed to discrimination of any sort.”