Atlanta - Note: WSB’s Pete Combs has been investigating the Church of Scientology’s drug rehab program known as Narconon since the Spring of 2012. Thursday, the Norcross-based program (Narconon of Georgia) and its parent organization (Narconon International) were in court, asking a Dekalb State judge to throw out the wrongful death case against them.
David Root, a lawyer for Narconon International, argued 28-year old Patrick Desmond has no one to blame for his death but himself.
“If you voluntarily ingest something and hurt yourself, you can’t sue,” he told Judge Stacey Hydrick during Thursday’s lengthy hearing. Desmond, a former Marine who was sentenced to in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation by a Florida drug court in 2007, died after drinking with a Narconon employee then shooting heroin with two former Narconon patients.
Judge Hydrick has already ruled that Narconon of Georgia pretended to be a residential treatment facility to lure Desmond to Norcross from Florida. Because of that lie and because Desmond was given alcohol by a Narconon employee, Desmond family attorney Jeff Harris argued Desmond’s death was indeed Narconon’s fault and that the Scientology rehab group could have done plenty to save his life.
“First (they could have not given) him alcohol. Don’t lie to get him into the program,” Harris told the court.
Judge Hydrick took it all under advisement. The case is scheduled for trial next month.