I've been doing a bit of digging into the backgrounds of the staff of Narconon's Science Advisory Board and have dug up some interesting information on one of them, William Kent McGregor. If anyone has access to medical, legal or newspaper databases I'd be very grateful if a search could be done for any articles by or about him.
Narconon describes McGregor as having "received his B.S. degree in psychotropic pharmacology and drug interactions and his Masters of Social Work from the University of Houston. He has served for the State of New Mexico as Director for Drug Treatment and Prevention. He is currently a surveyor for the national Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities." The Food & Drug Administration's Narcotic Treatment Programs Directory lists him as being the "sponsor" of Aegis Medical Systems, Inc of Agoura Hills, CA. The Scientology-related International Academy of Detoxification Specialists describes him as also being "the Executive Director of the Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Aftercare (PITA) Group, which provides research, evaluation and administrative support to alcohol and drug programs." He is both a Master of Social Work (MSW) and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).
Way back in October 1995, Scientology PR staffer Andrew Milne posted to ars about "Kent McGregor, a CARF evalutor and also former Single State Director for treatment and prevention in New Mexico. MacGregor directed the entire planning, research, administration, and program implementation of New Mexico's substance abuse prevention and treatment authority." He cited McGregor as saying that he had surveyed Narconon's former Chilocco facility and was "very impressed with the professionalism of the Center .... The Narconon program rates as highly in physical, administrative and clinical expertise as many of the prestigious programs that I have surveyed. In terms of outcomes, I believe it is far above." (See <http://alfa.ist.utl.pt/~dif/ic/faqs/narco-2.htm>)
The same quote is used on many Narconon websites today, but it is always attributed to "Lead CARF Surveyor, Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission (Previously known as the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)" - no name is given. Why doesn't Narconon want to attribute this quote to McGregor? Perhaps it's because of the fact, which I find quite extraordinary, that McGregor works both for Narconon *and* for the body which is supposed to be providing independent assessments of Narconon; and not only that, but he is the assessor! This is, in my view, enough by itself to discredit CARF's assessments of Narconon. I don't see how one could possibly avoid bias in such a situation.
There's something else, though. Googling on "William Kent McGregor" returns a court record from the New Mexico Supreme Court and an article (actually one of several) from the Albuquerque Journal. The article, published on March 23, 1998, says in part:
"People who tell their secrets hope their confidences will be kept. That was true of Kathleen Eckhardt, who told her confidences to William Kent McGregor, her therapist at Charter Counseling Center of Santa Fe, a unit of Charter Hospital of Albuquerque.
Eckhardt's and Charter's association turned sour in 1987, when McGregor was alleged to have sexually assaulted her. Nor were relationships improved when Courtney Cook, the Santa Fe center's director, told Eckhardt's husband about claims that he was an abusive spouse whose violence resulted from uncontrolled drinking.
Charter's misdeeds injured Eckhardt in 1987. A few weeks ago, after more than 10 years of litigation, the N.M. Court of Appeals issued its opinion.
Appellate judges upheld more than $350,000 worth of jury awards against Charter on grounds other than wrongful disclosure. ... Appellate judges sent [the case] down to District Court for a jury trial on Eckhardt's wrongful-disclosure claim.
McGregor, a certified social worker, didn't bother taking part in the case and the trial judge slammed him with a $1 million default judgment."
According to earlier Journal articles, McGregor had been ordered to pay $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages around August 1, 1995. However, he could not be traced, apparently having left New Mexico and leaving only a Colorado mailing box as his adddress. I don't know from the press coverage whether McGregor did ever pay up.
After McGregor was fined, the remaining litigation concerned the liability of the Charter Counseling Center. The court record of that case, dated November 12, 1997 and available at <http://www.supremecourt.nm.org/pastopinion/VIEW/98ca-017.html>, states that McGregor had a "past substance abuse problem and [a] lack of recent clinical experience following his treatment for substance abuse." He had been an independent contractor working temporarily for the Charter Counseling Center.
Now, the big question is whether this William Kent McGregor is Narconon's William Kent McGregor. There are obvious points of similarity. Both are certified social workers. Both worked in New Mexico. Both are involved in substance abuse matters (and Narconon, it will be recalled, often employs people with a history of substance abuse). However, I can't prove that the sexual assault McGregor is the same individual as the Narconon McGregor. In order to make (or break) that link, I need more information, particularly from news and law databases. Can anyone help?
That's the problem with CARF -- at least it *was* the problem with CARF.
Back in 1997 I looked into the matter and called CARF myself. Unlike the major U.S. accrediting agency for health care institutions (Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations), CARF was not an independent organization. The board was made up of representatives of institutions who were accredited by CARF. Their rationale was that the people who ran the institutions being accredited were the best people to set the standards by which to judge institutions. That sounds downright incestuous to me.
I notice now that they've broadened their board, although that may not be any more than window-dressing. www.carf.org
In the U.S., the accreditation that really matters is JCAHO. Rehab facilities that are good will have JCAHO accreditation. Narconon facilities do not. JCAHO is made up of members of the AMA, the ANA, medical specialty groups and similar professional groups. They are independent of the institutions they accredit.
Social workers in the State of New Mexico are licensed by the Social Work Examiner's Board. I would assume they are also the disciplinary agency for New Mexico social workers. Board contact information is available at
A few days ago, I posted an article about William Kent McGregor, a member of Narconon's science advisory board. I had turned up the fact that a William Kent McGregor had been convicted in New Mexico of a sexual assault in July 1987, for which he was (in August 1995) fined $1m after failing to turn up to defend himself. The ARS elves have since turned up a bunch more evidence which is pointing increasingly strongly towards the two William Kent McGregors in fact being the same individual. Here's what we know so far.
1. Narconon's McGregor is a qualified social worker and member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). New Mexico's McGregor is also a qualified social worker.
2. Narconon says that its McGregor "has served for the State of New Mexico as Director for Drug Treatment and Prevention". Scientology's Andrew Milne says that McGregor was a "former Single State Director for treatment and prevention in New Mexico." According to the Santa Fe New Mexican of July 26, 1995, the New Mexico McGregor "started working as chief of the state Substance Abuse Bureau on June 15, 1987". The chance that there were two William Kent McGregors as head of substance abuse or drug programs in New Mexico seems to me to be very slim indeed. Ironically, the New Mexico Supreme Court stated that McGregor himself had a "past substance abuse problem" and suffered from a "lack of recent clinical experience following his treatment for substance abuse" (see http://www.supremecourt.nm.org/pastopinion/VIEW/98ca-017.html).
3. According to Bob Lobsinger's articles on Narconon from the Newkirk Herald Journal and "a member of the Oklahoma Chapter of the ARSCC who has been following the story", one of the CARF inspectors who visited Narconon (remember that McGregor was one of the two CARF officials who inspected Narconon in 1992) was a man in his fifties who married Narconon Chilocco's director of education, a New Zealand woman. The photograph of Narconon's McGregor at http://www.fasenet.org/conference_proceedings.pdf (bottom of page 5) shows a late middle-aged man - I would guess in his early 60s, which would fit the marital timeframe. There is a Jette McGregor who has worked as President and Director of Narconon Southern California and is now the Director of Narconon Europe. Is she a New Zealander and is she married to him? Did she work for Narconon Chilocco originally?
4. Jette McGregor, as Director of Narconon Europe, works at its European Continental Headquarters on Norregade 26, Copenhagen, Denmark. Litigation in the New Mexico McGregor's 1987 sexual assault case is still ongoing (the last filing was on 22 January this year) after he was declared bankrupt. His address is given as Kaktusvej 52, Copenhagen South 13066, Denmark. Is Jette McGregor listed in the Copenhagen phone book and does she live at the same address?
5. Before the New Mexico McGregor skipped to Copenhagen, the Albuquerque Journal of August 5, 1995 reported that "McGregor's last known address was in Crestone, Colo[rado]" and that "The therapist, who has a post office box in Colorado, cannot be found." According to http://www.fasenet.org/conference_proceedings.pdf, Narconon's McGregor "has been a faculty member and a biochemist at medical schools in Texas and Colorado" (although it doesn't say when or where). Are there any medical schools in or around Crestone, which on a map seems to be a pretty small place? Could this be a reference to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Denver?
6. According to the Albuquerque Journal of August 3, 1995, the woman then living at the New Mexico McGregor's Colorado residence said that he had moved away three years ago. Narconon's McGregor had inspected the Chilocco facility in April 1992, so he was almost certainly living in Tucson, AZ at the time. (Diane Richardson posted to ARS in October 1995 that she had had a generally fruitless phone conversation with him at CARF's Tucson offices.) When did he start working for CARF?
This is a very long list of coincidences, to say the least; if anyone can help resolve the questions I've posed above, it'll help to tighten the net still further. Thanks to everyone who's helped out so far.
If Narconon's McGregor is indeed the New Mexico individual found liable for a sexual assault in a psychiatric facility, it will be highly ironic given Scientology's campaign against "Psychiatric Rape Betraying Women" (the title of a typically rabid CCHR booklet, at http://cchr.org/rape/index.htm). Some of the chapter headings seem extremely ironic in this light, especially "Rape by Any Name - Question: When is a rape not really rape?" As the assault took place in a psychiatric facility, is CCHR on the case? Did Freedom magazine ever mention it, I wonder?
Finally, although this isn't evidence as such, it's a curiosity: searching on Google for the terms "McGregor CARF" (without the quotation marks) produces a number of results, most of which are the standard mini-biography on Narconon's and Scientology-related websites. There are no references to McGregor at all on CARF's own website, and I've not found any other websites referring to him in connection with CARF - it always seems to be Narconon/Scientology that does so. I'm not sure why this is so.
| Chris Owen - [email protected] | |---------------------------------------------------------------| | NARCONON EXPOSED: The full facts about the Narconon program | | http://www.narconon-exposed.org |