Karen [Schless] Pressley is the author of Escaping Scientology: An Insider’s True Story – My Journey With the Cult of Greed & Power. The earlier versions, Chasing After the Wind (2000) and Escaping Scientology: An Insider’s True Story (2006) were stopped from publication due to threats from Scientology to her original publishers.
She got involved in Scientology in the early 1980’s in Los Angeles, where she and her husband Peter Schless became active celebrity recruiters at the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre International. Peter enjoyed success as a musician and composer of several known songs, including “On the Wings of Love” co-written and recorded by Jeffrey Osborne, and “Peace in Our Life” co-written and recorded by Frank Stallone for the film, “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” Karen replaced her career as a designer with her role as Peter’s music publisher before she joined the Sea Organization at CC INT, and then became the Commanding Officer of the Celebrity Centre International Network in 1987. Peter was recruited into the Sea Org at Golden Era Productions by David Miscavige in 1989, to join the Gold Musicians, so Karen joined Peter at the dystopian Int base. She failed two escapes in 1990 and 1993 before she made her third and final escape in 1998.
After Scientology, she rejoined her family, spent years healing from the cultic experience, re-married, and built her new life “on the outside.” She completed her undergraduate education in Communication/Public Relations, and built a new career in home improvement sales, residential home staging, and as a communications specialist in marketing/public relations. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English/Professional Writing, and went on to teach college-level English and Communication for four years in the Atlanta area.
As a critic of Scientology, she has been interviewed by CNN, NBC Dateline, ABC, CBS, and many other media outlets. From 2000-2006, she has also been a featured speaker on Scientology-related topics at nearly 100 events held at universities, youth groups, churches, civic groups, women’s groups.
Karen has published articles on diverse topics including feature stories on Atlanta area builders, home improvement, women’s growth, cultic studies, and Scientology. She has presented on Scientology for various professional, civic and academic groups, including the International Cultic Studies Association, the North American Mission Board’s Interfaith Studies, Biola University, Kennesaw State University. Karen’s workbook, “Coming to Terms With Your Story: Writing to Heal” served as the tool for her writing workshop at ICSA’s annual conference in Montreal, 2013, attended by ex-members of a variety of cultic groups. This workbook will soon be available for purchase through this site.
Karen assisted her husband Greg start his real estate business in Atlanta in 2012, and together expanded the business into Florida, where they now reside.