Scientology-linked Narconon of Oklahoma facing further litigation amid recent rehab deaths

PITTSBURG, Okla. - Yet another lawsuit has been filed against a Scientology-linked Oklahoma rehabilitation center in the wake of recent deaths at the facility.

Shirley Gilliam, whose son died in Narconon of Oklahoma care last October, filed the third suit against the organization in three months. Stacy Murphy's family sued earlier this month; Hillary Holten's parents sued in August.

The lawsuit accuses Narconon of Oklahoma, its California-based parent companies and Dr. Gerald Wootan, Narconon of Oklahoma medical director, of negligence, wrongful death, violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act , vicarious liability and civil conspiracy and punitive and exemplary damages.

Gilliam's son, 32-year-old Gabriel Graves, of Claremore, was found dead in his room at the Pittsburg County facility.

The suit alleges Graves "requested over-the-counter pain relief and permission to see a physician" earlier that day for a headache and was denied and told a physician was not on staff. Graves also suffered from bouts of illness -- including headaches and vomiting -- during his time at Narconon , Gilliam claims.

Gilliam says she wants Narconon Arrowhead shut down. She last saw her son when he came home to visit, a week before he died.

Gilliam says he complained of painful headaches. But other than that, he seemed fine.

"I did not know that was the last time I'd hug his neck, and tell him how much I loved him," she said.  

A week later, a phone call broke the news. Gabriel had died at the rehab facility.

"I just began screaming, and screaming. Not Gabriel," she said.

She says she couldn't get a straight answer as to what happened.

"They were very evasive, because they didn't know," Gilliam said.

Graves' autopsy report was inconclusive.

The lawsuit targets the facility's connection with Scientology, calling the center a "corporate sham and illusion" which misrepresented to potential patients the care they would receive.

Among other allegations, Gilliam claims the drug and rehab center had a physician on staff around the clock, only to provide one once a week.

Gilliam is asking for $75,000 in damages.

In July, 2NEWS Reporter Sara Goldenberg shed light on the Canadian, Okla. facility, the flagship center of Narconon.

Since that time Narconon has come under fire , prompting Narconon of Oklahoma CEO Gary Smith to write an open letter to 2NEWS , defending the care and effectiveness of his facility.

Narconon's website describes itself as a non-profit drug rehabilitation program with more than 100 drug rehab centers and drug prevention and education centers around the world.

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