Church of Scientology employed 'dirty' tactics to recruit celebrities like Tom Cruise, former officer reveals

The Church of Scientology employed "down and dirty" tactics to search for and lure A-list celebrities into their network, and Tom Cruise was considered their biggest catch, according to its former Commanding Officer.

(REUTERS / Toby Melville)U.S. actor Tom Cruise arrives for the world premiere of the film "Jack Reacher" in Leicester Square in central London December 10, 2012

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail TV, Karen Schless Pressley, a former Commanding Officer of the group, revealed for the first time how the Church of Scientology considered celebrities as "raw meat." She said members of the Celebrity Centre Network worked 16 hours a day in a "slave-like environment" and earned less than $50 every week only to recruit celebrities and make sure they were treated well.

"We were always on the hunt for 'raw meat.' Our goal was to use existing celebrities to be the recruiters and we would teach them how to go out and contact people and bring them to understanding," Pressley told the Daily Mail. "That is the process of being on the hunt for raw meat: contact, handling, salvage, bring to understanding."

In addition, Pressley revealed that there were times when the recruiters would try to enter movie sets if they found out where their target was filming. Those who were already recruited were asked to hand over a list of their celebrity friends as well.

Among the celebrities who had reportedly been on the radar of the Church of Scientology were Brad Pitt, Demi Moore, Sean Penn, Michael Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, and James Packer.

Pressley left the Church of Scientology in 1998. Her husband of 20 years, Peter, chose to stay. She has decided to tell her story through a memoir titled "Escaping Scientology, An Insider's True Story."

Last month, Hollywood actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini spoke out against the church's substance abuse treatment, which she described as dangerous. In her docu-series "Scientology and the Aftermath," the organization's journalist, Tony Ortega, detailed how its drug treatment facility named Narconon advertised one-one-one drug counseling but actually gave Scientology training, News.com.au reported.

In addition, Ortega revealed that Narconon's treatment involved a 25-day sauna program which could be dangerous or even deadly for those with pre-existing health problems. He said there were several deaths previously connected to the drug treatment facility, but the latter reportedly said it had a 91 percent success rate.