David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology, was attempted to be served 27 times in connection with a federal lawsuit accusing him of human trafficking. However, the Church of Scientology leader reportedly evaded being served. A judge recently ruled that Miscavige was “actively concealing his whereabouts,” and that he was officially served in the trafficking case.
Process servers attempted to serve court documents 27 times between May and Aug. 10 at the organization’s headquarters in Los Angeles and at the Flag Land Base – the Church of Scientology’s “spiritual headquarters” in Clearwater, Florida. The attempts to serve the court papers were denied by security, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
U.S. Judge Julie Sneed ruled on Tuesday that Miscavige “is actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service.”
Sneed declared that Miscavige had been “properly served” as of Feb. 14, and has 21 days to respond to the allegations in the lawsuit.
Karin Pouw, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, said in a statement, “Miscavige never evaded service.”
“The case is nothing but blatant harassment and was brought and is being litigated for the purpose of harassment and hoping that harassment will extort a payday,” Pouw argued. “The allegations in the complaint are absurd, ridiculous, scurrilous, and blatantly false.”
The lawsuit was filed by three former Church of Scientology members – Gawain Baxter, his wife Laura Baxter, and Valeska Paris. They claim that they were forced into labor on Scientology boats after signing a one billion-year contract for little or no money. The ex-Scientology members allege that they worked on the Freewinds – a Scientology ship in the Caribbean that hosts offers high-level church services to parishioners. The plaintiffs also say they were forced to carry out unpaid work at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater.
According to Fox News, “Children over six years old are considered to be, and are frequently told that they are, adults and that they should act and expect to be treated as adults.”
Paris also claims that she was sexually assaulted as a child, and that she was locked in an engine room for 48 hours as punishment for her mother leaving the Church of Scientology.
Attorneys John Dominguez and Zahra Dean – who represent Paris and the Baxters – released a joint statement that said, “For years, David Miscavige has succeeded in evading accountability. (The) ruling brings our clients — who alleged to have endured unimaginable abuses in Scientology as children and into adulthood — one step closer to getting their day in court and obtaining justice against all responsible parties.”
Miscavige became the so-called “ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion” after founder L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986.
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