The Church of Scientology is bringing down the hammer on a renegade member who alleges leader David Miscavige loves to gossip about his star parishioners.
Former high-ranking member Amy Scobee claims in her just-out book, "Scientology: Abuse at the Top," that Miscavige and other officials "snooped" in confidential confessional files - a charge vehemently denied by the church, whose believers include Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and Kirstie Alley.
Scobee writes that she was in the office of top exec Marc Yager when Miscavige called to brief him on "the latest" about "a female celebrity connected with Michael Jackson."
"Yager kept saying, 'No way, really? That's completely out of control!' ... [They were] giggling like little elementary school kids."
"According to a source, Scobee is referring to Jackson's former wife Lisa Marie Presley. In her book, she also alleges:
Miscavige "is known to pride himself on having memorized the sexual irregularities of practically every staff member" at one church facility - sometimes teasing them about their kinks in front of others.
Officials privately grilled church members who work for celeb Scientologists to check whether the celebs were "deviating" from "Scientology's moral code."
Miscavige once dressed his dog, Jellie, in an officer's uniform to make the point that Jellie could do a better job than staffers - who were required to salute the beagle.
Church execs panicked when a robber stole a briefcase containing sensitive information about a well-known church official who'd video taped "himself having sex with several other men." A homeless man finally turned in the briefcase.
Church spokesman Tommy Davis brands all of Scobee's claims as "fiction." He insists Miscavige's purported dish session "never happened. Nobody in the church has ever violated the priest-penitent privilege. ... [Confessional files] are held in the strictest confidence."
Davis says the church is "preparing a lawsuit" against Scobee, based on the "disgusting allegations" in her self-published book.
Scobee was "expelled" after she admitted to "five affairs outside of wedlock" - a violation of her ecclesiastical vows - including one with "a penitent she was supposed to be ministering to," Davis claimed.
Scobee, who is still married to that "penitent," argues that Davis "didn't see what I saw. I wanted to leave. They tried to get me to stay. If confessionals are never violated, what's Tommy doing talking about my sex life? "
Scobee has already been put on notice by Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, for a "defamatory" claim that Miscavige's wife once told her the actor had a "drug history."
Davis adds that he's "fed up" with the airtime disgruntled defectors have been getting, especially in a recent Anderson Cooper investigation on CNN.
"[Our members] are going to Haiti, spending millions to charter planes to fly in supplies and doctors and nurses," says Davis. "All the while Anderson Cooper is in his designer T-shirts, just standing around, while we're helping people for real."