Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige served 27 times with human trafficking lawsuit: Court docs Miscavige has been "concealing his whereabouts" to evade the lawsuit, a judge said

Fox News/February 17, 2023

By Chris Eberharst

The Church of Scientology's leader was served 27 times in two states with a federal lawsuit that accused him of human trafficking, but lawyers were either denied entry or told he wasn't at that location, according to court documents.

After 10 months, U.S. Judge Julie Sneed ruled that David Miscavige "is actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service," according to Tuesday's court filing.

He's "deemed to have been properly served as of the date of this order (Feb. 14, 2023), and therefore has 21 days to answer or otherwise respond" to the allegations in the lawsuit.

Karin Pouw, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, said in an emailed 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 pay day," Pouw said. "The allegations in the complaint are absurd, ridiculous, scurrilous and blatantly false."

Miscavige had argued in court documents that he was never served with the lawsuit, which was filed against him and four entities linked to the Church of Scientology in Florida federal court in April 2022.

Lawyers attempted to serve him with the charging documents in Florida and five locations in California and called him at four separate phone numbers that a private investigator tracked down as potential leads, but nothing was successful, according to the most recent court filing.

"While Miscavige repeatedly asserts that Plaintiffs have attempted to effectuate service at the wrong address or addresses at which he was not present, Miscavige has never provided Plaintiffs or the court with the correct address," Sneed wrote in her ruling.

"Indeed, following his counsel’s appearance in this matter, Plaintiffs have continued their attempts to effectuate service on Miscavige through his counsel and other identified addresses, and have sought to have Miscavige’s counsel provide an adequate address at which to effectuate service. Miscavige’s counsel has declined."

The lawsuit was filed by three ex-Scientology church members – husband and wife Gawain and Laura Baxter as well as Valeska Paris – who left the church in 2012 and 2009, respectively.

They claimed they were forced into labor on Scientology boats as children after signing a one billion-year contract in exchange for little or no money.

In addition to the trafficking allegations, Paris alleges she was the victim of repeated sexual assaults in her youth and claimed that she was locked in an engine room for 48 hours as punishment after her mother left Scientology.

Gawain Baxter said his parents put him in a Sea Org nursery when he was two months old, according to the lawsuit. When he turned six, he was also forced to sign the one billion-year contract and sent to live in a Cadet Org dormitory with around 100 other children.

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.

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