A court filing on Tuesday revealed 62-year-old David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology, over the last 10 months has been served 27 times in two different states with a federal lawsuit accusing him of human trafficking.
According to Fox News, US Judge Julie Sneed ruled that Miscavige "is actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service" and is "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 lawsuit's allegations.
In her ruling, Sneed wrote, "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."
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology, Karin Pouw, said in a statement, "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."
"The allegations in the complaint are absurd, ridiculous, scurrilous and blatantly false," Pouw added.
According to Sneed's 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."
According to the New York Post, former top Scientology executive Mike Rinder said, "While this is a major accomplishment, it is a small step in the overall scheme of things with respect to this lawsuit. The war of attrition and seeking to exhaust the plaintiffs time, money, patience and resolve is just beginning."
Three ex-Scientology members filed the lawsuit in April 2022 against Miscavige and four additional Church of Scientology entities in a Florida federal court. The three who filed were wife and husband Laura and Gawain Baxter, who left the organization in 2012, along with Valeska Paris, who left in 2009.
The group claimed they signed a billion-year contract when they were children and were forced into labor for little or no money on Scientology cruise ships.
Paris additionally alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Scientology leadership.
As Fox News reports, "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."
Miscavige has argued he never was served with the lawsuit although attempts were made in Florida, five different locations in California, and at four different phone numbers associated with him.
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