LOS ANGELES — A former Scientologist has filed the primary of what her lawyers say might be a couple of complaints towards the Church of Scientology World and its chief, alleging retaliation, kid abuse, human trafficking and compelled exertions towards her and different contributors who’ve left the church.
The swimsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Awesome Court docket, seeks unspecified common, particular and compensatory damages, smartly as unpaid wages, from the church, its Spiritual Era Middle and its “ecclesiastical chief,” David Miscavige, and 25 unnamed co-respondents at a jury trial.
Allegations within the lawsuit come with libel, slander, invasion of privateness and intentional infliction of emotional misery and search double or triple damages on claims the plaintiffs violated California exertions and human trafficking regulations.
The lady who filed the lawsuit, known in court docket papers as “Jane Doe,” mentioned she used to be raised within the church from delivery and at age 15 changed into a private steward to Miscavige, whose formal name is chairman of the church’s Spiritual Era Middle.
The church identifies Miscavige because the “ecclesiastical chief of the Scientology faith,” which used to be began in 1952 by way of the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology asserts in its authentic statements of ideals that guy is an immortal non secular being with limitless features, and it provides, for a value, one-on-one “auditing” and categories designed to lend a hand contributors reach a “transparent” non secular state. It strongly opposes the science of psychiatry as “disastrous.”
In step with the swimsuit, Jane Doe joined the Sea Group, described as an affiliation of the church’s “maximum devoted contributors,” who signal 1 billion-year contracts with the quasi-naval crew. The lawsuit says she moved to the church’s Gold Base in San Jacinto, California, southeast of San Bernardino.
She remained there for 11 or 12 years till 2015, when she used to be got rid of as a steward and positioned in an isolation program referred to as “the Hollow” as a result of, in step with the swimsuit, she knew an excessive amount of about what it describes as marital issues between Miscavige and his spouse.
Banished to Los Angeles to paintings on church exposure, the girl escaped in past due 2016 within the trunk of a automotive pushed by way of a non-Scientologist actor with whom she used to be assigned to supply promotional movies, in step with the criticism.
Scientology actively recruits celebrities to recommend for it. After she left the church, Jane Doe went to paintings for the actor Leah Remini, a former Scientologist, whose documentary TV collection, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” has chronicled the tales of former Scientologists who allege the church abused them as contributors and confused them once they left.
The Church of Scientology World has fixed a lively, incessantly scathing public marketing campaign towards Remini and the TV collection. It has posted web pages condemning each Remini and Jane Doe, which NBC Information showed have been nonetheless energetic on the time of newsletter however which it is not linking to so as to give protection to Jane Doe’s identification.
The Church of Scientology World did not reply to emails and a telephone name searching for remark. In a observation to The Hollywood Reporter, the church mentioned: “The Church of Scientology World has now not gained the criticism, however from what we’ve got observed within the press, that is some other shameful exposure stunt by way of Leah Remini and certainly one of her staff.”
Brian Kent, an legal professional for Jane Doe, mentioned that for many years, the church “has sought to quash dissension, duvet up its lengthy historical past of bodily, emotional and sexual abuse of its contributors, together with its maximum inclined contributors, its kids, and weaponize its doctrine towards those that get away and in finding the braveness to talk up.”
“That is only the start, and we don’t seem to be going to prevent till they do,” Kent mentioned.
The Inner Earnings Provider acknowledges Scientology as a tax-exempt faith, a standing it received in 1993 after years of litigation. However some other of Jane Doe’s lawyers, Marci Hamilton, instructional director of Kid USA, a nonprofit kids’s advocacy crew, argued that non secular liberty defenses do not follow on this case.
Church contributors “have the suitable to imagine anything else they would like,” Hamilton mentioned. “However they can not do no matter they would like. This lawsuit continues the essential paintings of the #MeToo generation to convey establishments and folks to account for kid abuse, trafficking and overlook.”