Scientology Leader David Miscavige Allegedly Dodging Lawyers ... As Trafficking Lawsuit Looms
1/26/2023 8:41 AM PT
12:04 PM PT -- A rep for the church tells TMZ, "The lawsuit is nothing but a money shakedown. The allegations are scurrilous, ridiculous and blatantly false. The lawsuit is both a sham and a scam."
David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology, is playing a cat-and-mouse game with lawyers trying to serve him a trafficking suit -- at least that's what the lawyers think now that he's allegedly vanished.
Over a four month period, Miscavige has reportedly eluded process servers a whopping 27 times at Scientology offices in L.A. and Clearwater, Florida, where the group is headquartered.
Security guards at both locations keep refusing to accept the suit, saying they have no idea where Miscavige is hiding ... according to multiple media reports.
Three plaintiffs, who formerly belonged to a Scientology sect called Sea Org, claim they were forced into the church as kids and worked into adulthood for nominal pay.
Valeska Paris, along with Gawain and Laura Baxter (who are married), eventually quit Sea Org and filed a civil complaint against Miscavige in 2022.
Last month, one of the plaintiff's lawyers filed docs, saying ... “Miscavige cannot be permitted to continue his gamesmanship" -- and a federal judge says she will soon decide whether Miscavige can be considered officially served.
What's weird about Miscavige's alleged disappearance is that some people believe his wife, Shelly, has also vanished. She was reported missing in 2013 by ex-Scientologist Leah Remini, who is one of the org's chief critics.
The police report said Shelly hadn't been seen since August 2007, but her lawyer issued a 2012 statement, saying, "Any reports [Shelly] is missing are false."
As for the Miscaviges' current status, there's been no update from their reps or lawyers.
An earlier version of this post referred to the lawsuit as alleging "child sex trafficking" -- that was incorrect. The federal lawsuit only alleges trafficking.