According to public court documents and the Tampa Bay Times, Scientology leader David Miscavige was nowhere to be found as he attempted to serve with a child trafficking case that named the 62-year-old as the defendant.
Court documents show that process servers have been in Clearwater, Fla., over the past few months.
A motion filed in Florida court on December 13 to serve Miscavige by default stated, “There is more than enough evidence to show that. [Miscavige] deliberately concealed its location and erected barriers to avoid personal transaction services.”
Karin Pouw, Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology, said Fox News Digital Miscavige “did not evade the law.” He declined to comment further on the ongoing lawsuit.
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Former Scientology church members, husband and wife, Gawain and Laura Baxter and Valeska Paris have filed a lawsuit after alleging they were forced to work on Scientology boats as children after signing a billion-year contract for little or no money. Paris reportedly left the church in 2009, and Gawain and Laura Baxter broke up in 2012.
In addition to the smuggling allegations, Paris alleges that she was the victim of repeated sexual assaults in her youth and that when her mother left Scientology, the then 17-year-old boy was locked up in the engine room for 48 hours as punishment.
According to the lawsuit, Gawain Baxter said his parents placed him in a Sea Org nursery when he was two months old. At the age of six, he was forced to sign a billion-year contract and was sent to a Cadet Org hostel with nearly 100 other children.
Children over the age of six are considered adults and are often told to behave and expect to be treated like adults. The lawsuit noted in the background that children should be referred to as “student”, not children.
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Miscavige’s last known address is the church’s international building in LA, but similar to other members of Scientology’s extremist wing, Sea Org, he has no public address. When lawyers came to the Scientology properties to look for the leader, security guards blocked access to the properties and reportedly said they were unaware of the leader’s location.
The plaintiffs also hired a private detective to reach Miscavige.
Court filings on the latest case list his home on a gated community known as Hacienda Gardens in Clearwater as Scientology property. The 120-unit apartment complex is home to Scientology staff and was purchased by the organization in 2001, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“Miscavige cannot be allowed to continue as a gamer,” said Neil Glazer, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, in the motion submitted in early December. He is due to appear in court on January 20, 2023, but this meeting is pending unless the documents are served to him.
Court documents related to the case stated that lawyers tried to find him through two traffic tickets he received in the 1990s, but both of these quotes are listed as the home of the Scientology Los Angeles headquarters.
Miscavige’s lawyers told the newspaper that he was only the target of a legal strategy because of his status within Scientology. They added that he didn’t live in Florida, so they couldn’t serve him there.
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US Magistrate Julie Sneed sent a subpoena to Miscavige on behalf of the plaintiffs. To reach Miscavige, ten copies of the call were sent to various Scientology properties in Florida and California.
According to court documents, they were all returned undelivered because no one would sign on their behalf.
Miscavige is one of five defendants named in the case. The remaining four are operating entities of the Church of Scientology.