You have probably seen by now the news that 3 former children of the Sea Org filed a lawsuit today.
Tracey McManus article in the Tampa Bay Times.
Ben Schneiders article in the Sydney Morning Herald
This is a copy of the filed Complaint
Three powerful law firms are bringing this case, all have experience in big, hard-fought litigation.
The complaint goes into extensive detail about what happened to these victims, and also how scientology is organized and operated. The allegations are horrendous — but are not new and similar things have been stated by many others. But this is the first time they have been laid out in a lawsuit.
There are some questions people have raised about whether this is going to meet the same fate as the Headleys’ labor claims. This is a case about child labor/trafficking being pursued under very different laws than the Headley case. This is really a human trafficking case.
Questions have also been asked as to why the case was filed in Tampa when the Garcia case was forced into arbitration in this same venue and upheld on appeal to the 11th Circuit. I would say given the facts that are alleged and the defendants named in the lawsuit (David Miscavige, CSI, C of S FSO, IAS Administrations, C of S FSSO), there was not much choice. Had it been filed anywhere else, scientology would move to relocate it to the Middle District of Florida and likely succeed. So it avoids wasting the time and effort to go through that process. And frankly, sooner or later someone has to challenge the insanity of the arbitration bs, and I think this is a good case to do so. The plaintiffs are NOT asking for return of money (the contracts requiring arbitration are signed when you pay) and child trafficking is a pretty good factual scenario to make the case that an arbitration clause cannot shield against illegal and criminal behavior. Especially when it comes to children.
That many of the facts span back many years is going to have to be addressed as scientology will of course claim everything they did is irrelevant because it is barred by the statute of limitations. I do not believe there should be ANY statute of limitations on crimes against children (which is why I am on the Board of Child USA fighting for SOL reform across the nation). But the law has not yet been changed in Florida. There are strong positions to be taken on this, Laura DeCrescenzo prevailed when scientology tried to have her case thrown out on statute of limitations grounds. I hope the plaintiff’s lawyers can prevail here too. Morally, it’s not even a close call.
I applaud these plaintiffs (Valeska Guider and Gawain and Lauren Baxter) for having the courage to stand up and be counted. It is easy to talk about fighting the scientology monster. It is another thing entirely to put yourself front and center in the line of fire.
This is the episode of Fair Game podcast where we talked with Valeska about her experiences.
One last thought, the timing is perfect.
Happy Birthday Captain Miscavige.
Ben Shneiders has published a second piece: Inside “Freewinds,” the Church of Scientology’s ship of fear
The Daily Beast
I would like to see Valeska’s entire story come out. It would make an engaging and informative television mini-series, depicting her life from very young child in the gray, dark, and cold “cadet org” in Europe, whilst her parents’ marriage was broken up (I believe by an ethics officer) in favor of the mum spending more and more time and money in Scientology. Tell Valeska and her family’s story all the way through her years on the Freewinds, where DM cleverly sent her to keep her out of the reach of her, by then, “woke” mum. Bring in her future (now) husband’s story, the prominent pro athlete Chris Guider, all the way to their remarkable union—how they met, fell in love, and have helped each other, day by day and year by year, to overcome their prior respective lives in scientology and the sea org.
A piece of Valeska’s story that is quintessential scientology (that also needs to be told) is the life of her step-dad, the one-time uber-affluent financial professional who was repeatedly put into scientologist-to-scientologist lending situations for group members (of lesser affluence) to make big donations to an org or to those rabid dogs, which are the international association of scientologists (ias).
Valeska is an amazing human for coming out of this life of ‘programming’ to thrive and move forward. Her time in scientology seems was an all-vector assault at ANY notion she may have ever organically (as a human) had about “freedom.” What bloody irony is that, the group that professes to be peddling “total freedom.” Valeska’s childhood experience make Dickens’ tale “Oliver Twist” look like a fanciful spree in compare.
I join others in this post who are cheering on Valeska Paris Guider, Gawain Baxter and Lauren Baxter. I had a few times considered, when visiting the Freewinds, that it was possible the life conditions there were pretty sour for the sea org members working there. This has, of course, now been emphatically confirmed.
I am feeling that “ignorance” is not an excuse any longer for any still-in scientologist. The news, the facts, “the data” is readily available and in a multitude of channels. When you are a public, you have some degree of exposure to the yelling and the over-the-top orders and pressures put on staff and sea org members. If you are still in, you need to connect the dots already. You don’t get to stay in the “big house” on the plantation and claim you don’t know what is factually going on in the worker (slave) quarters.
Apply the scientology trained practice of “obnosis—observing the obvious.” Frankly and, I know, ironically, that’s how I got out.
Morally and possibly legally you cannot have a statute of limitations that starts WHILE a person is a captive slave.
Ammo Alamo says
The case will no doubt generate a lot of attention in the various media outlets. I can’t imaging the CoS trying to send these people to Scientology’s arbitration, especially since the one and only current arbitration was such an evil construct that did not produce anything like a fair outcome. But the cherch only has a couple of defenses – the statute of limitations, and the arbitration contracts which were signed years after the trafficking occurred, and in some cases well before the age of consent.
This is just one more nail in the coffin of Scientology. Will any citizen of Clearwater now join Scientology after reading about this in their local newspaper? Will some public and staff and maybe even SO leave the cherch on account of this revelation? I expect at some point very soon the cherch will be so odious that no one will want to be near it in any capacity.
This is not the Age of Admin, Dave, it’s the Age of Blow, where the Prison of Belief might easily become the Prison of Reality, where Davey can trade in his Jon Lobbe elevator shoes for flip-flops and a suit of cheap cloth, cut five sizes too large.
Helfreid Weber III says
Sadly, I have to agree this is the age of blow. But unfortunately, IMO, these three law suits – as great as they may be, won’t have much effect in deterring new suckers.
My opinion is that attitude has been saturated long ago. Anyone who reads the national media and has watched The Aftermath, already knows that this phoney cherch is something to be avoided at all costs.
So, who is it that is ripe enough to become a new sucker now? IMO, it is people who were born into the cult and whose parents have been encouraging them to join for almost all of their lives – especially to join the S.O.
These people have almost no chance. Just consider what it would be like had you been born into a religion where your parents and everyone you know, kept on drumming these facts into your head:
This group is the most ethical group on the planet.
There is only one valid religion in this world and you must join as soon as possible if you want to have any chance at a happy life.
People who were born with the freedom and the advantages of access to the Internet and other kinds of media. Essentially, you would have no chance to avoid joining. Every time someone or something brought a story to your attention that there was something very wrong with this cult and you needed to look around and read about it, you would believe they were just phony prophets of doom and that you should ignore them at all costs.
So, for these people, almost all of them have no chance at all. Their game is rigged and almost all of them will join.
The battle now is to convince people who were born into the cult to seek out new information and go against their parents and religion and read some of the Internet that they have been told will cause them great harm.
It seems to me that is a very different fight and it will be a much harder fight to win. Children are not very likely to go against their parents and their church. Very very difficult to persuade them otherwise.
How would you go about fighting that battle? I have no idea aside from breaking the law and hiring cult-breakers and similar people to do the job.
A friend sent me Ben’s first article yesterday and I read it when I got home from work. Looking at the shitstorm that has happened since I’m glad I got a good night’s sleep because I’m certainly enjoying the weather around the Kult right now.
Many years ago now when “we” here in Oz were busy smashing the $cientology brand I realised that the US legal system was the ONLY place that this kult could be eradicated by. I’ve watched lawsuits come and sadly go because none of them personally targeted the Cancerous Little Gnome at the top of the shitheap effectively. I think this one does. I’ll bet OSAspawn across the globe are being savaged right now because they “haven’t solved this problem already “
My congratulations to the brave people who are part of this. Few know how much it costs to charge the kult in battle out in the open. It’s not something that you can do and expect rainbows and teddy bears along the way. The toll mentally and emotionally is high. But I for one am glad I did it and I’m lucky my family and friends stood with me through it (and still do – even tho there’s not much left to fight here in Oz these days so I’m mostly retired). It’s a tough road to walk.
I’ll be watching this one with a lot of interest. It just might be that final straw.
Oh and Mike.? I’ll hopefully get those photos of camping on the mighty Murrumbidgee off to you this weekend. A great time was had by all.
Chris Shugart says
Plain and simple: In the US there are child labor laws. Any organization that puts children to work is breaking the law, no matter what was signed. As far as I know, the only defense the COS has is if they have documents signed by the parents turning over guardianship or some other kind of consent.
I’m not sure how the laws are applied today, but when I was a minor you needed a work permit signed by a guardian, that would allow you to deliver newspapers, sweep the floor at your uncle’s drug store, etc. And of course there was always “under the table” work such as babysitting, mowing lawns, and selling stuff door to door. But you got paid cash for your labor.
What surprises me is that this is coming to the attention of lawmakers only now.
I want to see where I can benefit from all the misery that occured while I was growing up in the bay area and churches that advertised healthy lifestyles existed. Why I was not funneled into an encounter,(Hare Krishnas,Amway,Scientology,mormons,selling encylopedias,Rasnish) is beyond me.I did join the Navy though and find the parallel univerises of Scientology and USN fasinating.
Mary Kahn says
Valeska’s story is one of the most heartbreaking horrific stories of child abuse.
I wish justice would be served for these people.
Sadly, I have to say, I won’t hold my breath.
Clearly not Clear says
As a mother, I’m horrified that parents dropped their children into the Scientology abyss . Did they not see how their child was housed? Not educated? Worked like a serf? Abused?
I knew a Scientologist who had two sons. They were educated in Scientology schools. I too had a child of similar age. This father said he hoped they’d both join the Sea Org. The father was a gung ho public church member.
I asked him why he wanted them to join the S O. I had just finished complaining that recruiters were targeting my son and that I’d never sign a paper to let him join.
This father said LRH says college is a waste, he didn’t want to spend any money in his son’s college education, there was no college fund anyway, and he wanted to do his OTVII.
At least one son was a minor when he joined the S O.
The father did do his OT VII.
I’m not impressed.
May this lawsuit have legs, have stamina, and find rational courtrooms. And may the press relentlessly report the cruelty, the sexual abuse, and the specifics of how the church failed to protect their child victims who they were responsible for. Children who were trapped inside Scientology’s insidious prison of belief.
Of course they KNOW that contracts signed by minors are not truly legally binding. It’s like the “purity contract” some religions have their young members sign, it’s a so called promise & no more than that.
I recall signing a “contract” to attend Sunday School when I was a kid, yeah right, not legally binding. I attended because my mother TOOK us to Sunday Services every Sunday (insert eye roll)…& wanted to make sure we received religious Confirmation.
Minors do not have the mental capacity or understanding when signing a contract, they might consider it “fun” that they are like mom & dad, being considered an adult…Isn’t THAT what COS is ALL ABOUT????
Aren’t children members of COS consider ADULTS IN LITTLE BODIES…….so it would be OK for them to sign a “binding contract” as a “mini adult”…………even so…not a “legal contract”…….but a MORAL contract pledging themselves to COS???
As Tubbard himself said…”a 7 year old shouldn’t get upset when being KISSED on the lips by an adult because they are adults in little bodies”……….a pedophile’s paradise of seemingly available children to take advantage of.
Sadly the powers that be have yet to change the law to include sexual assaults on children that took place “back then”. I’ve written to the same people over & over again about changing the law…seems like the powers that be are TOO AFRAID of the HUGE backlog of claims this would bring on. Same reason why the IRS granted COS their request to be declared as a religion….TIRED OF FIGHTING COS…..& so it goes the statute of limitations has run out. It took the Catholic Church decades to BEGIN to step up to the plate & ADMIT the past sexual assaults of children. Sadly by that time, many of the perpetrators have died or are in their 80’s & sickly, but some are still not getting what they deserve.
To me BIG DEAL, remove them from the “sanctified roles” etc & declared them…well you get the picture, & then “pay off” the victim as if that helps the victim forget.
The VICTIM carries the pain & burden of being assualted….the perpetrator has those “delightful memories” of all that he/she’s gotten away with & knows they’ll never pay the price they should
I am STILL waiting for Danny Masterson to “GET HIS”…………….sssiiiggghhhh……..
Hopefully these cases will add momentum to the push to remove all statutes of limitations for child abuse and child trafficking.
Gosh, what a surprise. Cancerous tumors must be removed.
Now I hope that the problems with a child entering a contract of this type is fought out in court.
The thing that I think helps the most with all this is that people like Mike are getting the information on this cult out. The TV show with Leah hit the ball out of the park.
The end is coming.
Mark Kamran says
You got it , 2025 when The Age of Extinction begins.
What’s happening ,happened before to every Cult in one form or other,after completion of 50 years of product life cycle.
They need make over like including Harry Porter series as new Religous Tech.
If not then moving to the Mid West start poultry and dairy farming business by remaining isolate from Wogs world till next 50 years.
Otherwise,It’s a final count down, its not me ,it’s written on the wall . I am just a messenger 😉
Mike! It was just on the 6pm news in Australia. I stopped cooking dinner and ran to check out this blog. Haha. Hadn’t been on in a couple of days.
Helfreid Weber III says
P.S. There is a terrific mini-series produced in 2005 titled “Human Trafficking”. For anyone who may be interested in this subject, this mini-series covers the subject better than any other mini-series or films.
Mira Sorvino is just terrific as the lead actor and Donald Sutherland is just as good in his supporting role. This is one of the very best films I’ve ever seen and if you are interested in how human trafficking is able to succeed, you will certainly enjoy this mini-series. It is approx 2.5 hours long.
I saw that one. It is excellent in illustrating the methods of deception and capture. Horrific.
Helfreid Weber III says
“Three powerful law firms”?
They will need to bring all the power they have to bear if they hope to win this case.
Trafficking children is one of the worst sins that exist on this planet and I hope and pray they win enough money to put an end to this cult.
andy s says
Could another reason for going directly to Florida for this one be that if successful, it could allow the Headleys a do over.
Mike Rinder says
No, their suit was filed in California State Court
They are brave and this brings attention to Scientology abuses.
The more law suits the better. The only way to stop Scientology harming people, especially children, is going to be through the law.
Jens TINGLEFF says
Good luck to the plaintiffs!
The criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology has gotten away with horrendous wrong-doing, and the legal system has not been doing its job.
Eyes wide says
Just read the court documents…..And so the guillotine starts to fall.
Miscavige you will have your day in court and I hope they lock you up and throw away the keys. Not sure though if he would have the guts to turn up, perhaps he might think it’s time to leave his body.
Hang Scientology and Hubbard by the balls for once.
I Yawnalot says
Oh wow! That takes real guts and the best of luck to them. I truly hope justice is served for them against one of the more evil organisations that deal with people & in particular minors as if they are just possessions that have no right to their own lives.
Please let this be where Miscavige gets forced into court to answer for his organisation and its actions.
This is exciting news. Oh, boy, I’ll be following this closely.
Reading in the TBT that “…six years old…signed a billion year contract…” gave me something of a shock.
NOT because its anything I haven’t been reading on the blogs these past 10 years – certainly there’s nothing I haven’t read about what occurred to the wee unfortunates in the Cadet Orgs.
No, it was shocking because its a regular newspaper reporting on what happened. Reading this in a normal, ordinary non Scientology publication gave me, all of a sudden, an outside viewpoint on the thing.
All of a sudden I looked not from my own perspective and experience but instead from the viewpoint of a Never In Scientology person! SIX years old…deciding, at the age of SIX to dedicate one’s next BILLION lifetimes to the Church of Scientology’s Sea Org.
Honestly, can it get any more science-fiction BIZARRE than that?
I Yawnalot says
Yes, there’s no way to sugarcoat what sort of mindset it takes to coerce a 6 year old into such a contract. Then ram it down their throats by group discipline and blindly following and accepting the words of Hubbard as more important than their own lives or their own natural urges and thoughts. That billion year contract is a bs ruse used to get away with “implanting” that slavery is OK in others. All in the guise of an eternal life religion which can’t prove a damn that it works. Hubbard said he’d he back by now, where is he? Or anyone for that matter that can prove by PC folder data that, ‘they’re back’. “We come back…” yeah right!
“Bizarre” is a good word but somehow lacks conviction of the severity of the dominance & overbearing mental thuggery required to engage in conditioning a child’s mind & life like that. Robbing them of simply being allowed to be children.
It’s a form of criminality that defies belief and makes sane people revolted to their core if & when it sinks in just what the Scientology organisation engages in, and has done so for decades.
Medieval times comes to mind when children were sold or enforced into apprenticeships or slave labor at similar ages. Sickening indeed!
Gee, I hope Miscavige is forced to take the stand and explain himself and his organisation.
I too will keenly follow this…
I wonder if it is legal for a 6 year old to enter into a contract like that.
You and Aqua really nailed the utterly surreal, totally intentional, policy-driven evil that this so-called church is known for.
Potemkin Pimpin’ Pope: tick tock, you lying sociopath !
Mark, nothing about this subject is even remotely funny and yet, “Potemkin Pimpin’ Pope”…? I’m sorry but LOL! And hey, if Mel Brooks could create humor out of the Holocaust (The Producers) then I guess you can do the same as re the atrocities in the Cadet Org. Thanks for the laugh 🙂
Mel Brooks. Yes, that vibe!
To see the absurdity and dark humor in the policies and actions of this whacko “church” and its runty, high-haired, shermanspeak-spouting ecclesiastical thug is one way to attempt to wrap one’s mind around and deal with its unrelenting fuckery…
Precisely! I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that utilizing humor is the ONLY way “to attempt to wrap one’s mind around and deal with its (Co$’s) unrelenting fuckery…” Brook’s theory is that if we can laugh at it, “they” don’t win. I subscribe to that theory! Look at what Regraded Being does in his comics. All of them are conversations in which suppressed people are together making, or arguing for the making of bad decisions! Bad little decisions, bad big decisions. Worries and concerns that are absurd, unfair and unjust – heartbreakingly so! And yet RB makes it funny! Mike also frequently makes us laugh at what actually isn’t funny at all. The ability to do this is a gift. He presents it so that we can laugh. As do you, Mark, so thanks for that. Laughter is healing 🙂
You’ve said it all, Yawn, and far more powerfully than I. Usually I’m not at too much of A loss for words but as a former, long term Scientologist public who was never staff or Sea Org, and as someone who had a very happy (early) childhood, totally protected and contributed to by loving parents – though I lost them early, they were wonderful for the brief time I had them – when I attempt to confront, to actually LOOK at what occurred back then to those utterly vulnerable, innocent, totally trusting children, its, well – what’s the word or phrase I need? Its almost unthinkable, except as are things one reads in novels. Despite all the data I’ve read and despite my analytical belief that these atrocities occurred, there remains for me a patina of unreality over it all, ONLY because my own, personal subjective experience of early childhood was so utterly, so completely different.
I Yawnalot says
It really tests one’s ‘mettle’ to digest the indifference capable by some human beings, especially the rich & powerful. We’re just seen the royal titles of Prince Andrew (3rd child of Queen Elizabeth) get ripped away from him because of his actions when associated with Epstein. Yet, he settled out of court and was never charged with any wrong doing. That to me is tough to digest. He has fallen from grace, but what about the rest of his victims?
I really hope this case moves forward to trial by jury because in its wake some pretty famous people will be implicated by association with Miscavige. Hopefully they’ll turn on him. None of them are blind to what was going on. They have personal legal teams and PR experts employed to protect them by knowing about such things that could put them in danger & indeed they know or sure do now. But some things can only go so far, especially now child & sexual abuse and that somewhat remarkable but horrendous term, “child trafficking” is involved. It is now growing in public knowledge in the US & Australia by this case and the associated media about it. Pull a few strings and it’s global with Scientology.
Just about everyone connected to or involved with the SO or staff knows or has seen things that horrify them about the way Scientology treats its people and clients. Moreover, even the most hardened lawyers of the world prick their ears up to child & sexual abuse and human trafficking when it gets close to them. It is my hope the pendulum now swings the other way.
It doesn’t matter what someone’s history in life is, if this criminal circumstance doesn’t make you feel disgusted, there’s something wrong.