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Posted: December 22, 2016

'Leah Remini: Scientology': Ex-church members accuse David Miscavige of physical abuse

Leah Remini
Vincent Sandoval / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Leah Remini

By Elizabeth Vale

In the latest episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” Leah Remini and Mike Rinder talked to individuals with formerly strong ties to the church who outlined how they were abused by the church and its leader.

Remini and Rinder talked to former members Jeff Hawkins, Tom DeVocht and Ron Miscavige, father of current leader David Miscavige, who shared shocking personal stories.

“[David] was a mean guy,” said Hawkins, who was a member of the church for three decades. “David Miscavige physically assaulted me five separate times.”

DeVocht, who was also a member of the church for three decades, shared how he forgot to get a permit to tear up the sidewalk outside of the Scientology headquarters in Florida. When he was asked if he had gotten it, he replied, “No,” and before he could say anything else, David Miscavige started attacking him.

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“Before I could even think, he dove across the table, grabbed my [expletive] tie, and shoved it up. And I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk,” DeVocht said.

The church refuted DeVocht’s and Hawkins’ claims, writing in a statement, “Lying is nothing new for Hawkins, who has been a discredited anti-Scientology media source for years. His fabricated stories about having been a victim of violence as a staff member were debunked more than a decade ago.”

The church also refuted DeVocht’s claims and said that he is “a violent, admitted liar who left the church in 2005 following an investigation into his extensive waste of church funds. Compulsive lying permeates nearly every aspect of DeVocht’s life. To use him as a source is an indication of how tainted your program promises to be.”

David’s father, Ron Miscavige, a church member for 42 years who left in 2011, also made disturbing claims against the church, sharing that his departure from the church was planned out for six months because he feared what would happen when he did.

“If the word got out that we were planning on leaving, we would’ve been seized,” Ron Miscavige said. “My car keys would’ve been taken away. Becky and I would’ve been separated from each other, and we would’ve done manual labor throughout the day, and when we weren’t [doing] that, we’d be interrogated by an auditor.”

The church, once again, released a statement that attempted to paint Ron Miscavige in a bad light, writing that he has a “decade-long history of vicious domestic violence,” a “long history of anti-Semitic comments and actions” and a “shocking history of racist comments.”

A new episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” airs on A&E on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Learn more about the show here.


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