Scientology has been reeling from a growing number of defections where often high-ranking former members have accused the organization of everything from beating members to reducing members to virtual captive slaves. However, Scientology is most vulnerable to defection of celebrities. The organization caters to celebrities and has special programs for their care and treatment. That is why the recent departure of Leah Remini has been a big blow for the organization which touts such big name followers as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Nancy Cartwright, and Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren. Now Remini has gone on the offensive and filed a missing person’s report with the police department. The missing person? Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly Miscavige, who has not been seen in public in six years. However, it is now being reported that Shelly has been found, like some Scientology Big Foot, and had a sit down with the LAPD (which has closed the investigation).
Account indicate that Remini was disciplined for asking about the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige who she considered a friend. When the Scientology leader showed up at the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in November 2006 without her, she asked where Shelley was. She says that church spokesman Tommy Davis told her, “You don’t have the fucking rank to ask about Shelly.”
Usually these reports do not entail substantial police work outside of the jurisdiction, though Shelley is believed to have been sent to a compound near Lake Arrowhead in the mountains above Los Angeles, which is the headquarters of the Church of Spiritual Technology. It appears that the Church moved quickly to snuff out the investigation with a face-to-face meeting with the LAPD. The LAPD has reportedly decided that Remini’s allegation was “unfounded.” Remini is not vulnerable legally for the report since it does not constitute a false report under the criminal conduct. An “unfounded” report is viewed differently from a “false” report and indicates a lack of knowledge by the reporting citizen.
It is fascinating to see the effort launched to counter Remini. With a church that seems built around celebrities, such defections can be a blow. However, celebrities like Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) appear ready to make up the difference. She reportedly has given $10 million to the church.