A woman who appeared in an episode of "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" initiated legal action in Los Angeles Tuesday against the Church of Scientology, alleging she was subjected to harassment by the organization in response to her work on the series.
Attorneys for the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, submitted a lawsuit Tuesday for filing in Los Angeles Superior Court. As of late Tuesday, the case was still pending in the court system and had not yet been officially processed and filed.
According to the court papers, the woman was born into Scientology in 1979 and remained with the organization until she managed to escape in 2016 by hiding in the trunk of car leaving a church compound in San Jacinto.
Top news of the day
She returned to the church the following year to "route out," in hopes of maintaining some connection with her family, according to the complaint. She was told the process would take three weeks, but she claims she was held captive by the organization for three months and treated "like a prisoner." According to the court papers, she was forced "to do everything with the accompaniment of a `handler,' including using the bathroom, showering and sleeping."
The woman claims she eventually escaped Scientology in 2017 and began working for Remini.
In response to the show, the Church of Scientology "copyrighted and published a hate website against Jane Doe, Ms. Remini and almost anyone else who was featured on the show," according to the court papers. "... Defendants used this page to disseminate false, defamatory and inflammatory information about Jane Doe."
The complaint alleges that the website "features untruthful and damaging blog posts, articles and videos dedicated to attacking Jane Doe's personal and professional reputation, with complete and utter disregard for the truth."
"In addition to the online smear campaign, defendants have stalked, surveilled and followed Jane Doe," according to the document. "Beginning in 2017 through June of 2018, defendants and their agents have followed Jane Doe while she was driving. On more than one occasion, Jane Doe has been forced to change her route in an effort to curtail defendant's surveillance efforts."
The Church of Scientology, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, responded to the filing by saying, "The Church of Scientology International has not received the complaint, but from what we have seen in the press, this
is another shameful publicity stunt by Leah Remini and one of her employees.''