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Scientology Forced Underage Girl To Marry Church Leader Who Allegedly Abused Her, Claims Lawsuit

Scientology Forced Underage Girl To Marry Church Leader, Claims Lawsuit

[Warning: Potentially Trigger Content]

A woman born into the Church of Scientology and a former member of the Sea Organization is speaking out against the religious organization — and making some very harrowing claims!

According to a lawsuit brought forth in the LA County Superior Court in December against Scientology leader David Miscavige, recruiter Gavin Potter, and three church entities, the contents of which were made public last week, an anonymous woman described as Jane Doe alleged she was groomed and sexually abused by a high-ranking recruiter, Gavin Potter, and then forced to MARRY him or spend five years in a labor camp! WTF?!

Related: Lisa Marie Presley Explains Why She Left Scientology

Jane Doe, now in her late 40s, claims she was born in 1974 to parents who were involved in the Religious Technology Center, a division of the church and one of the defendants in her case. When she was 14, she was attending a Scientology training exercise when she was invited to become a member of the Sea Org. Members are recruited from within the church and are often minors at the time. They’re forced to sign a “billion-year” pledge of service to the church to join. Also, members below the age of 18 need to be adopted by somebody in the church, and all members are assigned a “Port Captain,” someone who oversees them and manages their living arrangements.

Jane’s position in the Sea Org was “activated” officially in 1991 when she was 16 and was sent to LA to be a receptionist at the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition, a museum dedicated to the church’s founder. She also worked nights cleaning Scientology facilities. It’s at the museum where she met Gavin for the first time.

Gavin was a successful recruiter who was known for bringing in young women, whom David would supposedly refer to as “Bridge Babes.” The lawsuit claimed:

“It was known by all Defendants and Sea Org that Gavin Potter recruited these impressionable female minors through fear and flirtation.”

You mix his supposed intimidating methods of recruitment with the already warped ideology of Scientology, and you get this alleged s**t show! An attorney for the plaintiff, Graham E. Berry, argued in the latest complaint that the church allegedly “created opportunities for such sexual abuse to occur” and “specifically recruited attractive minor females into an organization that required cohabitation.” The lawsuit even alleged minors are susceptible to sexual abuse in Scientology because it views them as “adults in the bodies of children.” So f**ked up!

And this brings us to Jane’s accusations. According to her, the recruiter allegedly asked the then-16-year-old to drive him home in her car one night. After she agreed, he began to make this a habit… and things grew NSFW fast — even though she was two years below the age of consent in California, where the alleged acts took place.

Doe alleged that once while she sat in the driver’s seat, Gavin leaned over from the passenger’s seat to fondle her boobs and kiss her on the lips. Another time, he allegedly put his hands up her skirt and penetrated her with his hands, terrifying her so much, she could not move. After the incident, she noticed he had a wet spot on his pants, which she would later realize meant he’d ejaculated. At the time, though, she’d never had sex with anyone and did not know what that meant. Wow.

Immediately after this alleged rape, she reported the incident to her colleagues — which was complicated in its own right. In the lawsuit, Jane claims church members aren’t supposed to report crimes committed by other members, noting it is considered a “high crime.” That said, Scientology officials claim they comply with all local laws and encourage members to report crimes to authorities.

So, when the teenager was relaying the details of her alleged icky encounter with Gavin, it was not only frowned upon because she was calling out a highly-ranked member of the community but also because extramarital relationships between Sea Org members are forbidden. Instead of going after the grown adult who had allegedly sexually abused a minor, the church allegedly required Jane and Gavin to either get married OR serve five years with the Rehabilitation Project Force — AKA a labor camp!

RPF was created in 1974 by Hubbard as a place for Sea Org members to go after violating policies. As a punishment, they are subjected to “isolation, food deprivation, long hours of hard manual labor, and other cruel and unusual punishments,” via the lawsuit. Sentences can last anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Jeez.

Related: Former Youth Pastor Gets Plea Deal After Copping To ‘Repeated Sexual Assault’

So, when given these two options, Jane chose marriage — and she and Gavin immediately went to Las Vegas to say “I do” to avoid laws in California that would have made it difficult for a minor to get married. The lawsuit stated:

“That same day, Jane Doe’s ‘Port Captain’ arranged for Jane Doe, Gavin Potter, and Jane Doe’s mother to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to complete the marriage.”

It continued:

“Jane Doe’s mother witnessed the marriage. The Port Captain explained that the wedding could not take place in California as that would require both parties to see a counselor or psychologist to determine the mental capacity of the minor to marry, and a judge to sign off after review of the psychologist’s report.”

The complaint claimed girls were routinely sent to and from Sin City for weddings to avoid those requirements. After the nuptials, her Port Captain allegedly booked her and Gavin a room in the Manor Hotel where she was coerced into “ritualistic and painful” sex. The next day, she moved back in with her parents, but would intermittently have sex with Potter for many years. At 19, she got pregnant, which is also forbidden among Sea Org members. Gavin asked her to get an abortion but she refused.

In 1997, when she was 23, Jane managed to escape the church and finally divorced her alleged abuser. A court ruled that he would be required to pay her child support, but she claims the church made her sign materials promising not to recover the money. Her attorney now alleges she never received any child support. Awful.

Sadly, this isn’t the only time this particular Jane Doe has been part of a scandal involving the Church of Scientology. In a separate case brought against the church in 2019, the same woman claimed she was raped by Scientologist and actor Danny Masterson in 2003. The That 70s Show alum was convicted of her alleged rape and another case in May, but he was cleared of a third allegation made by his former girlfriend.

William Forman, an attorney representing Scientology, clapped back at this latest filing, telling

“This baseless lawsuit is preposterous and will go nowhere. The entire lawsuit is a con job and an attempted shakedown.”

Whoa. This is going to be a very intense legal battle. For the alleged victim’s case, we hope justice will be served.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out

[Image via Scientology/HBODocs/YouTube]

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Jul 03, 2023 13:20pm PDT