• Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige is facing a federal human trafficking lawsuit.
  • A Florida judge ruled this week that he has now been considered served in the case. 
  • Miscavige has been "actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service," the judge ruled.

Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has been hiding from a federal human trafficking lawsuit filed against him and the religious organization, according to a judge who ruled this week that he has now been considered served in the case. 

Florida Magistrate Judge Julie Sneed wrote in a ruling filed on Tuesday that Miscavige has been "actively concealing his whereabouts or evading service" in the suit. 

Attorneys for the three plaintiffs in the case attempted to serve Miscavige a total of 27 times at five different locations in Florida and five different sites in California but were never able to track the Scientology head down, according to the court documents viewed by Insider.

"While Miscavige repeatedly asserts that Plaintiffs have attempted to effectuate service at the wrong address or addresses at which he was not present, Miscavige has never provided Plaintiffs or the court with the correct address," Sneed wrote in the ruling. 

The judge also said that the plaintiffs have been "diligently attempting to locate and effectuate personal service on Miscavige over the course of several months" since they filed their original complaint in April of last year. 

"The court finds that Miscavige has been properly served" in the case, Sneed ruled. Miscavige was given 21 days to respond to the order. 

The trafficking lawsuit against Miscavige and the Church of Scientology was filed by Valeska Paris and married couple Gawain and Laura Baxter, who allege that they were trafficked into Scientology as children and forced to work long hours by the organization, which they said considered them adults. 

Paris and the Baxters allege in the suit that as children, they were "coerced" to join the Sea Org sector of the Church of Scientology "and provide unpaid labor and services for a decade or longer on Defendants' ocean going cruise ship vessel, the 'Freewinds.'"

"Defendants considered Plaintiffs to be possessions, void of any rights, whose sole purpose was to serve Defendants," Paris and the Baxters allege in their suit.

The suit also alleges, "Plaintiffs were placed on a ship they could not leave and routinely punished by being humiliated, interrogated, and imprisoned, for the sole purpose of ensuring Plaintiffs would continue to perform back breaking free labor for the Defendants."

Attorneys for Miscavige and the Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider on Thursday. 

Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw called Sneed's ruling "erroneous" in a statement to Insider and slammed the allegations by the Paris and the Baxters as "absurd, ridiculous, scurrilous and blatantly false."

"Mr. Miscavige never evaded service," Pouw said. "The case is nothing but blatant harassment and was brought and is being litigated for the purpose of harassment—hoping that harassment will extort a pay day."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs told Insider on Thursday that they are "very pleased by the Court's ruling and believe it to be based upon the evidence presented that Mr. Miscavige has attempted to evade service in this important human rights matter."

"Now that Mr. Miscavige is served, we look forward to continuing to fight for justice for our clients,"  lawyers John Dominguez, of the Cohen Milstein law firm, and Zahra Dean, of the Kohn Swift law firm, told Insider in a joint statement.

Read the original article on Insider