July 13, 2022
The argument in response to a Tampa lawsuit by three former members is one the church has used before.
The Church of Scientology, faced with new allegations of human trafficking, is mounting a legal defense it has successfully used before.
Its lawyers are arguing this week in Tampa federal court that former Scientologists who level accusations must bring their cases before an internal arbitration panel of loyal church members — not to the U.S. court system.
The lawyers, in a series of motions filed late Tuesday, argue that plaintiffs Valeska Paris, 44, and husband and wife Gawain Baxter, 40, and Laura Baxter, 37, signed contracts when they were in the church’s Sea Org workforce that waived civil recourse and compelled them to settle any future disputes within the church.
The three allege in a federal lawsuit filed in April that they were trafficked into Scientology as children and forced to work through adulthood for little or no pay.
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In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, attorneys Neil Glazer and Ted Leopold, co-counsel for Paris and the Baxters, said their clients are “entitled to have their day in court.”