When Leah Remini walked away from Scientology, she thought she was finished with the religion. Turns out, her war was just getting started, and her new A&E docuseries is making some heavy-duty accusations.
In the first episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, the actress talks with two former Scientologists who share horrifying stories of what happened to them both within the organization and once they left.
First up is Mike Rinder, a 46-year-old veteran and former international spokesperson for the church, whose job it was to publicly take down dissenters like Remini. He was forced to disconnect from his two children — who remained in the Scientology Church — when he left.
Amy Scobee was in charge of celebrity centers before she left the church. Her revelation was the most shocking one: sexual abuse. She said she joined the church when she was 14, and as a member of the Sea Org at 16, was the victim of statutory rape at the hands of a much older man. The man told his wife about the affair, who relayed it to the local highway patrol. The church did not report her sexual abuse to her parents or the authorities.
"And they indoctrinated in me that if anything serious goes on, it's handled internally," she said. "It happened to me, so therefore I must've done something that caused it."
Scobee also revealed another dark side of the group: leader David Miscavige's violent temper. She and Rinder both say they have seen Miscavige physically assault members in meetings when they say something he doesn't like — slapping, punching, kicking.
"If you said something that didn't please him, he would go off on you," Scobee said. "If you were a man he would likely hit you, punch you, knock you down, choke you."
When Rinder and Scobee finally left Scientology, they were alienated from their own families, who stayed behind, in a process called disconnection. As mentioned earlier, Rinder is no longer allowed to speak with his children. Scobee saw her own mother, a fellow Scientologist, turned against her by the group. Luckily, the pair reconciled before her mother died of cancer earlier this year.
It is these abuses that seem to trouble Remini the most. She was lucky enough to have her entire family follow her out when she left. Not everyone is so lucky. And according to the preview of the next episode, her goal is to expose these abuses so no other family has to suffer the way Rinder's and Scobee's have.
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