SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- A former official with the Church of Scientology testified in a Texas court that she was physically abused by the current head of the church.
The church sued Debbie Cook and her husband in Texas after they sent out an e-mail to church members, saying the couple breached the confidentiality agreements they signed when they left the church in 2007, ABC News reported. The couple received $50,000 each in return for agreeing to keep silent, a contract Cook now says she signed under duress.
In her court testimony in early February, Cook said she saw David Miscavige punch another top church official. She said Cook ordered his assistant to hit her, an order followed with such enthusiasm she was knocked to the floor.
Miscavige is chairman of the board of Scientology's Religious Technology Center.
Cook also said that in 2007 she was held for several weeks in what she called the "hole," two ant-infested double-wide trailers. She said inmates of the trailers had guards on the door and bars on the windows and were fed what she described as "barely edible" slop.
Cook ran Scientology's Flag Base in Clearwater, Fla., for 17 years. She says she remains committed to Scientology but believes its beliefs have been perverted.
The church describes Cook and her husband as "defrocked apostates." It says she did go through religious discipline voluntarily but says her description of the "hole" is false.
In a letter to ABC News, Miscavige's assistant denied hitting Cook.