In the 14 years that I worked at the scientology headquarters located in Hemet California, Shelly Miscavige was ALWAYS with David Miscavige.


She was his wife, but more importantly she was his personal assistant.


As such, she was responsible for attending all of his meetings, handling his correspondence, running his office and taking care of anything and everything he needed attending to.


Some people didn’t like her.


I knew her personally and so I had a different view of the struggles she faced working so closely to David Miscavige.


From 1998 until I left in January 2005, I worked directly with Shelly.


For 4 of those years, I reported to her and she was my boss, meaning I met with her daily and she dictated what I was to get done each day.


As of mid 2004, David Miscavige had 12 staff in his “personal office”:


COB Assistant – Shelly Miscavige

COB Communicator – Laurisse Stuckenbrock

COB Secretary – Ailon Barram

COB Secretary Typist – Tanja Lewis (Castle)

COB Secretary for Outgoing Traffic – Francois Lalouette

COB Secretary for Incoming Traffic – Serena McElveen

COB Communicator for Compliance – Tori McKay

COB Office Runner – Amber O’Sullivan

COB Steward – Georgiana Irons

COB Steward – Valerie Light

COB Steward – Emily Jones

COB Steward – Irene Brummer



I first heard of Shelly’s disappearance in early 2006. I heard she had disappeared completely in mid 2005. Whereas for two decades prior to that she had been known as COB’s Assistant, was cc’d on every single piece of correspondence issued by David Miscavige, attended all meetings, public events etc. She was now gone, as if, in fact, her very position had been obliterated and no longer existed.


COB Assistant was no more. It was shocking.


As time went by, we started to piece together a picture of what had happened.


As I understand it:


Shelly travelled with Dave as usual to the Maiden Voyage event aboard the Freewinds in June 2005.


She returned early in order to “implement” the new organizational structure and postings of all staff.


As background information, David Miscavige deemed these all needed to be redone in 1999. However 7 years had gone by without anyone being able to successfully complete these to his satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, they had been completed and submitted to him for approval on numerous occasions. But every single time, he resoundingly rejected every proposal he received.


Finally Shelly was tasked with completing the project herself, directly, and getting everyone on post.


Amber O’Sullivan, whose position was COB Office Runner, was sent back from the Freewinds with Shelly to help her. Amber is my cousin, daughter of my uncle, Frank O’Sullivan. She was born and raised in the Sea Organization and had worked her way up the ranks from UK, to the Freewinds cruise ship and finally she was now personal staff of David Miscavige.


Shelly put everyone on post, including moving management staff into the RTC building, known as Building 50.


Whatever Shelly did, David went into a maniacal rage on his return to the Hemet base. He removed everyone from their positions, kicked management staff out of Building 50 and sent Shelly off post for interrogation, sec checking and heavy manual labor.


I can imagine what happened. I’d seen enough of Dave’s rages to have a very good idea. In September 2004 I was booted out of RTC by Dave personally because I refused to divorce my husband of 12 years at the time, Marc Headley. His exact words to me, with a purple face and a menacing finger 1 inch from my nose: “You’re out of here, you theetie weetie c**t!”.


Building 50, the RTC building, was a labor of love for David Miscavige. Although he often made reference to the fact that he was going to make this the management building instead of RTC, I never believed he was serious about this. The building was built from scratch to David Miscavige’s exact specifications. A 30 million dollar project all told.


After kicking management staff out of building 50 and cancelling everything Shelly did, kicking Shelly off post, sending her off in disgrace for sec checking and heavy manual labor, David Miscavige left the property in a huff and drove to LA with his communicator, Laurisse Stuckenbrock and his stewards.


Antonella Tisi was Shelly’s sec checker.


When Shelly came out from her interrogation with Antonella Tisi, Dave was long gone.


So Shelly made the decision to go to LA to talk to Dave. After all, she was used to being able to move freely and travelling everywhere with Dave. Only Dave’s personal staff had that freedom. Anyone else had to have written authorization, go through security, report in regularly, etc.


Dave was furious. I don’t know what Shelly walked in on when she arrived in LA, but whatever it was, it made David Miscavige furious and resulted in Shelly’s ultimate banishment. Dave decreed that Shelly “blew” from her interrogation (scientologese for unauthorized departure or escape) and at this point she was banished to the secret CST base in Running Springs. Most scientologists don’t even know this base exists. Staff at the Hemet base know it exists, but they’re not allowed to know its location unless they first sign extensive security bonds and are approved by 10 different high up people to know its location.


To my knowledge, based on information from 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively, Shelly has been there ever since. Anne Rathbun is her personal handler and Antonella Tisi is her interrogator.


This pattern is not new.


There are numerous examples of staff who were locked up for years on end, never to be seen or heard of again, surrounded by mystery, because they dared to cross David Miscavige.


Marc Yager was David Miscavige’s right hand man until 1995.


Then he lived by himself in a swamp on the Hemet property under full time security watch for 3 years. Although I worked on the property during those years, I never once saw Marc Yager during the time he had been banished.


Finally, 5 years later, he managed to make it back into David Miscavige’s favor.


David Miscavige would love to think Shelly doesn’t exist and he worked hard to make certain she would never cross his path again.


Thanks to Leah Remini, this task has not been made easy for him. I truly admire Leah’s presence of mind and plain balls. The more powerful people like her who speak up and wield their power, the harder it will be for scientology to continue its criminality.


I just hope LAPD at least demanded to physically see Shelly Miscavige before they dismissed her missing person report. Failing that, I hope they at least talked to her on the phone. That’s a miserable second, since I have no idea how they’d even know it was her. After all, it’s not like they’d have security questions they could use to verify her identity that any scientology staffer could pass with flying colors. Social Security #, mother’s maiden name, etc. I know from personal experience they will not hesitate to impersonate you when you leave, especially if it serves a purpose, gains intelligence information etc.


Shelly has been in scientology since she was a young girl.


She worked directly for Hubbard as a messenger as a teenager.


Hubbard called her Miss Panache, because of her love of fashion and because she always made sure she was extremely presentable, smartly dressed and well manicured.


David Miscavige barely knew and worked with Hubbard.


Not so with Shelly. She was his personal messenger for years and worked very closely with Hubbard.


A few other thoughts:


Shelly told me on numerous occasions that when you get to the top of scientology, you forego your right to escape. I truly think she believed this. I believed it when she told me. After all, I’d seen several high up people escape and they were each ruthlessly tracked down and brought back.


Shelly truly believed Hubbard would return. I think her love of and loyalty to Hubbard will keep her there, no matter what David Miscavige puts her through.  And thus, anything she says will mirror this intention.


Shelly has no remaining family outside of scientology, bar one sister who I don’t believe she was every very close to. I could be wrong about this, I am stating my impression from the many conversations I had with Shelly, in which the only family she ever talked about were CB and her father, Barney.


Her mother and father are no longer living. I know she loved her father deeply (Barney Barnett). She was devastated when she found out in 2003 that he had cancer. He passed in 2007 and Shelly was barely able to make it to his funeral. She was escorted there by Anne Rathbun. She was not wearing her wedding ring and mentioned that she was in deep trouble.


Shelly did the project to find Katie Holmes for Tom Cruise. I’m positive that word of that getting out did not help her case. I’m also positive that the outcome of that marriage did not help her either.


There were numerous times when Shelly told me that David Miscavige was at least verbally if not physically abusing her. I’d witnessed David Miscavige physically abuse staff hundreds of times. He always blamed it on the staff around him, stating that they were forcing him to do this.


Several times Shelly told me I had no idea what I was putting her through with Dave by not getting certain tasks completed. It didn’t require much imagination based on what I’d seen.


In my opinion, Shelly Miscavige is a good person. Whether you believe in scientology or not, she was well intentioned and was simply trying to do what she thought was right.


And her intentions have landed her a life of imprisonment.


I just hope that somehow, some way, Shelly will get out from under Dave’s control and punishment.


One can wish and hope.


Related Links:

Michele Miscavige – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientology Leader David Miscavige’s Disappeared Wife Shelly

Scientologist Shelly Miscavige Missing Person Report ‘Unfounded …

The Strange Death of Flo Barnett, Mother-in-Law to Scientology …

Scientology Leader’s Wife Shelly Miscavige — FOUND

LAPD Rules Shelly Miscavige Missing Persons Report ‘Unfounded’

Shelly Miscavige

So The LAPD Found Shelly Miscavige – The Superficial – Because …

shelly miscavige Breaking News and Photos | .com

Mary Florence (Flo) Barnett – Scientology Critical Information Directory

SHELLY SPEAKS: Scientology Leader’s Banished Wife Says She’ll …

LAPD call off search for Scientology leader’s wife Shelly Miscavige

Where is Shelly Miscavige? | Facebook


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  1. Robyn Banx says:

    Nice report, and only a couple of typos…

    “A 30 million dollar project all told.”


    “David Miscavige barely new and worked with Hubbard.”


    • Claire says:

      Thanks for the notes on the typos!

      I fixed the one, and I think all told is okay as it is, but I’m more than willing to stand corrected… :)

      Appreciate you stopping in here!


      • Hi Claire,

        Thanks so very much for this! I really appreciate it your making this information public.

        As for “all told” vs. “all tolled”, you are correct.

        There are two typos remaining, and they are pretty common ones: “it’s criminality” and “it’s location”.

        The correct spelling in both of these cases is “its”. One thing I have found to be helpful is keeping in mind what an apostrophe does; it replaces a letter. In the case of “it’s”, the apostrophe replaces an “i”. So the meaning of “it’s” is “it is”. I hope this helps.

        All my best to you, Marc, and your beautiful children!


        • Claire says:

          Thanks Mark! I corrected those and a couple of others. Much appreciate your feedback, thank you!
          All our best to you and your family also!

  2. tetloj says:

    Thank you so much Claire for putting this information out into the public sphere. It is more important now than ever. And it’s the only way to handle fair game.

  3. Bruce Hines says:

    Where is CB?

  4. Mrs Libnish says:

    Good God, that is so freakin sad. I bet, if she tried really hard, she could blow. But she doesn’t want to. She is a prisoner in her own mind. I wish there was some way to get to her to let her know of all the defections and the awesome support system that is out here. I bet Jenna would help her, if she asked.

    Good post. It ties up a lot of loose ends and puts all the tidbits of information in order.

  5. TheHoleDoesNotExist says:

    Thank you once again, Claire, for filling in the holes of this mysterious and frustrating drama unfolding. I’m not surprised in what you lay out. It is so very hard to see friends or family that are living under the thumb of abusers and bullies and not being able to spring them from their mental prisons. I’ve always suspected that Shelly strives to be a Mary Sue Hubbard and it sounds now like this is too true. I hope that she is at least physically well cared for, but I shudder at the thought of her handlers hovering over her day and night. I was thinking about her other sister who has to be hearing all the news these past few weeks and how it must hurt her heart, but perhaps she is numb to all now. As to the other sister that Bruce asked about, I wonder too. Is CB still at Gold, the Hole, or….?

  6. MReppen says:

    Spot on and interesting article. I knew Shelly when I was on the Apollo ship in the mid 70’s, I believe she was few years younger than I and what you say about her loyalty to Hubbard is true, she was a messenger for him for many years. With all her family gone, she probably has nowhere to go even if she did want to leave.

    The point about spousal abuse even if verbal, also has to be true- just look at Miscavige’s track history. Once an abuser always an abuser.

  7. Shelly C says:

    Thanks Claire, great post. I think you’ve given important insight and understanding as to why many of us still care deeply about what is happening with Shelly. It’s heartbreaking when I consider what she has gone through and still is. Must be insane. The missing person’s report and investigation were a great start. If she only knew how many people out here would help her escape to freedom.

  8. Dylan says:

    Great write-up. you were there and would know better than most. I agree that shelly was with DM all the time.

    I know that being at CST was like stepping into a time warp. You are off the command lines and are free to focus on purpose. The thing that most people talk about when they say why they stayed in and/or got into scientology. If shelly made it up there. as a punishment or not. She is in the best place she could be. Working of preserving the tech she had protected for most of her life. CST is also the place where LRH is supposed to return and grow up. I hope she wakes up and gets out. there is a great network of people that would welcome her with open arms. If she does not then I truly hope she is up at the main CST base, far away from DM and the chaos, living in the forest and breathing the mountain air. Doing the work that she loves. thanks again for this knowledge and creating a safe place for others to communicate freely. D

  9. freespirit says:

    Claire, I really respect you. Your article is really well written, articulate and disarmingly truthful and sincere. Thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts.

  10. Mak says:

    Great info Claire. Terrific post. You are such an important and valuable person. Thanks

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