On Friday afternoon, two narcotics officers with the Burbank, Calif., police department reportedly showed up at Tom DeVocht's door on an anonymous tip—complete with dubious photographic evidence—that the former Scientology executive was selling drugs in the area. The documentary Going Clear, in which DeVocht appeared as an interviewee, had premiered on HBO five days before. Was the apparent frame job the church's way of getting revenge?
DeVocht thinks so, and Scientology's track record would seem to back him up. DeVocht, an ex-confidant of megalomaniacal church leader David Miscavige, told Scientology-centric journalist Tony Ortega that he's noticed private investigators watching him from a park near his home in the weeks since Going Clear's release. In the film, DeVocht alleges that Miscavige regularly requested and read reports from Tom Cruise's "auditing" sessions, sharing the personal secrets gleaned from those reports with other Scientologists and using them as fodder for jokes.
DeVocht says Baumgarten told him, “Somebody dropped this off on my desk. I don’t know why it was on my desk. But we were tipped off that you might be dealing drugs, and the photos show you supposedly with drugs in your car.”...
Tom then explained what they were seeing in the photographs. He and his girlfriend often go on hikes and like to carry snacks with them in his car. The quart bag he was holding, he pointed out, was filled with popcorn.
“It’s not a big deal. We’re not here to arrest you,” Baumgarten told him.
DeVocht's theory—that someone working for the church had taken the photos and provided them to the police as a way to harass him—might seem desperate and paranoid if he were discussing any entity but Scientology, an organization with a rich and documented history of surveilling and harassing ex-members and other critics.
In an email to Burbank PD, DeVocht urged the investigating officers to consider who they might be dealing with. And if they weren't familiar, he wrote, they might consider watching the movie.
"They have had PIs following me, and I have reported this to the Burbank Police department — it should be on file. Please take a look online for my name and you will see this for yourself. Also, please watch Going Clear or at least find out about it."
[Photo via Going Clear]