Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes Divorce: ‘Scientology is No Place for an Innocent Child,’ Says Church Leader’s Niece

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The niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has condemned the hardcore religious fraternity in the wake of Katie Holmes‘ decision to divorce the organization’s poster child, Tom Cruise.

Jenna Miscavige Hill, who defected from the Church in 2005, said the ultra-zealous organization is no place for “an innocent child” like Suri, the couple’s six-year-old daughter.

In a statement to Celebuzz, the ex-member said:

“While it is very unlikely that Suri Cruise would have the same upbringing as me (due to her parent’s celebrity status), any organization that is capable of mistreating and neglecting the needs of children, regardless of their social status, and which has a long history of breaking up families is no place for an innocent child,” Miscavige Hill, 28, said.

Her mother and father left Scientology in 2000 when she was at age 16, but she stayed in until 2005, during which time she said she was kept in a boarding school.

She has claimed letters from her parents were intercepted and she was not allowed to answer a telephone for a year, consistent with the Scientology-ordered practice of disconnection, where with relatives and friends who don’t support the beliefs are considered hostile.

“As a mother myself, I offer my support to Katie and wish for her all of the strength she will need to do what is best for her and her daughter,” Miscavige Hill said, in the statement and also published on her website

“My experience in growing up in Scientology is that it is both mentally and at times physically abusive.

“I was allowed to see my parents only once a week at best – sometimes not for years.

“We got a lousy education from unqualified teachers, forced labor, long hours, forced confessions, being held in rooms not to mention the mental anguish of trying to figure out all of the conflicting information they force upon you as a young child.”

Since news of the divorce broke on June 28, reports had claimed Holmes, 33, was being followed by the Church Of Scientology. A lawyer for the church dismissed the allegation.

But Miscavige Hill said church members often use pressure tactics to get their way.

“The people in Scientology who are responsible for “PR” are experts at twisting the truth and intimidation tactics,” she said.

Watch a video of Miscavige Hill talking to Inside Edition, below: