Leah Remini reconnects with Scientology disconnected Trisha Conley and Sherry Ollins


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Leah Remini reconnects with Scientology disconnected persons Trisha Conley and Sherry Ollins (nee Lewis)

[Yes, I realize Tony's story was cross-posted at the tail end of another thread. I think it deserves its own thread and Google entry. Plus, I like my title re: Googleability for any on the fence or under the radar people who may be reading or searching names.]

Tony Ortega: Leah Remini is still thumbing her nose at Scientology leader David Miscavige


In December, she posted a photograph on Twitter that contained a clear message for Miscavige regarding Scientology’s policy of “disconnection,” which has cost Leah many of her former friends in the church.

In the photo, she’s posing with two other women, and Leah captioned it, “This is what the holiday season is all about! Have known these girls for over 20 years! Reconnecting is oh so nice!”

We’ve spent some time learning about those two women, which helped us understand why there’s no question Leah was sending a message to Scientology when she posted it.

The woman on the left side of the photo is Trisha Conley, whose parents, Jim and Kaye Conley, notified Trisha in November that they were disconnecting from her.
Despite pressure from her parents, Trisha refused to give up her friendships with Rinder or with Chrissie Weightman. Last fall, Trisha’s parents flew from Australia to visit her in Los Angeles, and Chrissie says they spent more time arguing with Trisha about being in contact with the wrong people than sightseeing. When Trisha refused to break off contact with Weightman, her parents sent her formal messages announcing that they were cutting her out of their lives.
The other woman in the photograph with Leah Remini is Sherry Ollins. Her maiden name is Lewis.
Sherry’s brother is Stefan Lewis, who later changed his name to Stefan Castle. He and his wife Tanja were the players in one of the most dramatic stories of disconnection and divorce, told movingly in Janet Reitman’s 2011 book, Inside Scientology. KABC Channel 7 in Los Angeles later put together an excellent piece about the same story.

According to Reitman, Scientology leader David Miscavige had made Tanja, who was very attractive, one of the women who served him personally at Scientology’s 500-acre International Base near Hemet, California. As Miscavige kept Tanja near him, Stefan found it more and more difficult to see his wife. He was eventually transferred to Los Angeles and put in the RPF. Meanwhile, Tanja was put under intense pressure to divorce him. She eventually did, but Stefan believed that it wasn’t something she would have done on her own. He then began to plot a way to get a message to her, hoping to let her know that he would help get her out of the base, which is ringed by a security fence with inward-facing spikes. Stefan hit on a brilliant ploy. He knew that the only mail that women at the base received which was not opened by security guards were the things they ordered from Victoria’s Secret. So Stefan mailed a throwaway cell phone in a Victoria’s Secret box with a message, asking Tanja to call a particular number. It worked, she called, and he learned that she still wanted to be with him. He then set up an escape plan for her.

Sherry Lewis’s brother, in other words, foiled David Miscavige’s plans to wreck a marriage. And by posing with her in a photograph, Leah Remini must have known she was sending Miscavige a powerful message. On her other side was a woman whose family is among the most important for Scientology in Australia, and who recently experienced disconnection.