By relying on Marty Rathbun as one of its principal sources for its Church of Scientology film “Going Clear,” produced by Lawrence Wright and Alex Gibney, HBO has created a recipe for disaster. Rathbun is an admitted liar, as well as a self-confessed suborner of perjury and obstructer of justice. Moreover, he is a self-proclaimed leader of an admittedly failed “independent” experiment who at one point had delusions of seizing control of the Church.
Marty Rathbun: Guru in Handcuffs
Expelled from the Church 10 years ago, Rathbun is a lunatic with a history of psychological problems, arrests and admitted criminal acts. His madness and reckless disregard for authority and for the truth manifested itself when he accused a highly respected state judge in Florida of being on the take and the director of the FBI of being a “punk.” Now he boasts of his featured role in Alex Gibney’s HBO film (International Business Times, December 15, 2014).
The campaign against the Church and its leader that Gibney, Wright and now HBO have bought into starts with Rathbun, who is at the center of a small web of disgruntled ex-Scientologists bitter at having been kicked out of the Church. Rathbun is a wannabe guru who after being expelled by the Church was silent for five years, burning through his inheritance. Then, in 2009, he abruptly focused on a new moneymaking scheme with his “independent” movement, recruiting a handful of other expelled zealots still bitter from having been kicked out of the Church for malfeasance, and anointing himself their leader. The members of his “posse” include other Wright and Gibney sources: Mike Rinder, Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Marc Headley, Tom DeVocht and Jesse Prince.
This handful of obsessed self-promoters, nearly all of them gone a decade or more from the Church, repeatedly make apocalyptic predictions about the Church and claim membership is shrinking, even as it continues expanding globally at its fastest pace ever. This shows the complete disconnect between reality and what Rathbun’s fringe, troubled group has claimed is taking place. The reality is, the Church is growing without them.
Marty Rathbun: How (Not) to Make Friends and (Not) Influence People
Some have been gone from the Church for 30 years and longer. Using them as “experts” is analogous to interviewing a handful of priests seething at having been excommunicated years or decades ago for sexual abuse, and positioning them as prestigious and knowledgeable on their religion and its hierarchy. Rathbun and his “posse” have no clue about what is happening in the Church. Their own “independent” Church already collapsed and now Rathbun is a fervent anti-Scientologist, against the religion altogether.
With an inflated view of himself, Rathbun’s initial delusional, grandiose goal was to “save” the Church while attacking its leader. Then he proclaimed he was the leader of a new “independent” experiment. Part of his moneymaking “counseling” scheme, he exaggerated his former role with the Church. When that failed, he began attacking anyone and everyone in the Church, especially well-known parishioners, while his wife filed a frivolous lawsuit against the Church seeking millions. Now that he has miserably failed to extract monies from his “independent” experiment, Rathbun’s anti-Scientology agenda against the religion, L. Ron Hubbard and its ecclesiastical leader has been laid bare for all to see.
These damning admissions of animus are not surprising to the Church. It was evident from the outset that Rathbun was a bitter apostate motivated by greed and engaged in a moneymaking scheme. What he currently concedes is exactly what the Church said about Rathbun when he began his “con” by professing that he “loved Scientology” and wanted to “save” the Church. The reality is the man is nothing but a liar and a fraud.
Rathbun recently admitted under oath on December 22, 2014, that his so-called rival “independent movement” was an utter failure, that he no longer is an “independent Scientologist” and no longer leads any such “failed experiment.”
It is important to connect the dots regarding Rathbun. Virtually all of the allegations, myths, invented stories and lies about Scientology that have circulated in the media and been swallowed hook, line and sinker by HBO producer Lawrence Wright—including those spat out by Paul Haggis, the “donkey” for Wright’s book—originate with Rathbun. From the start, his motive and the posse’s was greed, with their primary strategy to squeeze money from the Church and deflect attention from their own actions that had caused their expulsion.
Here is what Alex Gibney would have learned about Rathbun had he bothered to reach out at any time in the last two years to assess his credibility while making his film:
- Rathbun was removed for creating a multimillion-dollar legal fiasco for the Church by, among other things, coaxing witnesses to lie and destroying evidence. His actions triggered the only indictment ever issued against a church in the state of Florida, and caused the ecclesiastical leader to be dragged into a civil lawsuit where he was targeted for the conduct of Rathbun and his cohorts. While the Church and its leader were vindicated, Rathbun put the Church in severe jeopardy and recklessly caused harm to many. That’s why the leader took action to remove him, something Rathbun has never refuted.
- Rathbun self-authored and signed a public statement admitting that as a result of these and other actions he unnecessarily caused the Church $43 million in total losses. (His own calculation; the figure is far greater.) (See Rathbun public statement.)
- Rathbun is, in the words of his ex-wife, “an unstable and violent man” and a pathological liar. (See Declaration excerpt of Anne Joasem .)
- While working for the Church, Rathbun bullied and assaulted colleagues, including nearly beating to death fellow HBO source Mike Rinder. An investigation by the Church into Rathbun’s conduct found that he had bullied no fewer than 20 of his colleagues. This information is supported by sworn declarations and Rathbun admitted these actions to the media.
- Rathbun manufactured a new lie about the Church’s religious leader, claiming he initiated a beating every day in late 2003, even though the leader’s documented travel schedule showed the claim was impossible. The religion’s leader, Mr. Miscavige, was traveling all over the world engaged in Church openings, government meetings and other official duties. The Church published a video documenting Rathbun’s lie, with voluminous evidence including moving footage and still photographs, travel records, eyewitnesses by the thousands and government records. This documentary has never been challenged and can be found at “A ‘Beating Every Day’ While 10,000 Miles Away.” Furthermore, Rathbun made this allegation even though a decade earlier he stated unequivocally in an interview that the leader was incapable of such action, stating: “That’s not his temperament. He’s got enough personal horsepower that he doesn’t need to resort to things like that.”
- In reality, it was Rathbun who beat and threatened his colleagues in the Church. Since leaving the Church he has been arrested twice and has a history of violent acts. One arrest was in New Orleans for drunken and disorderly conduct in public on his honeymoon. The police report noted that he was harassing a tourist. On another occasion, Rathbun was arrested by the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Office in Texas for causing bodily injury to a Scientologist. (See City of New Orleans Police Report and mug shot , San Patricio County Police Report .) Rathbun also slammed his car door on the arm of a reporter trying to interview him, requiring the reporter to seek medical attention, while later striking the reporter at an airport with his suitcase. He also spat on a group of Scientologists. Rathbun’s conduct is documented through video footage, police and medical reports as well as declarations and affidavits from victims or eye witnesses. (See Video: “Marty Rathbun: Violent Psychopath.”)
- His vitriol is not limited to the Church. Rathbun called former FBI Director Robert Mueller a “punk” in one of his rambling Internet postings.
- Rathbun had a major breakdown in 1993 and was granted a two-year sabbatical which he used for frolicking on beaches and enjoying comfortable accommodations in a Scientology religious retreat aboard a cruise ship before returning, all arranged for him by the leader of the religion. Years later, he received $85,000 in medical services paid by the Church during a similar emotional meltdown.
- Rathbun exhibits a long history of instability per his own self-published book and reports from his family and friends. His mother was institutionalized more than once and received electroshock treatment while pregnant with Rathbun. She later committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge when Rathbun was 5 years old. Both of Rathbun’s brothers also had bouts with mental illness, one was institutionalized, the other was murdered in a case that remains unsolved. Rathbun’s instability extends to his delusional claims to have been the Church’s “number two” when in reality he was limited to external affairs matters focusing on litigation.
- Finally, Rathbun’s criticisms of the Church are also motivated by greed, using HBO as a tool. Fronting his wife as the plaintiff in a lawsuit, he is attempting to extract money from the Church. He advises attorneys suing the Church. He peddled his own backyard version of Scientology to unsuspecting clients until he failed at that too. Now he openly attacks the religion and all its tenets in whatever way he can to gain income. In short, he is a professional anti-Scientologist.
In December 2014, in a desperate attempt to explain why his outrageous anti-Scientology claims are completely contradicted by numerous affidavits he swore to while still in the Church, Rathbun resorted to justifying these contradictions in deposition by the feeble and fallacious excuse that his “mind was controlled” for over two decades while in the Church.
The reality is that these past affidavits belie Rathbun’s current claims advanced to serve his anti-Scientology agenda. For example, in 2000 Rathbun provided the court with a sworn declaration in which he stated under penalty of perjury:
David Miscavige, through his long history of actions taken to protect the Scientology religion from any and all threats to its survival and growth, has earned a reputation among Scientologists as the one person who can be absolutely counted upon not to be corrupted, and not to act out of any other motivation than maintaining the purity and integrity of the religion. (See Declaration of Mark Rathbun, March 10, 2000 .)
While he continues making up countless tales about the Church and excuses for his own behavior, the one story Rathbun won’t tell is the real reason he was removed and disciplined. It began in December 1995, with Rathbun freshly returned from his sabbatical and the Church at peace, when a tragic death occurred. All relevant witnesses were interviewed by the police and, unknown to other Church officials, Rathbun and his cohorts Mike Rinder and Tom DeVocht were involved in coaching witnesses to lie, so initial interviews with law enforcement contained misrepresentations. Equally as serious, the Church was unable to locate certain documents requested by authorities, because they had mysteriously “disappeared.” Rathbun and his cohort Rinder deceived the Church and its leader the whole time to cover up their malfeasance. In addition, innocent individuals were wrongly blamed. But an independent search revealed that Rathbun and Rinder had hidden the missing documents. This resulted in their removal from their positions. All criminal charges were ultimately dropped and the Church was vindicated after the ecclesiastical leader became involved in cleaning up Rathbun’s mess.
Rathbun’s severe lack of integrity proved a disaster to Scientology and its parishioners—something he only partially admitted to years after he was removed and dismissed when he stated:
“I said, ‘Lose ‘em’ and walked out of the room,” he recalled, adding that the decision to destroy the records was his own.“Nobody told me to do it, and I did it,” he said. “The truth is the truth and right now I’m going to confession, and I really think it’s something that hurt the church more than it hurt the people that were trying to get recompense.” [Emphasis added.]
Had Rathbun not lied, suborned perjury, hidden files and destroyed evidence, there would have been no criminal indictment and no civil case for the Church to deal with.
The civil case against the Church was brought by Florida attorney Kennan Dandar, who Rathbun had frequently acknowledged was a dishonest ambulance chaser, and who was punished by courts for misconduct and misrepresentations. Yet today, Rathbun’s deceit against his former religion includes making false statements in support of Dandar, the individual Rathbun once, truthfully, called dishonest. In 2009, Dandar filed a new frivolous claim against the Church to harass the Church leadership and extort a settlement. Dandar’s suit was utterly rejected by the Federal Court on summary judgment as having no merit. The dismissal was fully upheld on appeal. Moreover, the very filing of the lawsuit by Dandar was in violation of previous court rulings prohibiting him from ever suing the Church. Dandar was sanctioned for his conduct by Judge Robert Beach—Senior Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas County, Florida—who ordered Dandar to withdraw from the case.
Enter Rathbun, who once again proved himself a perjurer and a man who will make up any lie to attack the Church of Scientology. In an “ex parte deposition” with Dandar (conducted telephonically by Dandar without any notice to the Church), Rathbun accused Judge Beach of being on the take from the Church of Scientology, allegedly through one of the Church’s attorneys—a well-respected member of the Florida Bar and a former State Prosecutor. Of course, Rathbun’s entire story was a lie and Judge Beach himself swore out an affidavit exposing Rathbun’s lie:
Mr. Rathbun has testified that the Church of Scientology hired a local attorney named Lee Fugate to influence the Judges of Pinellas County in the Lisa McPherson case. Mr. Rathbun testified that Mr. Fugate influenced the Judges to have me appointed as a Master to supervise the taking of deposition and later to take over the McPherson case upon Judge Susan Schaeffer’s self recusal from the case. Mr. Rathbun further testified that Mr. Fugate told him we were “old buds—going way back.” Further, Mr. Rathbun testified Mr. Fugate “was in very tight communication with Beach.” Mr. Rathbun went on to say Mr. Fugate said I was meeting Mr. Fugate “at a bar down, um, um, down in St. Petersburg and uh, and uh, you know, extensive contacts.”
I first met Mr. Lee Fugate many years ago when I was serving as a Circuit Criminal Judge in Pinellas County and he was an Assistant State Attorney. During that time I presided over several of his cases. From that time forward to the present our relationship has been strictly a professional one. I have never socialized with him, had meals with him, private conversations with him, traveled with him, never met him in bars (I do not drink) and we are not “old buds.” (See Affidavit of Robert E. Beach, Senior Circuit Judge, Sixth Judicial Circuit Pinellas County, Florida .)
In short, Rathbun’s “testimony” (perjury) was rejected by the Court. Moreover, Dandar, the unethical attorney Rathbun now supports with perjury, was ordered to pay the Church over one million dollars ($1,068,156.50) in sanctions and attorney’s fees.
Rathbun is a perjurer. He has already admitted he suborned perjury in the criminal case in 1995. He continues to commit perjury today. Lying to the media, as he is doing in the HBO documentary, is so far below the threshold of dishonesty that the act of doing so (lying to the media) doesn’t even register a blip on his moral radar screen.
What’s more, today the core of Rathbun’s self-proclaimed “posse” are Rinder and DeVocht, his two co-conspirators in 1995—the very same people who put the Church and its leader at risk by suborning perjury and obstructing justice—and who were removed for their criminal conduct. These are the “sources” now given a platform by HBO to make up stories (lie) denigrating the Church and its leadership.
These men are the equivalent of defrocked priests, having been expelled from the Church for heinous crimes, who now are “complaining” (lying) about the Church and the ecclesiastical leader who removed them.
Rathbun summed it up himself when he stated after his removal: “I have proven a proclivity for creating some of the greatest catastrophes in Church history when allowed to have some leash.”
Rathbun self-authored, signed and had witnessed a public announcement admitting to being a “fraud” (his word) for pretending to be important—by association with the ecclesiastical leader (just as he has pretended since his expulsion) and further admitted his co-conspirator is Mike Rinder:
Each and every time on major situations, COB [Chairman of the Board Mr. David Miscavige] has had to intervene to clean up wars I had exacerbated. For example, left to my own devices in handling IRS litigation, the end result would undoubtedly have been no exemption, a billion-dollar tax bill, and possible shutting down of the Church. I have developed a slick false PR technique of positioning myself as having been integral in handling threats during and after the fact, when they are actually terminatedly handled by COB. By calculation I have lost the Church 43 million dollars on losses and expenses that could have been avoided.
By perpetuating these operations internally and externally, the worst suppression has been visited upon COB RTC. It is the worst suppression because COB RTC is the person who has single-handedly salvaged Scientology from potential external ruin, and single-handedly salvaged Scientology itself by holding the line technically, administratively, and on dissemination. Had he not been here and done what he has, Scientology would have been lost. There is no slightest doubt about that. The cummulative [sic] amount of COB’s time I have cost in terms of dropping balls, creating situations internally and externally, is on the order of eight years.
…There is no conspiracy connected with this pattern of suppression, except a portion of it. That is Mike Rinder who has gone into tacit agreement with me on making nothing of situations, false reporting on them, and allowing them to expand until they explode…. (See Rathbun public statement.)
Alex Gibney would know all of this had he bothered to inquire about Rathbun’s credibility. HBO producer Lawrence Wright did know this but showed his bias by ignoring it.
Truth be told, Marty Rathbun already admitted it in sworn declarations and here is what he said:
Over the years, I have witnessed innumerable personal attacks upon Mr. Miscavige, his family, his character, his integrity and his leadership by apostates and other opponents. Frequently vicious, uniformly offensive, such attacks are a reflection of Mr. Miscavige’s success in safeguarding the religion against attack. Until recently, I have considered the individuals who have attacked Mr. Miscavige as merely embittered, spite-driven anti-Scientologists. However, as described in more detail below, it has recently become clear to me that these individuals are seeking more than merely the removal of Mr. Miscavige or any purported ‘reform“ of the Church. Their ultimate goal is to take over the Church of Scientology and they are attempting to use this Court and the instant motion to accomplish this. They violently disagree with Scientology as practiced by millions across the world and seek to alter its beliefs and practices to suit their own ends. It is because Mr. Miscavige stands in their way that he has been targeted by them. (See Declaration of Mark Rathbun, March 10, 2000 .)