Violence Common Among Scientology Managers

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Labbie
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Violence Common Among Scientology Managers

Post by Labbie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:42 pm

Violence Common Among Scientology Managers

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The leader of the Church of Scientology struck his subordinates numerous times and set an example for physical violence among the tightly controlled religion's management team, four former high-ranking executives told a newspaper for a story published Sunday.

The executives who have since left the organization told The St. Petersburg Times that they witnessed David Miscavige, chairman of the board that oversees the church, hit staff members dozens of times, often without warning.

"It was random and whimsical. It could be the look on your face. Or not answering a question quickly. But it always was a punishment," said Mike Rinder, who oversaw the church's legal and media relations operations. Rinder said he was hit many times by Miscavige and that he also hit others before leaving in 2007.

In a response to the paper, the church denied the allegations, saying that the four former executives statements were "absolute and total lies," and the claims are an effort to tarnish Miscavige.

Marty Rathbun, who served on the church's board and was a top lieutenant of Miscavige's, said he was often ordered by Miscavige to attack others.

Tom De Vocht, who for years oversaw the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, estimated that during one three-year period, he saw Miscavige strike staffers as many as 100 times. He left in 2005.

De Vocht also participated, explaining to the newspaper how he rationalized his actions: "If I don't attack I'm going to be attacked. It's a survival instinct in a weird situation that no one should be in."

Amy Scobee, a manager in California who helped build the church's network of Celebrity Centres, said she witnessed numerous attacks before leaving in 2005 but was never hit herself or saw any other women attacked.

The former executives all expressed dismay at the violence, but the newspaper's story didn't detail the circumstances surrounding each one's departure.

Monique Yingling, a church spokeswoman, told the newspaper that the four left because they had been removed from their posts and couldn't handle the demotions.

Church spokesman Tommy Davis told the newspaper that an internal investigation revealed that Rathbun -- and not Miscavige -- was responsible for dozens of attacks in the years before he left in 2004.

The church told The Associated Press that Davis was in a meeting Sunday and wasn't immediately available for comment.

The newspaper reported it met with church spokesmen and lawyers for 25 hours and that it began requesting to interview Miscavige on May 13 but was told his schedule would not permit it before a date in July.

"I am at a loss to comprehend how the St. Petersburg Times can publish a story about me and the religion I lead without accepting the offer to speak with me," Miscavige said in a letter to the newspaper e-mailed on Saturday.

Sunday's report was the first of a three-part series on the church.

The Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology, founded in 1954 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems. It claims 10 million members around the world, including celebrity devotees Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Devotees converge on Clearwater, on Florida' west coast, for the highest levels of the church's training programs. By church tallies, around 12,000 Scientologists live and work in and around Clearwater.

Scientologists believe spiritual enlightenment is possible by ridding the mind and soul of the accumulated, unwanted effects of this lifetime and innumerable previous lifetimes through an intense counseling process called "auditing." Auditors use a device called an "e-meter," similar to a polygraph.

Parishioners pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for the auditing services and progress through various levels of "Operating Thetan." Those seeking to achieve the highest "OT" levels visit Clearwater.
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Post by Labbie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:50 pm

Ex-Scientologist had evidence destroyed

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A former high-ranking Scientology official who handled the case of a mentally ill member who died under church care ordered the destruction of incriminating evidence to cover up missteps, a newspaper reported Monday.

The ex-official and church defector, Marty Rathbun, had for years insisted the church did nothing wrong in handling the case of Lisa McPherson's death on Dec. 5, 1995. But he recently told the St. Petersburg Times the church botched the woman's case from the start.

The church dismisses Rathbun as a bitter former member who inflated his importance. The church said he had been demoted in 2003; he left in 2004.

Rathbun said he initially wanted to go to the state attorney's office after the 36-year-old's death, but he instead followed the church's culture to never admit fault. He and others removed papers from McPherson's files, including a caretaker's opinion that the situation was out of control and the patient needed a doctor.

"I said, 'Lose 'em,' and walked out of the room," Rathbun told the newspaper.

McPherson's death prompted investigations, lawsuits and has remained a talking point among Scientology critics.

A wrongful death case was settled with McPherson's family in 2004 under undisclosed terms. And while investigations brought charges of criminal neglect and practicing medicine without a license, they were later dropped when a coroner changed the cause of death to an accident from undetermined.

State Attorney Bernie McCabe said destruction of evidence charges would have had to be brought within three years of the crime and that the investigation into McPherson's death was over.

"The whole thing was done wrong," Rathbun told the newspaper. "I can't tell you what a technical crime this was."

Church spokesman Tommy Davis said he couldn't specifically comment on many of Rathbun's claims because of the settlement.

"What he's been saying — there's so many lies you can't believe anything at this point because he's been lying so much," Davis said.

McPherson joined Scientology at 18 in her hometown of Dallas and moved to the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater.

On Nov. 18, 1995, she was involved in a traffic accident and soon became frantic, according to the newspaper's report, stripping off her clothes and walking along the street. She was taken to the hospital, where doctors discussed having her committed for psychiatric evaluation. But Scientology opposes psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.

According to the Times, about 10 church members went to get her and she signed out against a doctor's advice. She was brought to the church's Fort Harrison Hotel.

For 17 days, McPherson was kept in a room where church officials tried to calm, feed and medicate her, keeping logs of what transpired.

She slapped and screamed at the caretakers, babbled and vomited, the newspaper reported. As she spiraled downward and lost about 12 pounds, a church doctor who was unlicensed in Florida phoned David Minkoff, a fellow Scientologist who was a licensed doctor in the state. Minkoff said McPherson should be taken to a hospital down the street.

The Scientologists feared McPherson would be exposed to psychiatric care there and drove 45 minutes to a hospital where Minkoff was working. Minkoff pronounced her dead upon arrival.

Other revelations in the newspaper's three-part series revealed that McPherson had achieved "clear" status, a designation that means they are free of painful trauma and unwanted feelings, just weeks before her mental breakdown and death. The designation comes through auditing, Scientology's trademark counseling sessions.

The newspaper earlier reported that the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, struck his subordinates numerous times. The church denied the allegations, saying they are lies in an effort to tarnish Miscavige, who has led the church for more than two decades.
Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.

If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention

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