Ex-Scientology Official Files Affidavit in Wife’s Suit

A Comal County resident's lawsuit against various entities of the Church of Scientology was ratcheted up last week when Mark "Marty" Rathbun added an affidavit to his wife's case.

Monique Rathbun filed suit and a temporary restraining order against Scientology leader David Miscavige, the Religious Technology Center and the Church of Scientology International (CSI) for what she says is harassment, orchestrated by the church against she and her husband.

Also named in the suit are Monty Drake, a private investigator based in Texas, and Steven Gregory Sloat, a former U.S. Marshal. Two more names were added to filing: David Lubow (aka David J. Labow) and Ed Bryan. The four men are accused of carrying out harassment against Monique Rathbun.

Marty Rathbun served 27 years in the Church and was second in command under Miscavige. Rathbun, who was Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), left the church in 2004 and has been publicly critical of Miscavige, accusing the Church leader of physical and mental abuse. Monique Rathbun has never been a member of the Church of Scientology nor spoken publicly about the organization.

Rathbun's affidavit is in response to Special Appearance filings by Miscavige, the RTC and its president, Warren McShane, which argue that Texas courts do not have proper jurisdiction. Along with the Special Appearance, Miscavige and McShane filed Declarations stating that, among other claims, they have never had any business in Texas, have never heard of codefendants Drake and Sloat, nor have ever contracted anyone in the state to do work for them or the RTC.

A hearing for a temporary injunction is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. A decision on the Special Appearance is expected Thursday. Judge Dib Waldrip will be presiding.

In his affidavit, Marty Rathbun denies Miscaviges claims about Drake and Texas. Rathbun states that Miscavige, who is RTC chairman, has known of Drake's work for the Church since the 1990s when he "became Scientology's primary private investigator for Texas matters."

One instance of Miscavige's relationship to Drake, according to Rathbun, was in the case of Lisa McPherson, a former Texan who died in 1995 while under care of the Church in Florida. McPherson's family sued the Church for wrongful death. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2004. Criminal charges were dropped when, in 2000, the medical examiner changed the cause of death from undetermined to accident. The McPherson incident was a notorious public relations nightmare for the Church. Rathbun states that his former boss ordered him "on several occasions between 1996 and 2004 to have Mr. Drake obtain both specific and general information on the family of Lisa McPherson." Rathbun goes on to say in the affidavit that he "personally handed each of Mr. Drake's reports to Mr. Miscavige."

He then asserts that Miscavige wanted to get the McPherson case moved to Texas because the Church leader thought Pedillo County in Florida, where McPherson died, was "hostile." Miscavige "repeatedly stressed to me that no Texas suit could be filed unless I found Texas legal counsel so connected to the local judiciary as to assure victory to (the) Church."

The affidavit continues to describe what Rathbun says were the Church leader's attempts to stop the suit, even sending someone to McPherson's funeral in an attempt to "handle" McPherson's mother to get her "not to investigate the circumstances of her daughter's death," even if that meant paying her. Rathbun quotes Miscavige as saying it was worth it to "'lose a couple hundred grand for this to go away.'"

Monique Rathbun's amended petition, filed by her attorney Ray Jeffrey, counters McShane's claims to having never contracted work in Texas on behalf of RTC. The petition quotes a 2010 report filed by the sheriff of California's Riverside County regarding a case of a Church defector. The report said that "'Mr. McShane told me RTC had previously contracted with a private security firm in the State of Texas to monitor Mr. Rathbun.'"

Calls and emails seeking comment from attorneys for Miscavige, RTC and CSI were not returned by Monday.
Also as of Monday, none of the other four defendants have representation, nor have they been served. Jeffrey said that he intends to ask the court for permission to serve the men at their homes.

Update: In response to Marty Rathbun's affidavit, CSI filed a motion to have his wife's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, removed from the case. CSI is claiming that comments by Marty Rathbun concerning the Church's search for a Texas attorney in the McPherson case was secret information and a violation of attorney-client privilege. Neither Rathbun nor Miscavige are attorneys.

Nick Rogers covers courts and crime for the TX Citizen.

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