- Marty Rathbun – former Scientology Inspector General and friend of leader David Miscavige – claims he has been harassed for five years
- Wife filed lawsuit against church after she ‘found secret camera’ watching their every move at Texas home
- Wife Monique claims church sent sex toys to her work and was ‘obsessed by her sexuality’
- Followed for 199 days by ‘Squirrel Busters’ team that harassed them
- Marty recounts helping Tom Cruise through divorce and interrogating John Travolta as the church’s ‘Mr Fix It’
- Scientology say couple’s claim is a ‘get rich-quick’ scheme to ‘extort’ cash
- Church says alleged incidents have been refuted under oath by more than two dozen witnesses
- However the Rathbuns say they have numerous witnesses who corroborate their story
Will Payne, North Of San Antonio, Texas
15:04 GMT, 20 December 2013
16:06 GMT, 20 December 2013
For five years Marty Rathbun and his wife’s lives have allegedly been made a ‘living hell’ by The Church of Scientology furious that he stepped down from his lofty position inside the powerful organization and then dared to speak out against it.
Their house was besieged by minions, known bizarrely as ‘Squirrel Busters’, harassing them at every turn. Private investigators were allegedly hired to follow them and monitor their movements, renting neighboring properties and setting up surveillance cameras trained on their home.
Wife Monique says her family members, ex-husband and work colleagues were targeted, with operatives spreading lies about her relationship and even her sexuality, to try to drive a wedge between Marty and herself.
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‘Harassed’: Monique Rathbun has filed a civil suit against the Church of Scientology claiming she and husband Marty have suffered at their hands from hacking and egg throwing to questioning her sexuality
Secret cameras: The couple claim that even after they moved to escape harassment they were tracked down and this camera was set up behind their house to watch their every move. The church say the civil suit is nothing but a ‘get-rich-quick scheme’ concocted by the Rathbuns
After around four years of near constant intrusion, they felt they had no choice but to move hundreds of miles to a secluded property in the hill country of Texas.
Even at their new home, they claim they were regularly followed when they pulled out of their driveway.
Then came a blissful two months when Monique finally felt safe and secure in her own house for the first time in years.
It was not to last. In July, Marty – who used to mentor celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta – discovered a camouflaged camera hidden on a tree in woodland behind their supposed sanctuary.
Driven almost insane by paranoia, he was convinced their every move was being filmed.
– Monique Rathbun
He claims The Scientology movement, headed by Marty’s former friend David Miscavige, had rented the five-acre property bordering their home and hired a former police officer to not only spy on them, but try to befriend them and infiltrate the most personal moments in their lives.
It was the final straw for the Rathbuns. Monique launched a $1 million harassment suit against the church and its leader, which is currently playing out in court.
The Scientology movement has dismissed the lawsuit as a get-rich-quick scheme concocted by the Rathbuns, but they say nothing could be further from the truth.
Squirrel Busters: The couple claim they were followed for 199 days by the above men. Squirrel is a term used for a Scientology member who has left the church and turned against it
‘We are prisoners in our own home’, said Monique in an exclusive interview with MailOnline. ‘I am terrified whenever Marty leaves the house that something terrible is going to happen. I have no idea what they are capable of. It has made me anxious and depressed.
‘It has ruined our lives. I have no friends because every time I meet someone I am paranoid they could have been sent by the church to spy on me. If I interview someone at work I immediately think, “Are they employed by the church?”
‘Even if I did make a friend at some point I would have to tell them they were going to be approached by Squirrel Busters or private investigators.
‘After years of harassment at our last home, I finally thought we had moved somewhere safe, which was no easy task. I used to go for a swim in the backyard every evening, it was heaven.
‘But the moment we found that camera it was shattered. I can’t even go out in the backyard now. I never know who might be watching.
‘If Marty’s not here, I can’t sleep at night. I stay up and sit on the sofa, with a baseball bat. They have made him out to be such a devil and a demon, who’s to say one of the parishioners won’t take it upon themselves to take us out to win favour in the church. I am physically scared.
‘We have talked about moving again, but we can’t just keep running. They will find us wherever we go. It’s a living hell.’
Marty added: ‘After all the efforts we made to find somewhere they couldn’t get to us, to discover there was a camera trained on our property watching our every move… well, for Monique, it was such an intrusion, it was like rape.
‘I can accept a certain level of harassment. I was part of the church for 35 years and to an extent I believe you reap what you sow, but they have targeted Monique for years now and we need to do something about it.
‘A standard tactic is to attack the things their enemy holds dear and everyone knows there is nothing in this world I care about more than her. But they need to realize this is America and you cannot behave in this way with impunity.’
Celebrity members: As the former Inspector General of the church, Mr Rathbun claims he was asked to help prominent members. He says he helped Tom Cruise through his divorce to Nicole Kidman and once ‘interrogated’ John Travolta with an e-meter
Marty joined the Scientology movement – which was started by L Ron Hubbard in 1952 – back in 1978.
By the Nineties he reached the position of Inspector General, the second most senior person in the movement, only answerable to David Miscavige.
He describes himself as ‘Mr Fix it’, the go-to man whenever there was a major problem.
One of his primary duties was managing the crop of A-List stars who adhered to the controversial religion.
Being Scientology’s ‘Mr Fix It’: From helping Tom Cruise deal with divorce to interrogating John Travolta
Marty explained: ‘Whenever anything was going wrong I was brought in. When Tom Cruise was going through a divorce with Nicole Kidman I had to counsel him for nine months.
‘If any of them was becoming disaffected or disillusioned with Miscavige, I had to deal with them.
‘In 2000, John Travolta starred in the movie Battlefield Earth, based on the first half of a novel by the same name, written by Hubbard.
‘Miscavige took full responsibility for it at the beginning. He was watching the daily rushes down in Florida and at the time he was saying it was going to be the greatest movie ever made.
‘I was there when we saw the first sneak preview. He loved it. He got John Travolta on the phone and lavished him with praise, saying it was the greatest thing anyone had ever done for Scientology.
‘But it bombed on day one and within a week Miscavige was looking for a way to manage the situation. One day he said to me, “Marty you need to get John’s a** in, this movie has become the laughing stock of the world”.
‘John Travolta had taken a salary of $10m, half what he usually took, but Miscavige wondered if the special effects would have been better and it would have been a success if he had taken nothing.
Flop: Mr Rathbun claims church leader David Miscavige was unhappy with a film called Battlefield Earth, based on the teachings of Scientology, and told Mr Rathbun to ‘get John’s a** in’
‘So I spent days looking into John’s life to work out what he was doing that was unethical and immoral, that would explain why he would commit such a terrible “crime against the church”.
‘I put him on an e-meter – which is one component of a lie detector, and I interrogated him.
‘There is a relief someone experiences when he confesses. It’s like the Catholic Church. When you use the meter you can really scrape the bottom of the barrel and get everything. Ultimately over time you own the guy you’re interrogating.’
By this stage Marty, now 56, was starting to question the church he had followed so faithfully for decades.
He claims violence was regularly used to keep followers in line and has gone on record saying he was attacked and imprisoned in a room, known as the ‘hole’ after he disobeyed orders and refused to give an insubordinate a black eye.
At that point, in 2004, he says he fled for good. Scientology have refuted this and claim he was dismissed for gross misconduct.
For five years he stayed under the radar, meeting Monique in 2005 and moving to Ingleside, Texas, specifically because it was a long way from Scientology’s two main US headquarters, in Los Angeles and Clearwater, Florida.
But in around 2009 he decided to set up a blog offering help to other, disaffected former members.
Targeted: Mr Rathbun said as soon as he spoke out about Scientology he and Monique were followed by the Squirrel Busters who he said shouted abuse and shoved cameras in their faces. The church claims the men were not ordered to do so, but were acting independently
Constant: Mr Rathbun said: ‘At home, we have had pizzas delivered
and locksmiths show up, after being called by someone impersonating us.
We have repeatedly received threatening phone calls’
He was soon contacted by a local paper which ended up writing a three-part series, chronicling his time in the church and making allegations of violence. That’s when he claimed the harassment started.
Harassed by the Squirrel Busters for 199 tortuous days
Marty claimed: ‘I spoke out about abuses within Scientology in 2009. Within days a whole litany of Scientology harassment started.’
Around that time, the Squirrel Busters – a squirrel was a term for a former member who had turned against the church – arrived in the Rathbun’s lives and didn’t leave for 199 days, said Marty.
Groups of men and women dressed in T-shirts with a picture of a squirrel’s body and Marty’s head besieged their house, shouting abuse and shoving cameras in their faces.
Scientology says the squirrel busters were acting independently.
Marty said: ‘They claimed they were there to film a documentary, but they were there to make our lives hell. In Scientology they will go after what you love and hold dear, that is why they went after Monique.’
In a declaration submitted to court this week Marty wrote: ‘Since speaking out about Defendant’s human rights abuses, they have followed Monique and me virtually everywhere we have traveled.
‘Our home has been under human and electronic surveillance for five years by defendants. Most people who have visited us have been harassed after, and even during, their visits.
‘Our phone records were stolen. Scientology operatives have twice hacked my computer, taken down my blog, and changed my passwords.
We’re watching: After moving to San Antonio, Texas, where they thought they would be able to live in privacy, they claim Scientology hired a retired police officer to move into the house behind them. Monique claims he started asking about their children and installed a human surveillance camera overlooking their home
Horror: Mr Rathbun said: ‘Finding that camera, that was it, we
literally talked about moving to the Congo. That’s when we went down the
legal route, as a last resort’
‘Scientology agents have stalked my wife and me in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Tampa, Clearwater Florida, Lake Livingston Texas, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Seattle, New Orleans, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.
‘We have been assaulted by Scientology agents in airports and restaurants, at the beach, and on my own property. I have been pelted by eggs from a speeding car while my wife and I were being tailed by Scientology agents.
‘At home, we have had pizzas delivered and locksmiths show up, after being called by someone impersonating us. We have repeatedly received threatening phone calls.
‘Defendants trained their agents to stand in my path in order to obstruct my passage, and draw contact for which to make trumped up assault and battery cases against me.
‘I am aware of thirteen different criminal complaints made against me by Scientology agents, all 13 of which were summarily rejected by law enforcement officials in Texas, Florida, and California.
‘My wife’s former husband, her father, her mother, and her co-workers and friends have been contacted on multiple occasions.
‘The investigators… have defamed me in a fashion designed to raise alarm and prompt Monique’s friends, coworkers and family to counsel Monique to leave me.
‘Defendants have published personal attacks upon my wife including racial slurs and invented allegations about our sex life.’
In her declaration Monique, a healthcare manager, states: ‘Scientology investigators have visited my mother, my father, my former husband, my friends, and my co-workers.
‘Presumably because I am a woman, the Defendants seem obsessed with my sexuality. They sent a sex toy to me at my workplace, which was very embarrassing. With their constant surveillance of me, they knew when I was away from the office, at which time they sent flowers to one of my female co-workers with a “romantic” message purporting to be from me.
‘Although I did not want to give in to the intense pressure, I felt trapped in a situation from which I had no choice but to resign – in order to try to relieve my anxiety and to try to relieve the false, yet shamefully embarrassing workplace conditions that were created by the defendants’ conduct.
‘As a result, I lost the steady income that my job afforded and that my husband and I needed. This only increased my anxiety as I wondered if we would be able to make it financially.’
Desperate: ‘We need to try to stop this, but I have no idea when Miscavige will allow that to happen’
In 2012 the couple moved to hill country, just north of San Antonio, Texas, but after a few weeks of relief, the nightmare started all over again.
Marty’s declaration states: ‘In early July I noticed a camera fifty yards from our property pointing at our home.
‘There was a sign near the camera noting that it was placed by a ‘volunteer’ of the Texas Wildlife Conservancy to monitor deer populations. I attempted to locate the Texas Wildlife Conservancy, and after some effort concluded such did not exist.
‘I dialed the telephone number of the volunteer which was on the sign beside the camera. The call was answered by a man identifying himself at Greg Sloat.
‘I learned from Mr Sloat that he was a ghostwriter who was given an advance to produce his own first novel. His publishing company had “put him up” on the five acre property behind our home which was owned by Steve Arvin of San Antonio.
‘A few days later Sloat came walking out from behind brush toward the back rock wall dividing our property. Sloat attempted to befriend me… he refused to identify the name of his publishing company, noting that “it is private”.
‘He inquired about my family and wanted to know about any children we might have. My wife was disturbed by the news Sloat was inquiring of children since we had only a couple of weeks earlier hosted a couple whose expected child we had agreed to adopt.
‘I then proceeded to more closely investigate the camera Mr Sloat had pointed at our property. Behind the camouflage encasement was a Reconyx 950 Hyper-fire, human surveillance and security camera.
‘A visit to the Reconyx website disclosed such cameras are not even offered with such camouflaged encasements. Suspicious by that time that defendants might be behind the mysterious Mr Sloat, I turned the cameras on/off switch to the ‘off’ position and put duct tape over the lens opening of the camera’s camo encasement. A few days later I noticed that the camera had been removed.’
He added: ‘Finding that camera, that was it, we literally talked about moving to the Congo. That’s when we went down the legal route, as a last resort. We need to try to stop this, but I have no idea when Miscavige will allow that to happen.’
David Miscavige, ‘an obsession with Marty and the Church’s Armageddon’
Miscavige is obsessed with me’, explained Marty. ‘He has appointed me as his nemesis, the devil he has to conquer. I actually think he is turning this law suit into Scientology’s Armageddon.
‘It’s a simple harassment case that basically says leave us alone, but they turn up to these low key hearings with 16 lawyers.
Nemesis: David Miscavige ‘has appointed me as his nemesis, the
devil he has to conquer. I actually think he is turning this law suit
into Scientology’s Armageddon’
‘He has had to go so over the top to keep some of these VIP’s on board after my disclosures, that he is committed to my destruction. He cannot afford to be discredited in front of people like John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
‘He is so vainglorious, image is everything. He has everything he wants with these A-Listers around him. A permanent order telling them to leave us alone, would damage his reputation, that’s why they are employing 16 lawyers on this.
‘I have lost faith in Miscavige ever calling this off, I cannot second guess what he going to do. He is so unpredictable.
‘Anyone with anything about them has left the church, there are nothing but sheep left. I believe Scientology is on the way out. It’s already dead in my opinion, I mean who’s getting into it?
‘They are buying all these buildings and saying it’s expanding, but people aren’t joining. They have the resources to keep it going for the time being, but I think it’s dying.
‘I believe we are witnessing it’s downfall. I think he has designated this simply little suit as Armageddon. Scientology is so constructed to expand the ranks by going against an enemy that it kind of has to end that way.’
Losing the faith
Even after leaving Scientology, Marty still upheld certain aspects of its teachings and tried to defend it. But now he has completely given up.
He said: ‘I spent three years methodically out lining what was good about Scientology, but how it was corrupted. I tried to differentiate between some of the core beliefs and the ends justifies the means, us versus them mentality, but I came to the conclusion that they are so interwoven, you can’t separate them.
‘Scientology insists you take it as one big body, so you can’t pick bits out. I spent years defending the belief, but I got hammered by Scientologists and realized that kind of behavior was part of the whole thing. Everything is absolutist and extremist, it is cold war mentality.
Duty: Mr Rathbun said: ‘People have spoken out because of me and
I can’t just fade into the background. I helped create this monster and
I have an obligation’
‘I am reading a book called Communist Mind Control. Part of my defending Scientology is one of the phases of coming out of it.
‘I was trying to justify all that time I had dedicated to Scientology because I couldn’t admit to myself that it had been wasted. But I am done with it now.
‘That said, I am not prepared to walk away, I can’t. I have helped hundreds if not thousands of people.
‘People have spoken out because of me and I can’t just fade into the background. I helped create this monster and I have an obligation.’
Scientology issued a statement about Mr Rathbun’s claims, saying: ‘His contentions have been hotly refuted under oath by more than two dozen witnesses with personal knowledge of the alleged incidents. ..the lawsuit filed in Texas is nothing more than a pathetic get-rich scheme cooked up by Rathbun, a self-admitted suborner of perjury who is now resorting to using his wife in an attempt to extort money from the Church.
‘At the same time that Rathbun has been waging his hate campaign, the Church is currently experiencing its greatest period of expansion ever with the opening of 38 new ideal Churches of Scientology in major metropolitan areas and cultural centers internationally and the opening last month of our new spiritual headquarters in Florida.
‘The Church also published a new Freedom Magazine that shows our new cathedral, all of which heralds a new era of explosive expansion for the Church.’