UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 21, 2009

FLORIDA PAPER DOES MAJOR STORY ON SCIENTOLOGY

St Petersburg Times - Mark C. "Marty" Rathbun left the Church of Scientology staff in late 2004, ending a 27-year career that saw him rise to be a top lieutenant in the organization. For the past four years, he has lived a low-profile life in Texas. Some speculated he had died.

In February, Rathbun posted an Internet message announcing he was available to counsel other disaffected Scientologists. "Having dug myself out of the dark pit where many who leave the church land," he wrote, "I began lending a hand to others similarly situated."

Contacted by the St. Petersburg Times, Rathbun agreed to tell the story of his years in Scientology and what led to his leaving. The Times interviewed him at his home in Texas, and he came to Clearwater to revisit some of the scenes he described.

Seeking to corroborate Rathbun's story, the newspaper contacted others who were in Scientology during the same period and have left the church: Mike Rinder, one of Rathbun's closest associates for two decades; Tom De Vocht, who Rathbun named as key to his decision to leave; and later, Amy Scobee.

Rathbun and Rinder were well known to the reporters, who had interviewed them dozens of times, sometimes combatively, through years of controversy in Clearwater. . .

Two reporters met Rinder in Denver, where he now lives, but he declined to be interviewed. About a month later, two Washington-based lawyers who work for the church showed up unannounced in Denver, informed Rinder that they had heard about the newspaper's visit and asked what he had revealed.

They reminded him that as one of the church's top legal officers, attorney-client privilege did not end when he left the church. They told him he could hurt the church by going public.

Weeks later, after the church provided the newspaper with a 2007 video of Rinder heatedly denying that [Scientology leader David] Miscavige hit him and others, Rinder decided to talk to the Times. . .

The reporters interviewed the four defectors multiple times, and met with church spokesmen and lawyers for 25 hours.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Scientologists are easy targets. Nobody likes them. When a major daily takes on AIPAC/questions the US's devotion to Israel I'll be impressed.

June 21, 2009 9:33 PM  

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