Lawyers representing the Church of Scientology pocket millions by helping it achieve its ends. Perjury, victim-blaming, obstructing justice–it appears that any tactic is perfectly acceptable in the defense of Scientology.
Five years after Kyle’s death, an interesting story was reported by WTSP News in Tampa. On November 9, 2012, Mark C. Rathbun—Scientology’s former number-two man—gave sworn testimony accusing Clearwater-area judges and lawyers of criminal wrongdoing regarding another Scientology-related lawsuit. Rathbun says the Church hired another attorney, former prosecutor Lee Fugate, to have illegal Ex parte meetings with judges involved in the case.
Involvement in-obstruction of justice and criminality in the investigative and court proceedings of and relating to Kyle Brennan and Lisa McPherson.
Statement of Mark C. Rathbun, a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology.
Federal Suit; Scientologist spent $ 30 mil to cover death
Tampa, Florida — Blockbuster charges in a Federal Suit involving the Church of Scientology. It involves accusations of impropriety and some of the most respected members of the judiciary and legal profession.
The allegations are coming from the former number-two man in the organization, and involve what he says is a multi-million dollar cover-up of the death of a woman in Scientology care.
The woman at the center of it all is Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 after being involved in a minor traffic accident.
At the time of the accident, McPherson who was a Church of Scientology member said she needed psychiatric help. Instead, the church members took her to the Ft. Harrison Hotel to care for her.
Just 17 days later, Lisa McPherson was dead.
McPherson’s death spawned emotional protests near Scientology headquarters in Downtown Clearwater, a lawsuit from her family- as some charged they let her die and watched her die- and criminal prosecution from the Pinellas State Attorney’s office.
The Church was charged with a second-degree felony for practicing medicine without a license, and abuse of a disabled adult.
However, the charges were dropped after Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood changed the cause of death from unknown to accidental.
Marty Rathbun, the former number-two man in Scientology, alleges that the organization showered gifts on the Medical Examiner’s attorney, Jeff Goodis, to influence her to change the cause of death.
Once that happened, the criminal case fell apart.
In addition, Rathbun says the Church hired another attorney, former prosecutor Lee Fugate, to have illegal Ex parte meetings with judges involved in the case.
Rathbun says, “Listen. Lee Fugate, his value was to schmooze. As a matter of fact, that’s what David Miscavige and myself used to say. Let’s get Lee to schmooze; let’s get Lee to schmooze.”
In the suit, Rathbun contends the Church of Scientology spent at least $30 million to get the charges dropped, and mitigates the damages in the civil suit.
Jeff Goodis denies the charges and Attorney Lee Fugate says he can’t comment on a federal suit, but it would be shocking to believe that some of Pinellas’ top judges could be involved in an illegal activity like this.
However, Ken Dandar, the attorney who represented McPherson’s family against the church, says, “Maybe Mr. Rathbun doesn’t know what he is talking about, and maybe it’s all his imagination. I don’t think so…”
Dandar says the organization has come after him. He says attorney Wally Pope and Judge Robert Beach have illegally claimed the settlement papers in the McPherson case.
Papers that included what’s called a “practice restriction” so Dandar could never sue Scientology again.
Dandar adds,” If what I’ve been told is correct, I will go after the people who have corrupted the system, and I will go after the members of the system that have been corrupted.”
We couldn’t reach Judge Robert Beach or any other of the Judges named in the lawsuit.
Attorney Wally Pope told us he wouldn’t comment to the media and no one from the Church of Scientology returned our calls.
But, late Friday, Pope filed a lawsuit on behalf of Scientology to have all of Marty Rathbun’s testimony thrown out.
There is an emergency in Federal Court Monday.
- Before entering private practice, Lee served as a state prosecutor in Florida. In that position, he was involved in trials dealing with complex public corruption, racketeering, and complex narcotics smuggling cases.
- Defended a federal wrongful death action against parishioners of a religious organization in which summary judgment was entered for the defendants.
Tom Brennan, at the time of Kyle’s death, was employed by the mega-wealthy Church of Scientology. His title was “Director of Public Book Sales.” Brennan’s salary for this illustrious-sounding position ranged between twenty and thirty dollars per week. He supplemented these meager Scientology-slave wages by working at various menial jobs. Brennan hawked rugs alongside a Florida interstate highway, and he also worked as a handyman for Gerald and Denise Miscavige Gentile. Under Denise’s direction, Brennan mowed the Gentile lawn, shopped for the family groceries, and made various repairs to one of the “news-worthy” Pinellas County rental properties owned by Gerald. (Why was this particular property “news-worthy”? According to a front-page piece published by the Tampa Bay Tribune, Denise Miscavige Gentile, in an act of charitable kindness, had been accepting from down-on-their-luck tenants marijuana cigarettes in lieu of rent.)
Scientology leader David Miscavige’s twin sister faces marijuana charges-Tampa Bay Times article by Joe Childs, Times Staff Writer, June 12, 2013
Statement of Mark C. Rathbun, former senior executive of the Church of Scientology.
Excerpt from deposition of Stephen McNamara
Excerpt from Mark C. Rathbun Deposition