Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ex-Scientology Leader: I'm Being Watched ; Mark Rathbun Defected in 2004, Finds Suspicious Video Cameras

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Ex-Scientology Leader: I'm Being Watched ; Mark Rathbun Defected in 2004, Finds Suspicious Video Cameras

Article excerpt

INGLESIDE ON THE BAY, Texas - A former Church of Scientology official says he is being watched again - this time by surveillance cameras aimed through the blinds at a nearby house - and that he has photos to prove it. Mark "Marty" Rathbun defected from the church in 2004 in California and landed in this bay-side community hoping to put his life back together after enduring and participating in what he and other church critics say are abusive practices.

He now counsels other former church members, practices Scientology independently, and maintains a website where he continues to criticize the organized church and network with other defectors and church critics.

From April to October 2011, a group of Scientologists and hired, non-Scientologist crew members tracked Rathbun, regularly filming him, his wife and visitors at their home, even tracking his movements when he traveled in and out of Texas. They claimed to be making a documentary but never produced the film.

Neighbors, law enforcement and a cameraman who eventually left the group said their activities amounted to little more than a thinly veiled harassment campaign.

Rathbun attributed the unwanted attention to the church and its leader, David Miscavige. Rathbun was a top Miscavige lieutenant before he fled the church. The church has denied stalking or harassing Rathbun but admits hiring private investigators through attorneys. Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw said in an email the church is trying to cut ties with anyone associated with Rathbun.

A lawsuit filed Sept. 20 by two private investigators asserts they worked directly for the church for decades, receiving lucrative monthly payments to track church defectors and opponents, including a man who claimed he - not Miscavige - was the rightful successor to L. Ron Hubbard, the science-fiction writer who founded Scientology and died in 1986.

Private investigators Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold also claimed to surveil Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, a former drug company executive, after he made disparaging comments about the church because of its opposition to psychiatric drugs.

The men's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, said his clients dedicated 25 years to covert investigations for the church, but that recently, the church suddenly cut them off, violating a verbal contract. …

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