April 10, 2015
Mr. Piers Vellacott
Raw TV Ltd.
Copied to: Suzy Jaffe, Henry Schlieff
We are instructed by the Church of Scientology International (‘the Church’) in relation to
your planned production “Dangerous Persuasions – “A Scientologist’s Escape” scheduled to be
broadcast on 15 April 2015.
We refer to our client’s email to you dated 9 April 2015, receipt of which was
acknowledged by you on 10 April, and its numerous attempts to contact you about your planned
production, both before and after the email was sent. Yet, inexplicably no one from your
company has returned our client’s calls. It is, therefore, that this firm has been
Our client’s current understanding of the relevant episode that you are producing is as
follows which is based on material on the internet:
"A man signs a contract with the Church of Scientology hoping it will cure his brother,
but he eventually sees the church's dark side."
"Rathbun will tell his complete story in his own words – including details not shared in
Going Clear – on the season 2 premiere of Investigation Discovery’s DANGEROUS PERSUASIONS on
Wednesday, April 15 at 10/9c. The series features stories of everyday people who fell under
the influence of a cult’s grasp."
Our client is dismayed that you should be proposing to include the claims of someone as
serially dishonest as Marty Rathbun. For a considerable period of time, Mr Rathbun has been
totally discredited in his unreliable accounts of the Church and its practices.
Mr Rathbun is at the centre of a cadre of anti-Scientologists and it may be relevant that
his wife is currently attempting to pursue a claim against the Church that alleges millions
of dollars in damages.
Mr Rathbun was removed in 2002 from any positions of authority where he worked in External
Affairs within the Church of Scientology for gross misconduct, malfeasance and failure to
fulfil his fiduciary responsibilities. Mr Rathbun then finally left the Church in 2004 after
working for many months in a Church woodworking mill and it was not until 5 years later, in
2009 that he started publicly to attack the Church through making one false claim after
another. These are a very few examples:
Mr Rathbun has made false allegations about abuse within the Church and those who he alleges were responsible for that abuse:
In 1998, Mr Rathbun told the St Petersburg Times, when questioned about
allegations of violence on the part of Mr David Miscavige, that he had never known Miscavige
in 20 years to hit anyone. Mr Rathbun is quoted as saying “That’s not his temperament”
and “He’s got enough personal horsepower that he doesn’t need to resort to things like
He switched his story entirely in 2009 in what he told the St Petersburg Times. This
time he claimed that Mr Miscavige had assaulted people;
Subsequently, Mr Rathbun’s lying was laid bare by ABC Nightline’s Martin
Bashir asked him “So were you lying then or are you lying now?”;
Mr Rathbun made similar false claims in March 2010 on CNN concerning Mr Miscavige.
Our client published a video documenting those lies, with voluminous evidence including
moving footage and still photographs, travel records, eye witnesses by the thousands and
government records. This documentary has never been challenged and can be found at “A
‘Beating Every Day’ While 10,000 Miles Away” www.freedommag.org/special-reports/cnn/video-a-beating-every-day.html
In July 2012 Mr Rathbun was challenged on his embellishments and overly dramatic
stories by a reporter for NBC in the following exchange, in which Mr Rathbun is left with no
answer and resorts to paraphrasing some film dialogue from Jack Nicholson (one of Mr
Rathbun’s favourite sources for quotes):
SNOW: This sounds like movie stuff. I’m sorry Marty. This sounds too complicated to
RATHBUN: Yeah, I know. Well, that's the way it is. I mean, I don't know what to tell
you. You know, can you handle the truth?
Mr Rathbun also claimed to CNN that he was not a violent man (despite our client’s
evidence to the contrary) and his own admissions of assaulting people. Further, since leaving
the Church Mr Rathbun has been arrested in New Orleans for public intoxication and disturbing
the peace (the police report mentioned he was harassing a tourist); cited by the Clearwater
Police for trespassing on Church property (he was acting obstreperously and was detained by
professional security); and arrested by the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Office for assault
causing bodily injury to a Scientologist;
Mr Rathbun has engaged in a series of offensive acts against Scientologists:
a) He spat at Scientologists as he rode by them on a bike;
b) He screamed obscenities at Scientologists while acting in a threatening manner;
c) He ripped the sunglasses off the face of a Scientologist, gouging the person in two
places in the forehead and drawing blood; and
d) He hosed a Scientologist in the face.
See http://www.freedommag.org/ hbo/videos/marty-rathbun.html
Mr Rathbun is on record having admitted to suborning perjury and giving instructions to destroy evidence in a legal case. This information was not known to the Church until Mr Rathbun admitted it years later to the St. Petersburg Times in 2009. For the first time ever it was revealed:
Mr Rathbun, in his own words, told how it was he who had ordered evidence be
destroyed: “I said, ‘lose ’em’ and walked out of the room,” adding that the decision
to destroy the records was his own: “ Nobody told me to do it and I did it.”
Mr Rathbun further justified his acts by claiming it was “the hand I was
dealt.” Specifically, that by the time he arrived on the scene, a colleague of Mr
Rathbun’s, Tom DeVocht, secretly had already forced the first witnesses to lie. Whereupon Mr
Rathbun and Mr DeVocht conspired to force all other witnesses to do the same — a secret they
would keep until their revelation to a newspaper reporter, in 2009, 14 years after the
Mr Rathbun provided false testimony about a United States Judge (Judge Robert Beach).
In December 2012, Mr Rathbun supported a Florida attorney in the attorney’s
attempt to avoid court sanctions for his misconduct in litigation against the Church.
Mr Rathbun provided a sworn statement containing false claims to the attorney of
Lisa McPherson’s estate, wrongly accusing the Church of maintaining an improper relationship
with the Florida Judge that had been assigned as a discovery referee in the McPherson
litigation. That judge executed an affidavit that the allegations made against him were
“totally false and malicious”. The judge testified that he has no social
relationship with the attorney in question, “our relationship has been strictly a
professional one. I have never socialized with him, had meals with him, private conversations
with him, traveled with him, never met him in bars (I do not drink) and we are not
Mr Rathbun was deposed — in effect, a witness statement to the Court under oath — for a
recent legal case, Garcia v Church of Scientology. We have a copy of the deposition
(and relevant extracts are enclosed) and, in it, Mr Rathbun testified that he knowingly
engaged in obstruction of justice and executed false declarations under penalty of perjury.
At page 58, Mr Rathbun testified:
Q. Did you lie under oath in declarations?
Q. Did you lie under oath in affidavits?
At page 97 he said:
Q. About how many false declarations do you think you filed then?
A. I have no idea. You guys have --
A. You guys have them right here in the -- in the thing. I -- I don’t -- I don’t think
Q. More than five?
A. I don’t know.
At page 252 he admitted:
Q. You thought it was in part false and in part true?
Q. And notwithstanding the fact that you believed it was in part false, you signed the
declaration under penalty of perjury?
Furthermore Mr Rathbun affirms statements in declarations he signed are false at pages
237, 278, 281-284 of the deposition.
Mr Rathbun is also a fabulist with an imagination unfettered by real facts. Mr Rathbun has
claimed that, while he was a member of the Church, his mind was “not his own”, that
he was being controlled by a “system” and that the entire religion is a
“cognitive dissonance” of the “ contradictory” teachings of L. Ron Hubbard
(pages 256-257, 60-61 and 188-189 of the deposition).
Furthermore, Mr Rathbun has a well-documented predilection for hyperbole, which he
employs to be as abusive and offensive as possible to leading figures in the Church such as
David Miscavige, who Mr Rathbun has described as being like “Stalin”,
“Hitler” and “Ayatollah Khomeini”.
On his blog, Mr Rathbun has compared the Church to Nazi Germany, referring to “David
Miscavige’s SS” and accusing Mr Miscavige of being Hitler and Church ministers of being
like Nazi SS. He has equated Mr Miscavige with the Mafia – “Miscavige has degenerated
into a full-time dramatization of his life-long goal of becoming an organized crime
boss”, he wrote on one occasion – and described the Church as being “Miscavige’s
organized crime racket”. Mr Rathbun has also claimed that the Church is “going the
route of Jim Jones of People’s Temple”, implying that the Church is planning a massacre
of its members akin to the Jonestown killings.
Mr Rathbun levelled further abuse and offence at Mr Miscavige in the deposition,
reiterating the above type references – see for example page 17.
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the above is that Mr Rathbun bears very
considerable animosity towards the Church. He has a plain axe to grind. Mr Rathbun has been
prepared repeatedly to lie, including under oath. It follows that he should not be relied on
when it comes to any claims about our clients or the religion of Scientology.
Furthermore, given the above, all claims by Mr Rathbun require to be properly and fully
fact checked. That you have not done this is clear from the fact that you have failed to
contact our client for its responses to Mr Rathbun’s claims and evidence that those claims
You are requested to send us by return details in relation to each claim he makes, and to
give our client a full and proper opportunity to respond to each of those claims.
You should be aware that this firm has experience of Mr Rathbun’s claims falling apart,
and it being impossible for them to be true, when he is pinned down to specific dates and
facts rather than vague generalities. Our client has a considerable amount of contemporaneous
records which may assist it to demonstrate the falsity of Mr Rathbun’s allegations or that
they are unlikely to be true. We make it clear that our client requires a proper and
reasonable opportunity to be able to demonstrate to you that Mr Rathbun’s current claims to
you are untrue and otherwise to comment on them, having received proper details of those
We repeat that Mr Rathbun’s allegations are false. We also observe that there is no public
interest in publishing false allegations.
Our client’s full rights are reserved, together with the rights of any of its members that
should be defamed and identifiable from any allegation that you should decide to include in
the film you are making. This includes to sue you and your company for defamation.