Monique Rathbun has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Church of Scientology’s controlling entities and its leader David Miscavige for years of harassment she alleges have caused her serious harm since her husband, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, went public in 2009 with information about his life as a top executive in the church.
On Friday, the Comal County, Texas district court granted Monique a temporary restraining order, calling on Scientology to stop following her and electronically surveilling her. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday whether to convert the restraining order into a temporary injunction, but Monique’s attorney, Ray Jeffrey, tells us he thinks the matter will likely be delayed about two weeks.
After four years of intense harassment, Monique is battling back, Jeffrey tells us, and they expect this to be a brutal fight.
Marty Rathbun was once the second-highest official in Scientology, but he defected in 2004 and then vanished. He moved to South Texas and was so under the radar, there were Internet rumors that he had died. During that time, however, he met and began dating Monique Carle, who is also called Mosey. In 2009, Marty resurfaced in a big way with a blog that was highly critical of Scientology leader David Miscavige. As we’ve written many times before, Rathbun’s blog became perhaps the single biggest threat to Miscavige’s leadership of the church and helped propel Scientology into a major crisis that still grips the 60-year-old church.
Known for retaliating against former members, Scientology then sent waves of private investigators and goon squads to South Texas to surveil and harass the Rathbuns in their Ingleside on the Bay home.
Marty and Mosey were married on July 3, 2010, but by late 2012 they had tired of the surveillance, and moved to a house with more privacy near San Antonio.
Monique’s attorney, Ray Jeffrey, tells us that if the church had stopped its activities at that point, Monique would not have filed a lawsuit. But even in their new, quieter home, the church has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Rathbuns under surveillance. So now, he says, Monique is suing for the entire four years of harassment.
Monique is suing on grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference of her employment contract, and invasion of privacy. Says the complaint…
The Defendants have worked around the clock for three years to destroy Mrs. Rathbun. She has been harassed, insulted, surveilled, photographed, videotaped, defamed, and humiliated to such a degree as to shock the conscience of any decent, law-abiding person. She has been subjected to numerous, aggressive attempts to intimidate her. Each and all of the Defendants have participated enthusiastically in this abuse, without regard to Mrs. Rathbun’s basic rights as a human being. She has been targeted at home, at work, and anywhere else that she happens to be.
Attached to the complaint is Monique’s own affidavit, which details some of the things she has endured even though, she points out, she was never a member of the Church of Scientology and has never spoken out about the church itself, only the harassment she’s endured…
From 2010 to the present, the Scientologists have targeted me specifically for harassment. They have worked to drive a wedge between me and my husband, family, and co-workers. Scientology investigators have visited my mother, my father, my former husband, my friends, and my co-workers. The investigators have falsely claimed to all of these contacts that my life is at risk as long as I remain with my husband. These malicious allegations are hateful and distressing.
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. Of course this was distressing to me.
Scientology websites have published bizarre and sometimes vile allegations against me, including false claims that I am a sexual pervert. They have even alleged that I am not even a woman, but a man who has had a secret sex-change operation. So, I have even had my womanhood questioned as part of this sick campaign to inflict maximum emotional distress on me.
“How does any decent human being come up with that?” Jeffrey says, referring to the flower delivery and the material on the smear websites.
Jeffrey has previously litigated several cases against the church, and reportedly won large settlements for former church executive Debbie Cook and former church private eyes Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, whom we profiled when they visited the Rathbuns at their Ingleside on the Bay home, near Corpus Christi, last September.
“They loved that house down there, but they had to leave. And if the church had left them alone Monique wouldn’t have sued,” Jeffrey tells us.
But after the Rathbuns settled into their new home, unusual things started to happen.
The adjacent parcel of land, for example, was undeveloped. But suddenly, someone showed up there, Jeffrey says, and began clearing land.
Marty, he says, approached the man to ask him who he was. The man gave the name “Greg Sloat” and said he was a writer, an author, and that his publisher had rented the land as a quiet place for him to write.
“It was overgrown. It had no water, no electricity,” Jeffrey tells us. “The guy said he was bringing in an RV. But it’s completely remote, not in a subdivision, there was no street address. It wasn’t for sale and it wasn’t for rent. The only way they got that property was by looking at a map to find out what was next to Marty’s house.”
Jeffrey says the land was leased for two years, with cash paid up front.
“Some publishing company is not finding a property like that in Texas for one of its writers,” he says. “We looked into it, and he’s actually Steven Gregory Sloat. He has published some kind of Tom Clancy-style thriller. But he told Marty that he hadn’t published anything in his name and said he was a ‘packager,’ someone who started a project and then turned it over for more famous names to finish.”
After Sloat arrived, high-tech cameras were suddenly installed in trees overlooking the Rathbun residence with a sign claiming that they were placed there for the Texas Wildlife Conservancy — which doesn’t exist, Jeffrey says.
“The cameras are not game cameras, they’re high tech human surveillance cameras,” he adds. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Monique. Cameras pointed at her driveway, watching who comes and goes.”
After the Rathbuns began making inquiries, Jeffrey says, Sloat suddenly disappeared, claiming in a voice mail that his publisher had moved up his deadline.
Another neighbor realized that the cameras had been put on trees that were actually on his property, and the cameras have now come down. But the local power company did show up to bring electricity to the Sloat property, Jeffrey says.
“And Marty and Monique are still being followed around by private investigators,” he adds. “I don’t understand the fascination for the Rathbuns by the church. They have to be spending ridiculous amounts money on this stuff.”
We asked him what outcome they were aiming for in the lawsuit.
“We want to get it to a jury, have a permanent injunction in place to leave them alone, and award them a large sum of money to make an example of Scientology and teach them that they can’t do this anymore,” he says. “Monique has never been a member of the Church of Scientology. She hasn’t been an ‘enemy’ of the church. It’s inexcusable that they would harass her mercilessly as they have.”
Sloat has been named as a defendant in the lawsuit as has Monty Drake, a Dallas private investigator who the Rathbuns allege was involved in leasing a home near theirs in Ingleside on the Bay and was used to surveil them. The suit also names two of Scientology’s top entities — the Church of Scientology International and the Religious Technology Center — and the RTC’s chairman of the board, David Miscavige, who is the leader of the church.
The temporary restraining order puts several restrictions in place, at least until Tuesday. Here’s the list of activities that have been prohibited…
1. Electronic or personal surveillance of Mrs. Rathbun’s home, her workplace, or her public activities.
2. Making threats to Mrs. Rathbun in person or by telephone or electronic means.
3. Following, pursuing, stalking, or “tailing” Mrs. Rathbun.
4. Contacting or harassing Mrs. Rathbun’s employer, her co-workers, her family members, or her friends.
“I think it’s interesting that I haven’t heard anything from the church yet,” Jeffrey tells us.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, but Jeffrey says he was told the court will have limited time that day. Since Jeffrey estimates that a hearing on a temporary injunction would last two days, he predicts that the temporary restraining order will be extended and a new date set.
If the temporary injunction is granted, it would stay in place until a trial or until the case is dismissed or settled or otherwise adjudicated.
“I predict it’s going to a be a long fight,” Jeffrey says.
Here’s the complaint…
Posted by Tony Ortega on August 21, 2013 at 13:00
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