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We asked Marc Headley about NXIVM’s Allison Mack using his Scientology lawsuit as a defense

[Marc Headley and Allison Mack]

[NOTE: For coverage of the stabbing at a Scientology facility in Australia, please see the story we posted last night.]

Last week, the New York Post discovered in a court filing that Allison Mack’s attorneys had cited a dismissed lawsuit against Scientology in their defense of the Smallville actress.

The news blew up over the weekend, with headlines like “Allison Mack’s Lawyers Use Scientology to Prove It’s Not a Crime to Blackmail People” and “Allison Mack offers novel ‘Scientology did it first’ defense to counter all those sex cult allegations.”

It was a laugh riot.

Mack is facing 15 years in prison for allegations that she helped to secure sex slaves for Keith Raniere, the leader of the “NXIVM” movement, as part of a special all-woman branch known as “DOS.”


“As a pre-condition to joining DOS, women were required to provide ‘collateral,’ which included highly damaging information about friends and family members, nude photographs and/or rights to the recruit’s assets,” the DOJ said when it unsealed its indictment against Mack in April. “According to court filings, Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves, including Jane Does 1 and 2, as identified in the Indictment, to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. In exchange for this, Mack received financial and other benefits from Raniere. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 believed that if they did not participate in those activities with Raniere, their collateral would be released.”

Among the charges Mack is facing is the allegation that her use of blackmail to convince women to sleep with Raniere amounted to “forced labor” under US criminal trafficking statutes.

But in their motion, filed in November, Mack’s attorneys said that none of that “collateral” had ever been released, and even if it had, the worst thing these women faced was some embarrassment in the short term. They argued that the women didn’t face “serious harm” in Raniere and Mack’s scheme, and so therefore it didn’t meet the requirements of the law regarding forced labor.

To bolster their case, they cited the 2009 lawsuit filed by Marc and Claire Headley against the Church of Scientology. The Headleys alleged that as Sea Org members at Scientology’s “Int Base” near Hemet, California, they had been subjected to horrific treatment while they were paid almost nothing in what amounted to indentured servitude. But their lawsuit was dismissed and it was upheld by the Ninth Circuit, which found that the Headleys, as badly as they were treated, had the ability to leave, and so they didn’t meet the “serious harm” standard.

“The court emphasized that the plaintiffs joined and voluntarily worked for Sea Org because they believed it was the right thing to do,” Mack’s attorneys said in its court filing that cited the Headley case.

Allison Mack’s victims, in other words, didn’t face “serious harm” because they knew what they were getting into.

Yeah, no wonder the media howled over that one.

But how about the Headleys? How did they feel about being pulled into the Mack defense?

“I think this is an excellent example of how Scientology’s ‘win’ against us is now backfiring on them again,” Marc tells us. “Scientology is now in the news again because of another cult that is hiding behind Scientology’s legal ‘victory’.”

Headley also saw the humor in linking Scientology to Mack’s specific allegations.

“It is kind of ironic that a cult with sex slaves ends up hiding behind Scientology’s legal precedents,” he says. “For anyone who has read my book, Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology, you know that [Scientology leader] David Miscavige has a thing for finding out about the sex lives of Scientologists and specifically Sea Org members, which they confess to in auditing sessions. He would often disclose the content of these confessions in meetings with others while the person he was talking about was in attendance.

“Birds of a feather and all that. A song by Soft Cell comes to mind now when I think of Miscavige.”


Marty Rathbun at Miscavige’s beck and call

We told you yesterday that Scientology had, right on schedule, posted a swipe at this week’s guests on Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath, former church members Bert Schippers and Paul Burkhart.

We were so focused on those smears that we only later took a close look at the new video the church posted on the same page. It’s another attack on Mike Rinder with the usual drama about the time in 2010 when his ex-wife Cathy Bernardini and several other people ambushed him in a Florida parking lot, there was a scuffle, Bernardini was injured, and the police found that any injury had resulted from “incidental contact” in the confusing scrum. With nothing else they can throw at him, Scientology tries to convince people that Bernardini’s injured arm is proof that Rinder is a “wife-beater” and that A&E should fire him. Every time they tell it, the story gets worse and worse, and this time they actually filmed a re-creation with blood streaming down an actresses’s arm.

In other words, it’s the usual Scientology nonsense that is so patently overhyped and ridiculous, absolutely no one will pay it any mind.

However, what did interest us is that Mark “Marty” Rathbun was trotted out to take a swipe at his old friend Rinder and at Leah Remini. And although it looks and sounds just like the same sad litany of smears that Rathbun has been putting out for three years now, we think this is actually a small bit of new material.

In the video, Rinder is ridiculed for being seen to nod his head in agreement with Remini — the church even fashioned a bobblehead toy of Rinder to make the point — and Rathbun obliges in his short segment:

He’s saying less and less, and just sagely nodding and confirming what Leah Remini’s saying. And of course Leah Remini’s in no position of expertise on these things she’s talking about. And so she’ll just create facts, and Mike Rinder will acknowledge it and say, ‘Exactly right, Leah,’ or ‘Absolutely, I agree with you a hundred percent,’ or simply nod…

Rinder, who knows everything he’s saying is absolute, unadulterated bullshit, right? And how do I know that Mike Rinder knows that it’s absolute and unadulterated bullshit? From Mike Rinder himself.

Well, we’re no longer surprised at how far Rathbun has fallen after his career as a Scientology rebel. But we still can’t help wondering what Rathbun gets out of the bargain as he jumps into his suit for the cameras when Miscavige needs him to bark like a seal.


Start making your plans!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Conan O’Brien to Danny Masterson in ’04, after rape claim was settled: ‘I’ve heard about you’
[TWO years ago] ‘Leah Remini’: Aaron Smith-Levin on how families get so screwed up in Scientology
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s state of the union, 2016: Former spokesman Mike Rinder predicts ‘more pain’
[FOUR years ago] Jon Atack: What it’s like for the Scientologist who gives up the dream of being superhuman
[FIVE years ago] Another Scientology video you aren’t supposed to see: ‘The Command of Theta’
[SEVEN years ago] Panic: Former Scientology executive dares to question church management


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,318 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,449 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,951 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,431 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 494 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 382 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,689 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,557 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,331 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,105 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,451 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,017 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,937 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,104 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,685 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,945 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,985 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,697 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,223 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,312 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,452 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,772 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,628 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,747 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,103 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,405 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,511 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,914 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,785 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,368 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,863 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,117 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,226 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 3, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

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Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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