The Church of Scientology is the focus of new charges of potentially criminal wrongdoing in the death of a church member. A federal lawsuit details allegations that the Church spent millions to influence judges and lawyers to scuttle homicide allegations in the death of Lisa McPherson in 1995. The allegations of corrupt practices are directed at known judges and lawyers, including the lawyer for the coroner in the investigation into the death. The former number two of the Church says that he believes the Church spent at least $30 million to get criminal charges dropped.
McPherson died after being involved in a minor traffic accident. McPherson reportedly indicated at the time of the accident that she needed psychiatric help — a major taboo in the Church. Instead, she was allegedly taken to the Fort Harrison hotel for care by Scientologists. Seventeen days later she was pronounced dead. The family sued and demanded a criminal investigation. That led to a criminal charge against the Church for second degree felony for practicing medicine without a license as well as abuse of a disabled adult. However, the charges were dropped later after Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood changed the cause of death from unknown to accidental.
Then Marty Rathbun came forward with his disturbing allegations of corruption. Rathbun is the former second in command of Scientology. He claims that the Church spent millions to influence judges and politicians. He specifically details gifts to the Medical Examiner’s attorney, Jeff Goodis, to get him to help secure the change in the coroner’s cause of death. He also alleges ex parte communications with judges by Church lawyer and former prosecutor Lee Fugate.
Jeff Goodis denies the charges. The lawsuit also names judges such as Judge Robert Beach.
The alleged denial of psychiatric treatment is notable. Scientologists reject psychiatric treatment as a continuation of the opposition of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder. Hubbard, who critics charge had psychiatric problems, lashed out at psychiatrists as involving in a global conspiracy. He wrote:
Hubbard came to believe that psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack Scientology and create a “world government” run by psychiatrists on behalf of the USSR:
Our enemies are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains and they, oddly enough, run all the mental health groups in the world that had sprung up […]. Their apparent programme was to use mental health, which is to say psychiatric electric shock and pre-frontal lobotomy, to remove from their path any political dissenters […]. These fellows have gotten nearly every government in the world to owe them considerable quantities of money through various chicaneries and they control, of course, income tax, government finance — [Harold] Wilson, for instance, the current Premier of England, is totally involved with these fellows and talks about nothing else actually.
Putting aside such matters, there remains the serious allegations involving lawyers like Goodis. If the account of gifts is false, there would seem ample grounds for a defamation lawsuit since this is a per se category of defamation involving unethical professional conduct. The same is true for these judges. Rathbun says that a personal meeting was arranged between Goodis and Scientology head David Miscavige and that they used actor John Travolta in the effort to woo those involved in the investigation. Medical examiner Joan Wood is expressly accused of yielding to pressure through a relative in the testimony below of Rathbun. While in court statements are privileged under common law defamation, Rathbun appears to have given interviews which would not be privileged.
In the meantime, the lawsuit, if not dismissed, would allow for discovery that could prove problematic for the Church.
25 thoughts on “Former High-Ranking Scientology Official Accuses Florida Lawyers and Judges Of Accepting Gifts As Part of Effort to Drop Criminal Charges In Death of Church Member”
Are you blaming Darren and myself for insomnia …… Oh we’ll….. Ill accept the responsibility…..
“prophets”, it’s “prophets”. I enjoyed the comment Mike; it rhymes. Can’t place/find the meter but it’s a good start on a poem. Maybe. Just following links and definitions (Blame Darren, AY and insomnia!) it would appear that “prophet” and “profit” are homophonic heterographs: they sound alike (a Homophone), are spelled differently (a Hetrograph), and have different meanings.
Thus Spake: it’s Xenu. Different spelling, but your sense of it is correct.
DS: It doesn’t border on barratry, it is. Scientology uses any and every technique to silence critics, from “dirtying the victim” to copyright (they win on that one) to death threats. SLAPP is standard. While RICO would be schadenfreude, a deserved one, I think RICO is so abused it should go away.
BD: “I never quite got a connection between religion and science.” Using your A-Bomb reference, without the Holy Ghost reference (so many people were employed for the Manhattan Project I would expect it given it was the 1940s) we have Oppenheimer’s famous reference to Shiva through “I am become (Hindus have some wonderful verb tenses) Death, Destroyer of worlds.” The high-level physicists have a tendency to go Deist, whether metaphor or not, but not Theist. Einstein made reference and I’ve read lately that Hawking has done the same, though I think that was misreporting.
As for the Mormon bashing, just the other side of the 1960 coin. Really, look at religion anthropologically, it’ll keep your adrenal glands quiescent. It’s good for your health.
Idealist’s description is right on.
Has anyone seen the Phillip Seymour Hoffman flick. He is supposed to be superb as Hubbard, but the reviews I read were tepid on the film as a whole.
Scientology is not science, but it is a religion.
Most religions have the same characteristics: put up a belief that can not be falsified, demand acceptance to become one of a group, do as you are told in spite of common sense, and give us all you have and find others who will believe.
Scientology’s main “thing”: You will be “cleared” by us, we’re just not saying when. Meanwhile, be anxious, obedient and bring in more suckers.
Hell, these wackos didn’t even use their closer, Tom Cruise, on this one. They brought in their middle inning guy, John Travolta, for the save.
The $cientologists have a long history of abuse of process aginst critics that borders on barratry. Now, it seems they can be on the receiving end of a legal process that might do them some significan structural harm.
Gene and Mike are both right on the money. A RICO prosecution would be delicious. Prophet and profit, they are not homonyms. Their difference is as much as programme and program
If thy keep dumbing down America yes….. They will be the same….. Just like Capitol and Capital….. One depends on the other for existence…l
AY & Darren,
The difference between a mormon and a scientologist is the like the difference between a moron and a scatologist. There are many scatologists among us who never invoked God or Science and yet they continue to steal, bribe and inherit the earth. If you Google : Scatology you will see what I mean, jelly bean. Dogs believe in scatologists when they dont have leashes. Think about it. Dumb schmucks in Hollywood need such mindfaults to fall back upon.
Ooo, juicy. Next up: Mormons. They spend a LOT more money influencing, to use their term, evil.
A family member worked on the LM case — high level, LE, but I won’t name the agency. This person concluded that the death was anything but “accidental.”
It’s the “Daily Loaf”, but…
I never quite got a connection between religion and science. I know that some scientists who worked on the A Bomb believed in the Holy Ghost. But to have a religion purport to be based on science or to invoke the very word science is a bit odd. Take the founder Leroy Ron Hubbard and look at his background in the mental hospital before he floundered. He was beholden to a notion that science was religion and religion was science. The Earth is Flat. Prove it with religion. John Revolta lives in Hollywood, prove it with a map and science. They go together. L. Ron went to heaven on the same premise that Steve Jobs did and has, like Steve, tried to take his fortune with him to the promised land. The science of bribery takes a new dimension under all of the foregoing.
Good point Gene….
Haven’t profits and prophets become interchangeable these days?
Greed and religion is such an inspiring combination.
Oh what a tangled web is weaved by greedy prophets and their deceived.
Hope this does not stain science in the minds of those in the southern states that want to secede.
They think this is the religion of scientists.
Come home…. come home from the Planet Zenu….. you left your brains behind…..
Nobody involved in this wants it to go to discovery, but it may be too late for that.
That about sums it up.
And the acronym RICO.
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