Scientology has long been accused of thuggish treatment by former members who say that they are followed and harassed if they go public with disclosures about the church. The latest such accusation comes from Monique Rathbun, wife of former high-ranking church member Marty Rathbun. She alleges that the Church set up a surveillance system next to their home and followed the couple when they tried to find a remote hideaway from the church. What is different is that she claims to have pictures of the Scientology operatives responsible for the harassment. Rathbun filed her lawsuit in Texas and detailed how the Church maintains a group that it calls “squirrel busters” who track down and harass former scientologists.
C. “Marty” Rathbun is a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology and once held the position of Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center (RTC). That is one of the highest positions in the organization and is responsible for the protection and enforcement of all Dianetics and Scientology copyrights and trademarks. He previously made headlines by stating that Scientology leader David Miscavige ordered him to secretly videotape the auditing sessions of Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise.
Monique Rathbun claims that the couple was followed and harassed by the Church so they decided to buy a home in a remote area surrounded by woods. They claim that the Church then bought a 5-acre plot along their property and set up powerful surveillance cameras disguised as deer movement cameras used by hunters. What is most interesting that that the couple reportedly has photos of the “squirrel busters” wearing T-shirts bearing Rathbun’s face and filming the couple. She was previously granted a restraining order against the Church. The allegations would raise some interesting issues of intrusion upon seclusion and a comparison to Nader v. General Motors Corp., where Ralph Nader was able to show that GM hired detectives to follow him closely. One such instance involved looking over his shoulder at banks to read his bank slips, which was found to be an intrusion upon seclusion even though it was a public place.
The lawsuit claims that the squirrel busters “harassed, insulted, surveilled, photographed, videotaped, defamed and humiliated” the couple. They already have one big victory. Texas Judge Dib Waldrip has reportedly ordered the deposition of Scientology leader David Miscavige. However, the church indicated that it was secured a stay pending appeal on the basis that Miscavige is an “ecclesiastical leader” who should not be subject to deposition in the case. The church has also denounced the lawsuit as a “transparent get-rich-quick scheme.”
Below is a bizarre video where the alleged squirrel busters are features on anti-Scientology sites (Rathbun appears to call himself an independent Scientologist):
Source: Page Six