Those Who Knew Them Best

Those Who Knew Them Best

“There are, of course, the women they walked out on—Rathbun after 15 years of marriage, Rinder after 35 years of marriage and DeVocht after 20 years of marriage. And their former spouses have a bit to say.”

— Tommy Davis, May 28, 2009

“Our strong preference is to talk to them in person.”

— Joe Childs, June 2, 2009

Among the Scientology executives who flew to Clearwater to speak to Times reporters Childs and Tobin were the former wives of their “sources.” Two of these women had also served as their husbands’ bosses within the organization. Thereby, they were uniquely qualified to speak about them both professionally and personally and accurately portray the chasm between the truth they lived and what their ex-husbands now claim.

The following excerpts are drawn from the statements made to Childs and Tobin on June 19, 2009.

The total number of words in those statements: 17,109.

The total number quoted in the Times three-part series: 14.

Anne Joasem

(former wife of Marty Rathbun)

“I was married to him for 15 years.

“I know what makes him tick and this guy lives for war and fighting. He told me so himself, many times. That’s what he likes doing, that’s what he does. He doesn’t know how to do anything else, to be honest.

“You want to know why he first left in 1993 after the IRS tax-exemption decision?  He left because the war was over. He had no more war, and that’s what he does.

“His ‘toughness’ was actually a very destructive part of his character and very destructive to the organization. Anybody that threatened him, or opposed him in some way, he would, in his words, ‘take out.’

“I heard the allegations he made as to why he left again at that point, that’s early 2004, and I heard he said he had witnessed Tom DeVocht getting beaten up or something like that. Look, he called me within hours of taking off. I was the first person he called. He never said anything about this. Never brought it up. He would have said something if that’s why he left. What he did tell me, and that I am quoting, he said ‘I am a warrior, I am a mercenary, I am a fighter, that’s what I have always been, that’s what I am always going to be.’ He said the Church is entering a phase of massive expansion and because of this expansion, the Church is going to become a threat, and there is going to be attacks and at that point, we will need him and he will come back to take care of these things.

“These statements are a little bit over the edge and we were like, OK, there is something wrong with this guy. Also, he has got a family history of these kinds of problems. So we were a little bit worried. It runs in the family.

“So, Mr. Miscavige was concerned and for the second time arranged a full program for him. He had me set up this whole program of medical, we had the best specialist we could find on handling his varicose veins. We did a gall bladder handling. We did chiropractic handlings, dental handlings. Everything you can think of. We checked a colonoscopy, the whole nine yards. Nutritional program. I said, do you want to work at the Mill or do you want to work at Flag? He said, ‘I will work at the Mill.’ I said, ‘Good, work at the Mill.’ Five hours a day, that’s it. He could do whatever he wanted the rest of the time, sleep as long as he needed, vitamins; I mean, I took care of everything.

“No pressures for nine months. He could do whatever he wanted the rest of the time. At the end of those nine months or after his medical was under control, he was doing quite well. ‘What are you going to do?’  I asked him many times, because he wouldn’t come up with anything. And that’s when he threatened me physically, in my face.

“I got scared. And I had good reasons to be scared because I had seen him right after a phone call with Tom DeVocht where he got mad at him for some reason or another, put his fist through a computer screen and shattered it, completely. He just flipped. So, I was actually concerned for my safety and I moved apartments at that point and locked my door.

“He left shortly thereafter.”

Cathy Bernardini

(former wife of Mike Rinder)

“I was married to him for almost 35 years.

“Over the years, he has told me so many times about various actions Mr. Miscavige has extended to him and that he was just blown away with because he knew that David Miscavige really cared about him and really did. And he did.

“In January 2004 when Marty Rathbun beat him up, I thought he was going to kill Mike and I was hysterical. Mike had cuts on his ears and face, his lips were swollen, his face was bruised, he had bruises on his chest. He was a mess. Those injuries lasted for days. It was a nightmare.

“In January 2004, when Marty Rathbun beat him…now I was there, I worked in the building, I was at that meeting.

“Marty literally lunged at Mike and just started beating the hell out of him, got him to the ground, put his entire body on top of Mike's chest and then started strangling him.  Mike turned purple. I was hysterical. He’s turning purple. This guy’s nuts, he’s insane. I literally thought he was going to kill my husband and I was upset. One other thing is, that wasn’t the first time.

“So it is a bit uncanny that I heard something like Mike saying he and Marty had been best friends for years. He told me that he hated Marty.

“After Mike walked out, which was in June 2007—10th of June, I didn’t hear from him for weeks. And in July, I think it was July 1 or 2, an email arrived from Mike giving [his] location, which is the first time I even knew where he was. He was in the UK at the time he left. In that email, he summonsed me to join him. Now we have two kids, he didn’t mention the children and just summonsed me, as you would, or however, that I was to join him—and frankly, maybe he just deserted his religion, his church, his position of trust, but me, no never. I said no, and I don’t think he liked that.

“He just walked out. It’s not something people do, it was very emotional to deal with.”

Jenny Linson

(former wife of Tom DeVocht)

“I was married to him for almost 20 years, from 1986 until he left the Church in 2005.

“I have also been his indirect boss most of the time since 1996, so I am talking about him as a member of the organization as well as a husband.

“He was taken off post three or four times because of his negligence and, frankly, his incompetence. When Tom was construction manager on large projects, he started signing contracts with no authority financially and way beyond budget. He was extremely out of control and bills started coming in and it was a real mess. He told me that a project was out of control and he was worried about it. ‘I’m not telling anybody about it and I certainly don’t want Chairman of the Board to know anything about it.’ 

“He created so many expensive disasters, he had to be taken off the projects entirely. In 2005 he was told, ‘You’re out of control. You cannot be in these positions anymore,’ and at that point he decided to take off. And then he left without a word to me. Where I come from, you don’t just walk out on your wife without saying anything.

“On a personal level, he spent my money, too—he spent my inheritance. While I was away on projects, he sold my BMW and my Honda del Sol and spent the money.

“Now, after he left, I found out that on our wedding day he stole the money my grandmother had given us as a wedding gift for our honeymoon.”