Mike Rinder is a former executive of the Church of Scientology who was...
The Violence of Marty Rathbun & His Cult Militia
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Other times, his features contorted, Rathbun is slamming a car door on an investigative reporter, knocking him down with a packed suitcase, and, gouging welts on the face of a documentary filmmaker.
And - on even other occasions - he's drunk and trying to storm his way past a Bourbon Street bouncer, or, being cited for trespassing after butting into a security guard.
To the casual observer Rathbun's violence seems to erupt from nowhere - always unprovoked.
But to the practiced eye, to those who know Marty Rathbun, there is a dark pattern to his psychotic behavior. Just as there exists a pattern to other religious militia cults whose members usually endorse violence while billing themselves as "soldiers" in pursuit of some unseen enemy.
"Rathbun is a classic bully and a coward," says a source who knows him well. "He has a repeated history of being violent and he always blames it on the people he victimizes."
The source explained how the rage boils up - and over - in Rathbun:
"You can see him slowly burn as he puffs up his chest and his eyes start to roll back in his head," the source said. "When those eyes start to go, that's when Rathbun goes physical."
And, just over the span of the last two years, Rathbun or one of his cult surrogates has done precisely that - "going physical" on 13 separate occasions on a violence-filled spree that has crisscrossed the country.
Rathbun is the subject of a criminal investigation in California, has been arrested in Texas, has spent the night in a New Orleans holding cell, and, has been cited for trespassing in Florida.
The cult and militia leader wrote his own travelogue of terror that included:
THREATENING AND BUTTING
April 2010: In what would become a signature Rathbun moment, the disgraced anti-Scientologist and his partner in crime, fellow apostate Mike Rinder, turned up at the Church's Fort Harrison Hotel.
The purpose of the visit was as pathetic as was it cruel - the duo came with video equipment to film Rinder in a vain and craven attempt to see the son he had neglected for the past 3 years, who worked at the hotel. That son, Benjamin, was recuperating after cancer treatment and had no intention of seeing his father, partly because Rinder had been living a half-hour's drive away for the past nine months and had never been in contact with him when he was in the hospital at the height of his cancer battle.
Establishing what would soon become a pattern, Rathbun - a toothpick dangling out of his mouth - took the lead and immediately lashed into security guard Grady Snyder. Butting his thrust-out chest into Snyder, Rathbun was at his most brutish as he wagged his finger while yelling in the guard's face: "Show me the line, boy."
The derogatory and patently offensive use of the term "boy" would not be Rathbun's last.
Only the quick arrival of the Clearwater Police Department stopped Snyder from having to defend himself against the threatening Rathbun who, along with Rinder, was cited for trespassing.
The incident at the Fort Harrison Hotel was, for Rathbun and Rinder, the first of many run-ins with the police.
BUMPING AND STRIKING
May 2010: It was a chance encounter at an airport with a former associate that set Rathbun into his next paroxysm of rage.
The camera catches Rathbun's face in the throes of a dark fury - the skin is stretched taut, the teeth are clenched. Rathbun has lost any last grip on rationality as he repeatedly bumps and pokes the former associate, screaming at him all the while.
Luckily, as is often the case with a bully, Rathbun - who had started the confrontation - backed off.
And, why? For what reason did Rathbun explode?
Simply because the former associate had the temerity to inquire about Rathbun's current activities.
BUSTED IN NEW ORLEANS
July 2010: In a classic escalation of violence, Rathbun had his second encounter with police in less than three months.
The scene was a dank and seedy bar on the corner of Toulouse and Bourbon Streets in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans.
This was the foul-smelling pig sty of a bar - called the Funky 544 - that Rathbun picked to celebrate his wedding to wife Mosey. The two were in the Big Easy on their honeymoon.
Rathbun and his bride downed shots in the bar until the wee hours and the next day would have to be told of the evening's festivities since each was suffering a blackout.
As Mosey danced provocatively for the crowd, reportedly groped by fellow drunkards, her new husband was outside on the street, shirtless, "harassing other tourists," as the police report reads.
It was when Rathbun physically tried to get past a bouncer and back into the Bourbon Street dive that mounted officers made their move - pinning the noisy, and nasty, drunk to the pavement.
He was taken to jail, photographed and booked on charges of disturbing the peace and public drunkenness.
According to one of the arresting officers, a handcuffed Rathbun cried like a baby in the back of a police cruiser.
It was fitting that Rathbun would be bailed out of jail by anti-Scientologist Jason Beghe, who has his own criminal record for hate-fueled assault.
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY
April 2011: Eyebrows arched and his eyes rolling into the back of his head, Rathbun next went berserk on two filmmakers, peaceably filming a documentary.
The setting was outside the cult leader's house in Ingleside by the Bay, Texas.
The filmmakers' offense: Asking a few simple questions.
And, again, law enforcement was on the scene. By this time, a police presence was synonymous with Rathbun's rage.
This occasion of violence marked the first time that Rathbun destroyed personal property, as he viciously ripped a microphone out of the hands of filmmaker John Allender, rendering it useless.
Just prior he had used the brute force of his beefy 220-pound-body to violently push Allender's colleague, Rich Hirst, out of the way.
When a Sheriff's deputy arrived, the filmmakers decided not to press charges.
ASSAULT IN SANTA MONICA
May 2011: It was a Memorial Day when investigative reporter Jim Lynch experienced Marty Rathbun's violence firsthand.
The assault took place on a quiet residential street in Santa Monica, California.
And all he did was ask Rathbun a simple question.
It was a balmy spring evening, after the dinner hour, when Lynch chanced on Rathbun who was waiting for a car to pick him up.
After establishing that there had been stories of his cult practicing violence and indulging in illegal drugs, Lynch wanted to get his side of the story.
When Lynch posed the question, Rathbun looked at him - his eyes cold as ice - and robotically chanted: "What time is it, what time is it."
As Lynch met his gaze, surprised, only a second or two passed before Rathbun brushed past him. His car and driver, Mike Rinder, had arrived.
As he got into the vehicle, Lynch carefully leaned forward and posed his question.
Rathbun didn't respond.
Then, in rapid-fire succession, the enraged Rathbun slammed the passenger-side door three times on Lynch’s shoulder, just before the car sped away.
A few hours later - after being treated for a bruised shoulder in the emergency room of St. John's hospital in Santa Monica - Lynch was filing assault charges with the city's police.
The case is pending.
But, it would not be Lynch’s last meeting with Rathbun.
'DON'T TOUCH ME, BOY'
June 2011: A few days later Lynch saw Rathbun up close again. It was not a pretty sight.
The location was a parking lot in Hollywood, California. And, Lynch was asking a simple yes- or-no question.
This time Rathbun aimed his barely-contained rage at a colleague.
It was then, in the afternoon daylight, that Lynch saw Rathbun's simmering anger and penchant for out-of-control violence boil up like unspent lava from a volcano.
As he fixed his gaze on Lynch’s colleague while uttering his signature - and offensive - line, "Boy...," his facial skin tightened into a mask, his pupils rolled back, showing only the whites in his eyes, and his seething chest swelled up.
It was a moment when Lynch thought Rathbun would burst from his seams - into an all-out physical attack - as he brushed in a threatening manner into Lynch’s colleague.
But, as is typical with a bully and a coward, Rathbun backed down.
Out of fear...for himself.
ANOTHER CAR DOOR SLAMS
June 2011: This time it was Rathbun's lackey, the simplistic and clueless Mike Rinder, who took a page from his idol's playbook.
Given his lack of initiative, imagination and spine, in retrospect it was not unusual that Rinder would play copycat to Rathbun. Just as it is not unusual for religious cult militia members to deify and even worship their fanatical leaders.
Rinder, in fact, had once stated that he "emulated" Rathbun to the extent that he considered himself Rathbun's "clone."
So, again Jim Lynch saw Rathbun's violence on display - from yet another surrogate, or, "clone" Rinder.
That's the same Rinder who, a little more than a year ago, had attacked his ex-wife outside a doctor's office in Florida. In that assault he gouged and stripped the flesh from his wife's arms so savagely that she required surgery to repair nerve damage.
It was the lunch hour in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Lynch’s investigation into the questionable business practices of Robert Almblad was in full throttle.
Seeking a response from Almblad, Lynch decided to pose a question to Rinder, his "public relations" executive.
However, as he climbed into the backseat of an SUV in the parking lot of a fish house, the rattled Rinder was in no mood to talk.
His eyes hidden behind black sun glasses, the seething resentment that - like Rathbun's - that coursed through Rinder's body was palpable.
And, he responded much like Rathbun had just 10 days before.
As Lynch asked a question through the half-open door of the SUV, Rinder ignored it and snidely baited him.
"Jim, you know what, I think you should stick your arm in the car again."
And, suddenly, he slammed the door hard...just as Lynch backed away.
For Rinder, it was the poor man's Marty Rathbun response.
THIS GUN FOR HIRE
June 2011: Even when Rathbun is not physically present, he still manages to spread his toxic mix of hatred and violence.
And, in another mark of a coward, he does so through his cult surrogates.
Again, this investigative reporter found himself on the receiving end.
It was in a residential neighborhood of Palm Harbor, Florida where Lynch had what could have been a deadly encounter with Rathbun associate Stephen Reynolds.
Reynolds works with Rathbun's crony and fellow anti-Scientologist Mike Rinder. Their paymaster is Robert Amblad, another subject of Lynch’s investigation. Almblad is an “inventor” who manages to convince naïve investors to fund his projects. He also is a financier of hate crimes and a virulent anti-Scientologist who keeps Rinder afloat and funds Rathbun’s cult as well.
When Lynch approached Reynolds in the driveway of his Florida home, he met Lynch’s questions with a string of obscenities, before disappearing into the open garage of the house.
Out on the street, Lynch had just gotten back in the car when a colleague shouted a warning.
It was Reynolds, who had reappeared and was standing on the driveway, both hands holding, and pointing, a .45 caliber hand gun directly at Lynch's back.
Later, the reporter reviewed the video footage which showed the brazen act, complete with Reynolds clearing the chamber of the weapon, as Lynch and his colleagues drove away.
Reynolds - who serves to show that Rathbun's violence has reached a new level of menace - is charged in Pinellas County, Florida.
SPITTING, SCREAMING, THREATENING
July 2011: A blistering sun marked the day when Rathbun seemingly self-imploded with violent thoughts cascading into violent action.
And, it took place - on two separate occasions no less - where one would think the anti-Scientologist would be most relaxed: outside his Texas home.
But relaxation is nowhere to be found in the shrinking universe of Marty Rathbun.
Again the target of his wrath was some nearby documentary filmmakers standing on public property some 30 feet away.
The unprovoked Rathbun appeared to be baiting the filmmakers, trying to pick a fight with them.
Resorting to his limited vocabulary's two favorite words, a wildly-gesticulating Rathbun threatened them with shouts of "boy" and "punks."
At one stage, the hulking Rathbun, dressed in a black muscle shirt and matching shorts and spewing profanities, putting his hand on one of the filmmaker’s chest while furiously pointing a finger at another.
"Listen to me....I'm telling you something...do you hear me?" the enraged Rathbun barks at the cameramen.
And, later in the day, Rathbun mounts a bicycle, and on a public street as the documentary makers sit and rest, when he is passing them, savagely spits at them.
As one observer who was there said: "Marty looked and acted like he was insane that day.”
ATTACKING A SENIOR CITIZEN
August 2011: Ten days after his encounter with Jim Lynch, Mike Rinder was still seething when he turned up with his boss, Robert Almblad, at the Miami Beach Convention Center for a trade show.
They were there to exhibit Almblad's so-called "safe ice machine."
Again Lynch was there in pursuit of Almblad who has gone to great lengths to avoid being interviewed regarding how he gets investors to put their money in various inventions that don’t always turn out well.
That day the "clone"-like Rinder - "emulating" cohort Rathbun - had a very short fuse.
As Lynch approached to ask him a question inside the convention hall Rinder suddenly lunged at him, striking his chest in a futile effort to rip his name tag away.
And, this time, Rinder had no sunglasses to shield his eyes. Eyes burning with rage and hatred.
For the next two hours Rinder shadowed Lynch’s every move as he visited other vendors at the trade show.
Tailing Lynch and filming his every step seemed to be a strange way to discharge his "public relation" duties.
But it was near the end of the day when the unstable Rinder suddenly attacked a convention visitor.
And at 71 years of age, visitor Ed Bryan was no match for Rinder who grabbed him by his shirt collar and, physically, hauled him through the convention hall, until a fireman put an end to the abuse.
It was the same type of violence as practiced by Rathbun - the violence employed by a psychotic coward who bullies imagined enemies. It would be only 24-hours later that Rathbun would unleash his garden hose, as if it was a weapon in hand, to spray it full force into the face of filmmaker.
THE SUITCASE ATTACK
September 2011: The first day of the month was a clear day in Arizona and at 7.30 a.m. the temperature was still in the 90s.
That was the time Jim Lynch arrived at Phoenix's Skyharbor Airport to ask Marty Rathbun a simple question concerning his so-called counseling sessions. The erratic cult leader was catching a flight back to his Texas home.
As Rathbun and his wife exited a pick-up truck at the curb-side check-in, Lynch politely approached.
But now, in what seemed to be habit, Rathbun erupted when he saw Lynch.
Standing at the back of the truck with his back to Lynch as he unloaded luggage, Rathbun suddenly pivoted, swinging a large suitcase with all his might.
When it smashed into Lynch’s chest he was momentarily stunned and, having lost his balance, wound up sprawled on the sidewalk.
But, Lynch remembered the unhinged look on Rathbun as he went down.
As well as the hysterical - and psychotic - taunts and insults he screamed.
This was Rathbun with all his demons unleashed - his similarity to other religious militia groups exposed.
RATHBUN DRAWS BLOOD
September 2011: The suitcase attack that morning at the airport in Phoenix was a prelude to a more sinister - and serious - attack that Rathbun would launch later in the day.
With his resentments doing a slow burn on the flight back to Texas, Rathbun - always ready to pick a fight - wasted no time after returning to his Ingleside on the Bay home.
And, yet again, for one last time (until the next time) the innocent documentary filmmakers were his target.
As they did a shoot on the public street near his house, Rathbun - dressed as usual in shorts and muscle shirt - burst directly into their midst.
Exploding into a tirade inches from the face of filmmaker Jim Moore, Rathbun suddenly shot out his hand and grabbed Moore's eyeglasses.
In the process, Rathbun's claw-like grab inflicted two bloody gouges on Moore's forehead.
As one witness who was there later said: "Rathbun was like an angry gorilla that day."
Only this time...Marty Rathbun drew blood - and the attention of the Texas authorities who placed him in handcuffs.
The clock is ticking on militia leader Marty Rathbun and his cult.
TO BE CONTINUED