Mike Rinder is a former executive of the Church of Scientology who was...
PAUL HAGGIS: A status-driven screenwriter who exploited a tenuous connection with Scientology to grab headlines via a publicity stunt whereby he "resigned" from the Church-when he had not been an active parishioner for decades. Haggis, whose betrayals include accepting millions for scripts that he never delivered, was himself exploited by the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright, who approached him for a "profile" that simply used Haggis to tell a slanted story about the Church. Find out more about Paul Haggis, a member of Marty Rathbun's Cult Militia:
Marty Rathbun: Violent psychopath, cult militia leader
Long before his stunning fall from grace and expulsion from the Church of Scientology, Marty Rathbun was a practitioner of violence.
It was violence he perpetrated furtively, in secret.
It was the violence of a coward.
And, as cowards do, Rathbun—when confronted by his violence—would tearfully confess.
Punching his victims, throwing them over tables, shaking them, slamming them into walls and filing cabinets and, then, gleefully bragging about his brutish, thuggish behavior, it all spilled out in Marty Rathbun's own words.
Later, after he walked away from the Church for the third and last time, it became apparent that Rathbun would never see the folly of his own aberrant ways.
It was impossible—for that self-absorbed aggression so embraced by Rathbun had morphed into the destructive actions of a violent psychopath.
And, no matter how he disguised it, whether as the “good old boy” of South Texas, the self-proclaimed counseling Guru of the Gulf, or, even as a militia leader, Rathbun's actions would soon conform to a highly-flammable mix of erratic, sudden, and, dangerous violence.
Modeled after religious cult militias which make their headquarters across the rural Midwest and desert Southwest, Rathbun makes his base in Texas.
And, like the cult militia whose members the FBI arrested in Michigan in 2010, Rathbun fancies himself “born again” in his messianic zeal and rage against his former, established religion.
A look at one close-up photo is all anyone needs to discover that Rathbun’s eyes glow with a psychotic gleam—one that is a perversion of anything considered religious.
And from his Texas base, Rathbun dispatches his programmed militia members throughout the country to commit acts of violence—the same drug-fueled violence that he, sources say, advocates in his so-called counseling sessions.
Indeed, even when still in the Church as an external affairs officer, Rathbun would go out of his way to start a war, pick a fight, or find the next enemy.
No matter whether those enemies were imaginary, seen only by him.
Now bitter, in exile, he seeks revenge against those who gave him every chance to repent and reform.
Those who offered him comfort—and solace—over and over again.
Barely contained with pent-up resentment, sometimes he's pushing, shoving and spitting—as his face lights up with incandescent rage.
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 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 practiced eye, to those who know Marty Rathbun, there is a pattern to his psychotic behavior. Just as there is a pattern to other religious militia cults whose members endorse violence while proclaiming themselves “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.”
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 was arrested in Texas, has spent the night in a New Orleans holding cell, and, has been cited for trespassing in Florida.
The cult militia leader who, sources say, espouses violence and drug use as part of his so-called counseling, wrote his own (at least once in blood) travelogue of terror that included:
BUMPING AND STRIKING
May 2010: It was a chance encounter at an airport with a former associate that set Rathbun into a spasm of rage.
The camera caught Rathbun's face close-up—the skin stretched taut, the teeth clenched. He has lost any grip on rationality as he repeatedly bumps and pokes the former associate while screaming at him.
Luckily, as is often the case with a bully, Rathbun—who had initiated the confrontation—backed off.
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 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 bar—called the Funky 544—that Rathbun picked to celebrate his marriage to third 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 had suffered 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 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 wall.
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. A small time Hollywood actor, Beghe was on probation for beating up an officer of the court so badly he had to be hospitalized. When he assaulted a house guest over the guest's use of a weed whacker, he made tabloid headlines.
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY
April 2011: Eyebrows arched and eyes rolling into the back of his head, Rathbun next went berserk on two filmmakers, peaceably filming a documentary.
The setting was outside Rathbun's house in Ingleside on the Bay, Texas.
The filmmakers' offense: Asking a few questions.
Again, law enforcement was called. By this time, a police presence had become synonymous with Rathbun's rage.
This act 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, Rathbun 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 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.
Lynch's offense: Asking Rathbun a 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.
The reporter had established that there were stories of Rathbun's cult practicing violence and indulging in illegal drugs, and Lynch wanted to get his side of the story.
When Lynch posed the question, Rathbun looked at him and robotically chanted: “What time is it, what time is it.”
As a surprised Lynch met his gaze, only a second or two passed before Rathbun brushed past him. His car and driver, Mike Rinder, had arrived.
As Rathbun 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 police.
The case is pending.
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 yes-or-no question.
This time Rathbun aimed his anger at one of Lynch's colleagues.
As Rathbun fixed his gaze on the 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 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.
ANOTHER CAR DOOR SLAMS
June 2011: This time it was Rathbun's lackey, the simplistic Mike Rinder, who took a page from his idol's playbook.
Given his lack of 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.”
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, 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 lunch hour in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Lynch’s investigation into the business practices of Robert Almblad, a shady businessman who had allegedly defrauded investors of millions, was in full throttle.
Unable to get a response from Almblad, Lynch decided to pose a question to Rinder, his “public relations” executive.
But, 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 rage coursing through Rinder's body was almost palpable.
And, he responded much like Rathbun had done 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 a 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 through surrogates.
Again, reporter Lynch was on the receiving end.
It was in a residential neighborhood of Palm Harbor, Florida where Lynch was involved in 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 Almblad, the businessman subject of Lynch’s investigation. Almblad is an inventor and a con artist. He also is a financier of hate crimes and a virulent anti-Scientologist who keeps Rinder afloat and, in turn, is suspected of siphoning what are believed to be ill-obtained funds to Rathbun in order to keep his small cult in business.
When Lynch approached Reynolds in the driveway of his home, he met the reporter's questions with a string of obscenities, before disappearing into the open garage of the house.
Out on the street, Lynch was getting into a 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 shows that Rathbun's violence has reached a new level of menace—pleaded no contest to improper exhibition of a firearm in Pinellas County, Florida.
SPITTING, SCREAMING, THREATENING
July 2011: A blistering sun marked the day when Rathbun seemingly self-imploded with what appeared to be a flood of violent thoughts that cascaded 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.
Again, the target of his wrath was some nearby documentary filmmakers standing on public property some 30 feet away.
Rathbun appeared to be baiting the filmmakers, trying to pick a fight with them.
Resorting to his 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, put his hand on a 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, rides by and spits on the documentary makers as they take a break on a public street.
As one eyewitness 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.”
Lynch was there in pursuit of Almblad who has gone to great lengths to avoid being interviewed regarding how he lures investors to put their money in various inventions that don’t always pay off.
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.
For the next two hours, Rinder shadowed Lynch’s every move as he visited other vendors at the trade show.
But it was near the end of the day when the unstable Rinder suddenly attacked a convention visitor.
And at 71 years of age, the visitor was no match for Rinder who grabbed him by his shirt collar and hauled him through the convention hall, until a fireman put an end to the abuse.
It was the same type of violence practiced by Rathbun—the violence of a psychotic coward who bullies imaginary enemies. Just 24 hours later, Rathbun would unleash his garden hose, as if it were a weapon—to spray it full force into the face of the filmmaker.
THE SUITCASE ATTACK
September 2011: The first day of the month was clear in Arizona and at 7:30 a.m. the temperature was already in the 90s.
That was the hour Jim Lynch arrived at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport to ask Marty Rathbun a 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 had become a pattern, Rathbun erupted when he saw Lynch.
Standing at the rear 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 wound up sprawled on the sidewalk.
Lynch remembered the unhinged look on Rathbun as he went down.
As well as the hysterical—and psychotic—taunts and insults he screamed, along with the sadistic smile of a woman accompanying Rathbun, a woman who, it turned out, was one of Rathbun's cult cronies.
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 eyewitness 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.
Yet, chameleon-like, Rathbun easily slipped into the role of victim. As a Sheriff's deputy slapped on the cuffs, Rathbun plaintively said to wife: “Would I ever hurt anyone, Mosey?”
And while Mosey dutifully answered “No,” there are now too many victims and observers who have suffered, or, who have witnessed Marty Rathbun's violence.
The violence of a psychopath.
The clock is ticking on militia leader Marty Rathbun and his cult of violence.
TO BE CONTINUED