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David Miscavige - Witnesses to Violence

The following is a growing number of recent first-hand accounts of former senior Church of Scientology executives and staff who received and/or witnessed physical and violent abuse at the hands of David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board (COB) of the Religious Technology Center (RTC) of the Church of Scientology. These accounts come from nearly two dozen individuals, each of whom worked with or directly under David Miscavige at Church of Scientology International (CSI), Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), RTC, Gold, the International Base, etc. in recent years:

Debbie Cook (former Captain of the Church of Scientology's Flag Service Org; she had been in the Sea Org for 29 years, and was Captain at Flag for 17 years; she was at the International Headquarters under Miscavige in 2005-2007). Having routed out of the Sea Org in 2007 but still in good-standing in the Church, Debbie sent an email to thousands of Scientologists on New Year's Day 2012 informing them of severe violations of Scientology policy, auditing and ethical standards, as directed by the "highest echelons" in the Church, namely David Miscavige. As a result, she was attacked in the court system by Miscavige. Debbie fought back, and in response to a question about any physical violence by David Miscavige that she had personally witnessed, she said this under oath before a US judge on February 9, 2012:
"I witnessed Mr. Miscavige physically punching in the face and wrestling to the ground another very senior executive at Scientology international level [Mark Yager]. ... One time I was called into a conference room and [David Miscavige] ordered his secretary to slap me and she slapped me so hard I fell over into the chairs. [Another] time Mr. Miscavige ordered his communicator to break my finger if I didn't answer his question."
(Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/scientology/ex-clearwater-scientology-leader-claims-kidnapping-torture-before-she-left/1214690 )

Lana Mitchell (formerly worked in RTC in the 1990s; also worked for several years as a cook for David Miscavige, and his entourage and celebrity guests until 2003). Lana said this in a November 2, 2011 Australian TV interview:
I was working in [Miscavige's] organisation which is called the Religious Technology Center, I worked there for six years. ... It would have been in 1994 in a meeting in the International Building and he struck his brother Ronnie Miscavige. He hit him with the back of his hand, right in the stomach and Ronnie wasn't expecting it and it winded him, that was the first time. I've seen him do a similar thing to Norman Starkey many times who is the trustee of Scientology. I've seen him hit Ray Mithoff. I know I've heard many accounts of other instances of violence which I know would be true because I have witnessed enough myself to be able to say well you know there's substance to that because I've seen and witnessed it myself. ...
" [Miscavige] does character assassination continually on anybody that he considers to be a threat; anybody who he considers is speaking out or has the potential to be a threat, he will go out of his way to assassinate or to destroy the character of that person in the eyes of others.
"This is how he 'de-powered' all of the other executives within international Scientology; this is how he's become virtually the head of Scientology. There is nobody else left, everybody else if you go back and have a look at videos of events back in the nineties you see... They're all gone, Guillaume Leserve, Mark Yager, Mark Ingber? When I left [in 2004], the entire place was in a state of fear."

(Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/lifestyle/article/-/11285270/cruise-out-of-control [see link to transcript at the end, for above quote.]

Chris Guider (former Inspector General MAA [Master-At-Arms, the most senior "Ethics Officer" in the Church of Scientology International] at RTC late 1980s-1990s worked directly with Miscavige) said this on September 22, 2011 to Australian TV:
"[David Miscavige] is a violent individual. ... I've seen him physically beat one staff member, Mark Fisher, who was formerly an executive in RTC and worked very closely with Miscavige for a lot of years. And I witnessed [Miscavige] beating him. ..."
"[Miscavige] was standing behind a person, who was editing the [video]. And [Miscavige was] telling him how he was doing this wrong and that wrong, and screaming at him. In the Ethics Officer role, you have this little ... "riding crop" [stick] ... and it's just meant to be a symbol of authority that the Ethics Officer has. Well anyway, Miscavige told me to BEAT the guy with the stick. I looked at him and I refused to do that. He took that very, very severely on me because I didn't just do what he wanted me to do."
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3323979.htm )

Mark Fisher (former Corporate Liaison to Miscavige [supervising household and special assignments] circa 1980s-1990) made this comment:
"Miscavige .. came racing across and grabbed me around my throat, and started choaking me, and I immediatly went down into a fetal position on the ground and covered up because I didn't want to fight back or get hit. He was pulling on my hair and was punching at me and kicking at me. And this went on for two or three minutes. And when he finally stopped and calmed down, I stood up and I reached behind my head and my head was bleeding behind from him pulling my hair. And I pointed my finger at him and looked at him right in the eye, and I said 'You notice I didn't lay one finger on you'. And the reason I said that was because I wanted everybody else to notice that HE was the reason that this was going on, not me, I wasn't the one that was doing anything physical or fighting back. ... That had a profound impact on me as to why I wanted to leave because when you're talking about the person who's the head of the organization that you've dedicated your life to is actually physically attacking you ... that's not why I got involved in Scientology. I got involved in Scientology to help people."

http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ )

Marty Rathbun (former Inspector General of RTC, 2nd in command to Miscavige, 1984-2004) made the following statements in 2009 and 2010:
"Working with Miscavige from 2000 forward was a continually deteriorating condition ... regularly Miscavige would, in the middle of a conference, physically assault, punch open handed, tackle people."
"Mark Yager got beat up, kicked on, had large volumes thrown at him by Miscavige."
"Ray Mithoff got beat up by Miscavige."
"Mark Ingbar got beat up by Miscavige."
"Mike Rinder got it worse, [I saw him] get beatup at least a dozen times by Miscavige."
"Tom DeVocht got beatup by Miscavige a couple of times, and seeing that one time, caused me to leave."
http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/ , http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/scientology/scientologists-level-accusations/story?id=8792417 , http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/30/scientology.violence/index.html , http://markrathbun.wordpress.com )

Mike Rinder (former International Scientology Spokesman; Head of Office of Special Affairs for 25 years, 1981-2006) made the following statements in 2009 and 2010:
"I was at the [receiving end] of repeated acts of random violence at the hands of Miscavige."
"I was physically assaulted some fifty times by David Miscavige."

"[His physical assaults on me] happened more than once. He's a very volatile personality. He will lash out for uncalled-for reasons."
"There is no doubt that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of others who would tell the same stories of their experiences [with Miscavige] if they weren?t being coerced into silence either by threat of disconnection from their families, loss of job or legal action being brought against them."
"Where is Heber [Jentzsch]? ... The answer is simple: Miscavige hates Heber. ... Heber has not only witnessed Miscavige-brand physical and mental abuse, he has experienced it firsthand. ... I have seen Miscavige strike Heber on at least 10 occasions."
"Having to lie to the BBC about Miscavige beating people was the straw that broke the camel?s back and I walked out while in London [in 2008]."
(Sources:http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/scientology/scientologists-level-accusations/story?id=8792417 , http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/30/scientology.violence/index.html , Australian News interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOv0LtzXlx4, http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/free-heber/ ,
http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ )

Janela Webster (former head of AVC International, RTC, 1990 - 2007) made these comments in April 2010:
"I am writing this to make it known my own personal experience with the physical and emotional abuse I either witnessed or experienced from David Miscavige. ... Norman Starkey: how could you stand up [on CNN] and lie about David Miscavige not laying a hand on you? I was standing right there in the office when he just walked up to you and boxed you in the ears with no concern whatsoever. And you, a senior citizen in your ?60s? ... While I have my own personal experiences of being thrown in the lake; sleep deprivation; being incarcerated on the Int base and forced to sleep on a cot in my office for 7 months; starved on a diet of rice and beans for weeks; the most destructive and painful of all was the forced disconnection from my daughter in 2001."
http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ )

Amy Scobee (20 year Scientology International Base veteran, helped build Celebrity Centre network) made these statements in 2009 and 2010:
"David Miscavige is an extremely abusive, tyranical leader."
"[David Miscavige] grabs Mike [Rinder] around the neck, swings around and is choking him, and he's holding [Mike's] neck. And Mike starts grabbing the side of his chair and struggling and not knowing what is going on. And his face is turning red, and his veins are popping out his neck, and I'm going 'What in the hell is going on?'"
"Miscavige jumps up on the conference table and jumped at Jeff Hawkins, tackling him to the ground."

"Miscavige jumps up on the table and lunges at Wendell Reynolds, knocking chair and Wendell back."
"Miscavige went straight after [Mark] Yager, grabbed his shirt and threw his whole body onto the ground."
(Sources: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/ , http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/30/scientology.violence/index.html , Australian News Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= sOv0LtzXlx4 , http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/

Mike Lemeron (former Sea Org member for 21 years, worked with LRH in 1978, later worked at Gold at Int, doing lighting for International Events) made these comments in 2010:
"I was no senior exec but I did have the privilege of being around LRH for about a year back in ?78. I know that he generally did 2 solo auditing sessions per day. During that time he wrote the scripts for and directed some tech training films and wrote the Battlefield Earth book. He was definitely not evil nor dictatorial to his crew although the production demand was very high. ...As for DM, he is basically the anti-LRH."
"David Miscavige is a violent person and I have seen and experienced it for myself and I have subjective reality. I used to do lighting for the Int events and I personally saw David Miscavige be very rude, invalidating and condescending toward the other speakers. Years prior to that I was his table server at meals with other executives ? long before he assumed his ?COB? title. One day, during dinner, he followed me into the kitchen and pushed me up against a wall because he thought I was being rude. I have seen him being both physically [and] verbally abusive on different occasions during the nearly 21 years I was around him and his area. Anyone saying David Miscavige is not violent and has not committed violent acts on others is a complete liar or a dupe."
(Sources: http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/clearwater-retrospection/#comment-19997 ,
http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/mike-rinder-on-todaytonight/#comment-39152 )

Marc Headley (former Senior Executive at Golden Era Productions in International Management, 1995-2000):

"I myself on at least 10 different occasions have witnessed David Miscavige actually physically strike other staff members to the ground, strike staff members so many times or damage them physically that they actually needed medical attention or that a medical officer from the facility would have to come bandage them or treat them. In one instance, I myself was punched several times by David Miscavige in the face for basically arguing or talking back to him during a discussion that we were having."

Karen Pressley (former head of Celebrity Centre Network and former International Public Relations Officer, 1980s-1990s):
"I've seen [David Miscavige] slam people against a wall, by the neck, by the shoulders. ... Ray Mithoff, who was the Snr C/S International (his office was across from mine when I was the International Public Relations Officer; we were in the Del Sol Building) ... was constantly under the gun with David Miscavige. And I was present once when he threw Ray Mithoff against the wall, andtook his shirt and threw him up like this [gestures upward], and told him he was an SP and a piece of shit. And made him get on his hands and knees and just humiliated him. And right after that, Ray Mithoff was sleeping in a tent on a hillside and having to pee outdoors with no toilet facilities. And cleaning floors with toothbrushes. ... Miscavige used every psychological tactic, physical abuse, verbal abuse, to dehumanize
http://vimeo.com/13073239 )

Jeff Hawkins (35 year Sea Org veteran [1969-2004], marketing manager who created the DMSMH marketing campaign which put DMSMH back on the NY Times Best Seller list in the 1980s) made these comments in 2009 and 2010:
"I never saw [Rinder] abusing others, despite the abuse he received from Miscavige. Mike was, without question, THE most abused person at the Int Base. He was rarely allowed to sleep. He was physically beaten by Miscavige on many occasions. How he managed to carry on with his work and deal with media I do not know. He has great reserves of strength, which I hope are serving him well now that he is out."

" CNN: ' You've worked with Marty Rathbun. You've worked with Mike Rinder. The Church told us, that they were the ones leading this reign of terror, that Marty was the one responsible for these beatings.'
"Jeff: '
Absolutely not true. Absolutely not true. David Miscavige was the one leading this whole physical violence kick. And it was him who was beating people up. ... [Miscavige once] jumped on the conference room table, with his feet right on the conference table, launched himself across the table at me -- I was standing -- battered my face and then shoved me down on the floor.'
Jeff: '
Miscavige was always threats, bullying, haranguing people, verbal abuse, physical abuse. That was his game. He is a bully.'"
(Sources:http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ ,

Tom De Vocht (former Church construction supervisor in Clearwater [1986-2000] and Int base construction [2000-2004]) made this comment in Apr 2010:
"Dave asked me a question ... and the next thing I knew, I'm being smacked in the face and knocked down on the ground, in front of all these people. This is the 'Pope' [Miscavige] you know, knocking me down on the ground."

Steve Hall (Worked at Int Base as writer from 1988-2003; came up with Church's tag line "Know Yourself. Know Life.") said the following:
"The four assaults I witnessed where David Miscavige actually attacked someone were against Mike Rinder, Mark Yager, Guillaume Leserve and Ray Mithhoff (four of the highest-ranking officers of the Church of Scientology). In the case of Mike Rinder, he and I were standing shoulder to shoulder when Mike was attacked. Miscavige didn't like a minor edit that Mike had made to a video we were working on. Suddenly Miscavige just went off: he lunged, grabbed Mike's head with both hands and bashed his head into solid cherry-wood paneling three times putting his whole body into the effort. Mike has since departed from the Church. Violent physical abuse is just the tip of a dark iceberg."
"I decided to leave in December of 2003 after being assaulted and battered by David Miscavige and also witnessing him physically beating his staff, among other criminal actions." (Sources: http://www.scientology-cult.com/scientologys-dictator.html , http://www.goddiscussion.com/101823/former-church-of-scientology-members-report-horror-stories-to-russia-today/ )

Karen De La Carriere/Jentzsch (LRH-trained Class XII C/S, former wife of Heber Jentzsch, President Church of Scientology International) made this comment on March 24, 2011:
"Last night I went to dinner with an Ex SO [Sea Org] member that I had not seen for 30 years. It was a remarkable dinner. Here was a guy who worked like a dog in the Sea Org, had production 2nd to none, a household name in Sea Org circles and he told me the story of being locked in a room, waiting for HOURS with no food or water til David Miscavige entered the room with an entourage. This PUNK [Miscavige] always has a gang around him for protection. DM never engages in brutality one on one. He is always surrounded by numbers and a gang for his THUGGERY and ABUSE. He punched this SO member in the jaw with a heavy blow and then spat on him. There was no Committee of Evidence. There was no explanation on what the Sea Org member did or did not do. No charges were ever brought. There was just violence and ABUSE from the top command structure. ...This veteran ex SO member has never told his story on the web. He took a Miscavige assault and suffered in silence."
http://leavingscientology.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/the-anecdotal-fallacy/ as Karen#1)

Gary "Jackson" Morehead (former Security chief at the California Int base from 1990 to 1997) had this comment:
"Yes, Scientology has done good for mankind. I saw and see it. What I also WITNESED first hand was DAVID MISCAVIGE physically hit SCIENTOLOGY HIGH RANKING EXECUTIVES AND STAFF. I witnessed DAVID MISCAVAGE make 5 SCIENTOLOGY EXECUTIVES defecate into a clear plastic bag out in the broad open, make them shower by use of a garden hose in the broad open ? male and female executives mind you."

Eric Knutson (former CMOI and WDCI Executive, Department Head of Gold; worked at the Int Base from 1980-1990) had this to say on August 21, 2010:
"While working on a construction project as a Department Head in Gold in the late 80's, I was summonsed to the RTC office building at the Villas to answer some kind of question Miscavige had with regard to the project I was working on. For some reason I was called to the office where Mark Fisher and Jason Bennick worked directly under David Miscavige as his execution arms. Jason and I were the only ones in the room with DM. I had answered any questions Miscavige had and when I was finished he asked Jason a question about his post (I don't remember the subject content). Jason replied and DM came flying across the office behind Jason's desk where he was sitting. Screaming obscenities, Miscavige started punching Jason with body shots to the chest and ribcage with closed fists as Jason used his arms to protect himself from the thudding blows. I remember Jason?s eyes as big as saucers filled with terror in his disbelief as to what was happening. It ended almost as abruptly as it started. I remember DM looking at me with an expression that stated clearly 'this is what will happen to you if you fuck up.' "
http://rediscoverscientology.com/under-a-dark-cloud.html )

Bruce Hines (former Senior C/S in Scientology from 1987-2003) said this:
"[Miscavige] just walked up and hit me on the side of the head ... with an open hand ... It definitely hurt, and it definitely knocked me back."
(Source:ABC Nightline interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BddkM-qcLvo )

John Peeler (Delphi School graduate; in SO from 1989-2000; worked at CC Int and then Int Base) said this:
"I witnessed David Miscavige as well as other executives and staff at the base beat people up, slap others around, spit on people, overboard people, and a number of other punishments for either no reason at all or for disobeying orders or non-compliance. Even smaller things found out, such as masturbation, became huge issues blown up and read out at staff musters."
(Source: http://scnforum.org)

Don Larson (Former Finance Executive, worked with David Miscavige in the early 1980s) said this:
"There were about 15 of us ... we took the Commanding Officer [of the SF Org] ... and he was sec checked on the meter ... and there was a whole row of people around the guy ... this had nothing to do with religion anymore ... this was 'Where's the money Jack!? I want the money, where did you put the money!?' He said 'I don't know, I don't have the money'. So David Miscavige comes up to him and grabs him by the tie and starts bashing him into the file cabinets."

Larry Brennan (helped create high level Church structure for LRH in late 70s and early 80s; personally worked with Miscavige during this period) said this:
"In the lair of [Miscavige] I am sure that ?status? means everything. From my years of working with him I found him at best to be a highly immature, spoiled and abusive status seeker. I?ve also found the types of things I?ve heard Marty [Rathbun], Mike [Rinder] and others say about his abusive and his need for a false ?status? to be correct and in keeping with what I witnessed as well."

Dan Koon (former Snr C/S International; worked with LRH on tech films in late 1970s, was "Joe" in TRs Film) made these comments in 2009:
"I spent nearly 27 years at the Int bases in La Quinta and Hemet, when LRH himself worked there (and David Miscavige was the video cameraman on the first Cine shoot crew), and when LRH was off the lines, when he passed away and throughout the rise and reign of DOB RTC (Dictator of the Board). I saw these bases morph from incredibly alive, all-over-the-Tone Scale, mostly positive but always hopeful operations to the present state of affairs that is chronically below 2.0 and where Boredom let alone Mild Interest are unobtainable dreams. ... I can personally attest to the observations that Mike [Rinder] has reported in this blog post. Many of you reading it may be in disbelief. If you could see the stats of Int Scientology and know that David Miscavige sits squarely atop the entire Scientology movement and is, thus, where the buck must ultimately stop, maybe your disbelief would at last be forced aside. Because we all know that the stats are the bottom line: auditors made and preclears well audited."

"When I first joined the Sea Org, LRH was there, he met with us. We made films together. ... And life with him around was wonderful. ... he went off the lines for good in 1986. ... It certainly became a lot less fun as the years went on. By the time I left in 2003, it was very unfun. ... A lot of the stuff you read on the blogs about experiences at the Int Base, I can attest that they're all extremely accurate. I lived through them, I observed them. I know people, good friends of mine, who are now out, will attest to the same thing. It was just not the Scientology I joined in the 1970s and 1980s."

(Sources: http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/ ,


Numerous attempts at reforming the Church of Scientology and/or confronting David Miscavige, from the inside, over the last 20+ years have failed. Knowledge Reports (KRs) written on Miscavige, were ignored -- or worse, the authors of those reports were attacked or retaliated against by Miscavige. The Boards of RTC, CSI and CST are non-existent, as they are fully controlled by David Miscavige himself (Miscavige and his lawyers required all Board members, years ago, to sign undated "letters of resignation", thereby making internal Board-level reform impossible; see
http://savescientology.com and Marty's blog for more information).

For these reasons, it is urged that all Scientologists withdraw their financial and other support from the Church of Scientology while Miscavige is in charge.

Further, if one is interested, one can continue practicing Scientology (i.e. the Bridge) outside the formal Church. It is called Independent Scientology. There are many, many highly trained auditors auditing and doing training independently of the Church of Scientology, around the world today. These include veteran Class XII C/Ses and auditors (some trained by LRH himself) and recent Flag-trained Class VIII through Class XII auditors delivering the Grades, NED, Power, the Ls, all of the OT levels, and any repairs needed on any of the above. For more information and resources, see
http://freeandable.com .

For more information on the current situation with David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology, the following websites are recommended:


For the hub of current activity, Mike Rinder's blog at http://mikerindersblog.org  is recommended. 

For articles from many former RTC and International Church executives, Steve Hall's website
http://scientology-cult.com is recommended. 
Marty Rathbun's book "What is Wrong with Scientology" is also quite good, as is his blog athttp://markrathbun.wordpress.com .

To contact the author of this page (or add your personal story of Miscavige abuse), please write to: