Blockbuster charges in a Federal Suit involving the Church of Scientology. It involves accusations of impropriety and some of the most respected members of the judiciary and legal profession.
The allegations are coming from the former number-two man in the organization, and involve what he says is a multi-million dollar cover up of the death of a woman in Scientology care.
The woman at the center of it all is Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 after being involved in a minor traffic accident.
At the time of the accident, McPherson who was a Church of Scientology member, said she needed psychiatric help. Instead, the church members took her to the Ft. Harrison Hotel to care for her.
Just 17 days later, Lisa McPherson was dead.
McPherson’s death spawned emotional protests near Scientology headquarters in Downtown Clearwater, a lawsuit from her family- as some charged they let her die and watched her die- and criminal prosecution from the Pinellas State Attorney’s office.
The Church was charged with a second degree felony for practicing medicine without a license, and abuse of a disabled adult.
However, the charges were dropped after Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood changed the cause of death from unknown to accidental.
Marty Rathbun, the former number-two man in Scientology, alleges that the organization showered gifts on the Medical Examiner’s attorney, Jeff Goodis, to influence her to change the cause of death. In the suit, Rathbun contends the Church of Scientology spent at least $30 million to get the charges dropped, and mitigates the damages in the civil suit.