ABC NIGHTLINE: INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY -- ILLUSTRATED INTERVIEW
[David Miscavige] If you really look at the big picture of what is happening in Scientology, it isn't really controversial.
[Martin Bashir] But these former senior Scientologists say that as Miscavige's leadership regressed, he became increasingly eccentric.
[Marty Rathbun] He got his beadle, and he literally had somebody tailor a blue vest sweater for his beadle dog. And made up epaulets, the Sea Org ranks in the Sea Organization. And he had four stripes put on for the dog. And he would bring the dog in, and if those guys didn't salute the dog, he would just viciously berate them and invalidate them.
[Martin Bashir] You're saying that he ordered the most senior ranks in the Church of Scientology to salute his dog?
[Marty Rathbun] Yes, sir.
[Amy Scobee] He comes with his dog, with his sweater, with Commander stripes, and the dog let out a little bark when she saw me. And David Miscavige said, "You know, you got something going on, because she is detecting out-ethics, and you have something going on!"
I think what the dog was really saying is "You look like the only halfway sane person, can you help me out of this outfit?"
One former member says that Mr. Miscavige had a vest tailored for his dog, with epaulets similar to those worn by Sea Org members. And he would order staffers to salute the dog.
[Tommy Davis] That is utterly, completely, totally ridiculous.
[Martin Bashir] Your own reaction was one of complete disbelief, I think it is fair to say --
[Tommy Davis] Totally, because it's unbelievable.
[Martin Bashir] And yet, there are consistencies between individuals who observed the dog, dressed in a particular way, and a particular breed. Amy Scobee also confirms that Mr. Miscavige would bring his dog around dressed like a uniformed member, and if the dog barked, she said, he would suggest that the individual towards whom the dog barked was behaving badly, had some kind of negative problem.
Is that true?
[Tommy Davis] I don't know. I mean, maybe we should have the dog come in here, and see if it barks at you, Martin.
[Martin Bashir] Marty Rathbun says it was much more serious than a uniformed dog.
The Church of Scientology has been battling critics almost from the day it was launched in the early 1950s. But now the attacks are coming not from outsiders, but from former senior insiders, each of whom served the organization for decades.
Marty Rathbun spent 27 years in the Church of Scientology.
He says he personally saw its leader, David Miscavige, strike subordinates on numerous occasions, including senior colleague Tom De Vocht.
[Marty Rathbun] Miscavige walks in and goes, asked Tom some question. And there's the slightest lag in his response. Miscavige just takes off across the room in front of 80 people, and just delivered a beating to the guy. I mean, beat him up bad.
[Martin Bashir] Tom De Vocht, who left the Church in 2005 after 28 years, recounted this event to ABC News, saying David Miscavige hit him, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him a number of times.
According to Rathbun, Mike Rinder was also a victim of numerous attacks by Miscavige.
[Marty Rathbun] I saw him attack him while he was sitting in a chair, and hit him upside the head, and then wrestling him around the neck and throw him to the ground. I saw at least a dozen times this happen.
[Martin Bashir] Amy Scobee says she also witnessed Miscavige attack Rinder.
[Amy Scobee] He grabbed him around the neck and was throttling, squeezing hard, to the point where David's face was shaking --
and his arms were shaking that he was squeezing so hard.
[Martin Bashir] Mike Rinder, who left the Church in 2007, corroborated these specific incidents, and told ABC News he was the victim of repeated acts of random violence at the hands of Miscavige.
[Bruce Hines] So I hear his voice booming out in the hallway.
[Martin Bashir] Bruce Hines says he himself was physically struck by Miscavige.
[Bruce Hines] He said, "Where is that motherfucker?" And he just walked up and he hit me on the side of the head. He didn't have a closed fist, but it was an open hand. But it definitely hurt, and it definitely knocked me back.