The Sea Org is a “crew of tough sons of bitches,” said church spokesman Tommy Davis, an 18-year veteran of the group.
“The Sea Org is not a democracy. The members of it agree with a man named L. Ron Hubbard. They abide by his policies . . . and we follow it to the T, to the letter, to the punctuation marks. And if you disagree with that and you don’t like it, you don’t belong. Then you leave.”
One night before Christmas 1997, Miscavige's wife, Michelle, telephoned Rathbun and Rinder. The leader wanted to see them. Right away.
From different parts of the California compound, they jogged to his quarters.
They say Miscavige bustled through the screen door in a terry cloth bathrobe and without a word grabbed Rinder around the neck, slapped him, slugged him and threw him against a tree.
Rinder ended up in ivy, mud on his uniform, his lip bleeding. Miscavige led them to the officers' lounge, poured Rinder a glass of Scotch and said it would make him feel better.
The leader of Scientology turned and walked toward his quarters.
People would flinch when Miscavige walked by, De Vocht said.
"That's how routine it was," he said. "His whole entire outlook was that everybody was out to get him. Anything and everything anybody else touched was going to be screwed up, and he had to do it himself. He didn't trust anybody.''
Scobee described working in her office cubicle along the wall of a large conference room. Miscavige was seated alone on one side of the table facing several staffers, including Jeff Hawkins.
"So I'm not paying attention and all of a sa sudden I see David Miscavige jump up on top of the table — the conference room table," Scobee said.
He lunged at Hawkins, she said, and the two of them landed at her feet. Miscavige "stayed on top of him and was choking him and hitting him and grabbing his tie. Buttons were flying and change falling out of Jeff's pockets. And I'm sitting here going, 'Oh my God!' "
Hawkins has spoken and written publicly about the 2002 incident.