The Flaw In Scientology's Religious Outrage Theory: A Man Named Steven Gregory Sloat - 2013-10-21
Steve Sloat. Or Greg Sloat, depending. Now that we've had a couple of days to absorb Scientology's surprising new motion in Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the church, a few things are becoming more clear.
First, this really is a remarkable legal strategy by the church, which now admits that it was behind outrageous behavior aimed at Monique and her husband, Mark "Marty" Rathbun, who was once a top Scientology official. But that behavior, the church asserts, was a form of legitimate religious expression that should not be silenced by Monique's lawsuit. To that end, the church has filed an anti-SLAPP motion, which we explained previously is traditionally used by an outgunned opponent trying to derail a nuisance lawsuit.
In order to convince Comal County, Texas Judge Dib Waldrip that its free speech rights are being trampled by Monique's lawsuit, the church is now admitting that it did, in fact, target the Rathbuns in an extensive program of surveillance and disruption. In particular, the church is admitting to sending and funding the nutty "Squirrel Busters," an intimidation squad that, over a span of 199 days, set up bizarre protests in front of the Rathbuns' south Texas home. The Squirrel Busters followed the Rathbuns wherever they went, disrupting their lives on a daily basis. On Friday, the church submitted declarations from some of the Squirrel Busters themselves, who admitted to being sent by the church, but claimed that they had put on their weird spectacle out of a sense of religious outrage. Marty Rathbun started the fight, they claim, by saying such critical things about their religion.