When Alex Gibney and co-producer Lawrence Wright needed yet another pathological liar for their HBO Going Clear film on the Church of Scientology, to regurgitate their fraudulent abuse story, Tom DeVocht was the perfect candidate. So duplicitous and dishonest is Tom DeVocht, he once engaged in a covert conspiracy with two other Gibney/Wright sources, Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, to secretly suborn perjury and obstruct justice by pressuring and coaching witnesses to lie to police.
DeVocht summed up his ethical philosophy in a rare moment of truth when he admitted that he is a compulsive liar:
Lying to the most important people on earth was not an overt [transgression] unless I was caught out and couldn’t lie my way out of it.
Using as a source someone who has admitted that he is a chronic liar epitomizes just how tainted, biased and corrupt Gibney’s film is along with Wright’s book—the book that is relied on as the foundation for HBO’s documentary.
DeVocht’s relationship with Rathbun and Rinder was forged during a major legal case involving the Church in 1995. Unbeknownst to the Church and its ecclesiastical leader, DeVocht, Rathbun and Rinder suborned perjury by coaching witnesses to lie and mislead police following the accidental death of a parishioner. The Church was ultimately exonerated, but the lies they generated hindered the investigation, resulting in nine years of criminal and civil litigation, the latter targeting the leader of the religion. DeVocht’s role in the scheme was kept hidden until he was finally outed 14 years later by Rathbun in a newspaper interview. (See information on Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder.)
DeVocht is a former Church construction manager whose lies and mismanagement of projects led to unmitigated disaster. During an investigation into his financial malfeasance, DeVocht, by his own estimate, said he cost the Church $10 million prior to his removal in disgrace. He once summed up his work inside the Church as, “I would never even consider I was doing wrong unless I was caught out and then my only sorrow was for being caught….”
Financial misconduct by DeVocht that was uncovered included:
- To gain favor with a real estate broker in order to score football tickets, DeVocht enlisted a convicted felon to broker a Church property acquisition—in which DeVocht was conned into helping the felon secretly acquire a sister building he then defaulted on—losing both the building and $1 million when the broker walked away from it.
- Then he committed the Church to a multimillion-dollar loan guarantee with an energy company, against Church policy, only to see the company default and sticking the Church with paying off the loan.
- Still another construction project cost the Church millions in financial overruns when DeVocht secretly requested repeated “change orders” to cover up his lack of planning that went undiscovered until a contractor sent in his bill.
- Yet another project went several million dollars over budget as a result of his ineptness.
In admitting he had cost the Church $10 million, DeVocht made the disingenuous promise that he would work to pay it back. The Church hasn’t seen one penny.
DeVocht was removed in disgrace for his misconduct by the leader of the Church, as there is zero tolerance for such malfeasance.
Church justice proceedings were initiated to expel DeVocht from the religion. While DeVocht was further investigated he admitted in writing that he “committed financial crimes by signing work orders and committing expenses without any authority.…”
DeVocht’s thievery even extended to his own family. He sold two of his wife’s cars during different times she was out of town, and then spent the money. He squandered over $100,000 of her inheritance, and shortly before he left the Church, admitted to having stolen cash from his now ex-wife’s grandmother on their wedding day.
While the investigation was ongoing, DeVocht became an increasingly violent man in tandem with Marty Rathbun. DeVocht physically assaulted two staff members and even physically assaulted his wife, dragging her by the hair. DeVocht himself wrote: “I drove fear into people with my physical handling of people.” He also wrote: “Rathbun and I were working together as close friends and beating up people.” And “Mike Rinder got beaten by Rathbun and I [sic].”
No doubt they were frantically covering up a simultaneous investigation into the misconduct of Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder.
In 2005, DeVocht left while still under investigation and was immediately and permanently expelled from the religion. After being silent for four years, he teamed up with Rathbun and Rinder in a media smear campaign to begin making the outrageous claim that the three were subjected to physical abuse. In reality, they abused others, including their wives.
DeVocht’s former wife, Jennifer Linson, in a declaration signed under penalty of perjury, said that DeVocht’s “characterizations are nothing short of scathing lies, which are pure sensationalism and absolutely not true.” Ms. Linson further appeared on CNN on March 30, 2010, to refute DeVocht’s lies during which she stated:
I slept with Tom DeVocht for almost 20 years. I knew every inch of him. I never saw one scratch. I never saw one bruise. I never saw one black eye. Nothing. Nor did he complain about anything personally.
Lastly, DeVocht has engaged in human rights violations and criminal activity through his actions as a “deprogrammer.” In a 2013 incident, a young Scientologist was literally kidnapped by her brother and ex-boyfriend and taken to a home in the Hollywood Hills where she was held against her will and verbally abused by DeVocht, Michael Fairman and six other anti-Scientologists. The woman was forced to remove her shoes and held in a locked room while the group encircled her, verbally attacking her and haranguing her with lies about her faith. At one point, DeVocht tried to physically block her from leaving and told her that if she were his sister he would tie her down to prevent her from leaving. Frightened for her life and in tears, the young woman ultimately managed to escape. She remains an active Scientologist to this day and has repaired her relations with her family that had been soured by the lies of DeVocht and these anti-Scientology bigots.
Once dressed in Armani suits with a beautiful wife from a prominent family, DeVocht today lives the life of a bum looking for his next con, living in a shack with no money and no decent job. He hovers around the Internet lunatic fringe as a core member of a “posse” founded by anti-Scientology extremists Rathbun and Rinder that includes Spanky Taylor, Jesse Prince, Karen de la Carriere, Mark Fisher, Michael Fairman, Jason Beghe and Marc Headley. This anti-Scientology hate group sports a history of hate speech, violence, arrests and intimidation. All are bitter at having been expelled from the religion; all have become virulent anti-Scientologists, opposed to the religion, its leader and the Founder; all are obsessed with making up outrageous lies to the media about the Church and its leader; and all are motivated by revenge for their expulsion and by their desire to make money from their lies. DeVocht’s words and actions utterly destroy his credibility.
It’s outrageous that HBO producer Gibney used an admitted chronic liar, thief, suborner of perjury and violent anti-Scientology deprogrammer as a source in his film. Just like Lawrence Wright used the same admitted chronic liar, thief, suborner of perjury and violent anti-Scientology deprogrammer for his book. But for Gibney and Wright, truth takes a back seat to bigotry.
By airing such a hopelessly biased film that relies on a hopelessly biased book, HBO shows it has no ethical standards.