Mark Rathbun: on Robert N. Harris and Eugene Ingram (May 28, 2013)

 That is one thing a lot of folks don’t get about Miscavige. They remember him only as coming down like thunder, as he often does. They seldom see the charm, which can be engaging. I saw a lot of both. I believe one reason Miscavige kept me as a close aide for twenty-two years was the quality of my communication training routines. Unlike most people who came and went his way, I could hold my position in space, unflustered when Miscavige regularly lit up like the Fourth of July. He could vent on at me in rather dramatic and overwhelming fashion, and I would not be affected or distracted. I would hear what he had to say and acknowledge him comfortably. And
that would generally calm him down and make him far more pleasant. I saw a lot of folks over the years who never made it past the venting stage. They would get nervous — which would set him off even more — or get overwhelmed and get blown away. So they never saw that at bottom he had a likable human being aspect. Maybe it was the communication training routines, or maybe it was the training I received from my dogs in childhood. In either event, I think that same ability to not get flustered was my greatest asset for my entire church career. We experienced a lot of shocking threats and losses. Generally, I was able to keep my head when others tended to flail. Having experienced Miscavige’s human side I was also sympathetic to the cross he had to bear, being the only man between L. Ron Hubbard and enough seasoned enemies to easily defeat any lesser man.

The only church attorney who had previously worked with investigators was Bob Harris. Harris had worked with the GO for years on the colossal tax trial over the mother church’s (Church of Scientology of California) tax years 1970 through 1972. It was the huge, pending test case that all concerned figured would determine whether the church of Scientology would ever attain tax exemption. Bob was once a fairly prominent and successful criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. For the past few years he had pretty much moved in to church premises, working full time on the all-consuming ’70-’72 case. That trial went on for several few-weeks stints over two years. Bob told me of the best private investigator, pound for pound, he had ever worked with.

According to Harris, Eugene “Gene” Ingram was a former Los Angeles Police Department street cop. Using his street smarts, better-than-average intelligence, and brash, aggressive style, he had worked overtime as an officer defense representative before the LAPD Board of Rights — where internal affairs charges would be aired out in mini trials. Ingram was so effective in securing acquittals of charged officers that he became not only a thorn in the side of the notoriously corrupt LAPD Internal Affairs Division, but also of the to-become-infamous Chief of Police, Daryl Gates. Harris told me that if we were going up against the FBI and US Department of Justice, we would be hard pressed to find anyone as qualified or as trustworthy for the job as Gene.

I met with Gene. I was immediately struck by his intelligence, healthy suspicion of bureaucratic authority, and engaging personality. Gene was in his late thirties, wore a neatly-coifed pompadour, and had tanned skin and large, brown, alert eyes. He spoke with police-business-like precision. He almost always wore neat, stylish suits and ties. I questioned Gene about his dismissal from the LAPD. Gene said that after he produced a string of acquittals of cops that Gates had sorely wanted dismissed, he began receiving anonymous death threats. In the middle of one of the biggest, most hotly-contest internal Board of Rights cases he had ever defended, personal disaster struck. While alone on a late-night call to a remote section of LA, he was shot in the back of the neck with a sniper’s bullet. He showed me a huge round entry scar on the back of his neck, millimeters from his spine. While he was recovering, Gene was indicted by a Los Angeles County Grand Jury on ten counts of trumped up pimping and pandering charges. Working with Harris and another criminal defense lawyer who often worked with Gene on Board of Rights cases, they attained an acquittal by a jury on all charges. He handed me a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times that chronicled and corroborated much of his story.

Rathbun, Mark (2013-05-28). Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior (pp. 219-20).

Notes