Judge denies he was a Scientology pawn

WTSP News 10, Florida/November 19, 2012

Clearwater, Florida - Did the Church of Scientology conspire to cover up the death of a local woman? We have more on our exclusive investigation.

Lisa McPherson died under mysterious circumstances in 1995, but the attorney who represents her family says Scientology is still trying to keep him from helping other families with claims against the church.

McPherson was a longtime member of the Church of Scientology when she died in 1995. But after she died, many had questions about the circumstances of her death- including her family.

Attorney Ken Dandar helped McPherson's family battle the church, but years later, the Church is still trying to stop Dandar from helping other families.

According to Dandar, "Something doesn't smell right." We asked him what the public should think when they see this and he added "Something bad is going on in Pinellas County."

Dandar is talking about how the Church settled the Lisa McPherson case. A former top-ranking Scientologist- Marty Rathbun says the Pinellas County Judge handling the McPherson case, Judge Robert Beach, should never have met with Church attorney Lee Fugate about the case.

According to Rathbun "Fugate was convincing Beach this case had nothing to do with justice; it had nothing to do with recompense; it was a bunch of money hungry relatives that didn't care about McPherson."

However Judge Robert Beach says, "I have never had any conversations with Scientologists outside of the courtroom

Judge Beach also claims he doesn't understand why even Federal Judge Stephen Merryday suggested it was possible he was working as a "surrogate" of the Church.

When we asked Beach, "What about when Merryday said you were a surrogate of Scientology?", Beach said, "That upset me too. I'm still wondering why he made those statements."

But Dandar, who is suing the Church- saying it violated his civil rights, says the issues go way beyond one judge.

The implication not only involves attorneys and a judge; it involves law enforcement.

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