The Church of Scientology spent at least $30million to have a criminal investigation into the death of one of its members in Florida dropped by local authorities, a former church leader alleges in a new lawsuit.
Marty Rathbun claims the church used its influence to sway judges and the medical examiner in Clearwater, Florida, to stop investigating the 1995 case of Lisa McPherson.
Her family claims church leaders watched her die after they took her to a hotel room following a minor car crash.
Scientology leaders have not commented on the allegations. However, the church has filed its own suit demanding Mr Rathbun's claims be dismissed.
Ms McPherson reportedly claimed she needed psychiatric care following the crash, WTSP-TV reports.
The Church of Scientology opposes most modern psychiatric methods, instead believing that spiritual healing is the proper treatment for mental illness.
Instead of going to a hospital, Ms McPherson's family says, she was taken to a nearby hotel where she was treated by church members.
She died 17 days later, sparking protests from her friends and family outside the Clearwater headquarters of the church.
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