Marc Headley: “I Was Just Out of Control”
Victims of Headley’s lifetime of violence count his own mother, sister and female co‑workers
Growing up, Marc Headley had all the attributes of a classic bully.
Family members, childhood acquaintances and Headley himself would later recall many of his aggressive and intimidating episodes.
“I once pushed a kid off a wall and he smashed his head on the pavement,” Headley wrote of one incident in his youth.
Not one to change his ways, he twice broke another boy’s arm in incidents two months apart.
“I jumped out of a tree onto this guy and he fell to the ground and broke his arm,” Headley wrote. “About two months later, when he had just gotten his cast off….I then jumped out of the tree again and he re-broke his arm in the same place. He then was taken out of the school by his parents.”
At 10 years old, Marc Headley and a friend sealed a woman into her apartment with superglue. They sealed door joints, door knob, keyhole, deadbolt keyhole, hinges, and further “completely sealed shut” a second, metal security door.
“We also made sure that she was inside the apartment when we did this,” Headley wrote of their victim. “It was on the 3rd floor so there would be no way out for her.”
Headley defaced property, threw eggs at pedestrians from atop a building and urinated on drivers from a freeway overpass.
As he got older, his mother Trudy said, “His pattern was turning from innocent or pranks into destructive activities that are almost unforgivable.”
Among those almost unforgivable acts were the times he tried to drown Trudy and similarly traumatized his younger sister, Stephanie.
Even a friend of Headley’s at age 15 was compelled to write that Headley “likes to destroy things…smash things, burn them, blow them up, etc.”
The reported account of one of Marc Headley’s teachers says she spent hours trying to help him see that hurting others and destroying property was harmful. She recalled an all-too-familiar pattern:
“Marc Headley was the type of person most of us encounter growing up: the incorrigible; the one who stole your lunch sandwich but profusely denied having done so even when confronted; the one who would punch girls and hit much younger or smaller boys with enjoyment; the one who lied and stole with no remorse and continued to do so with no remote sense of conscience, and who, even if he said he would reform, spoke it with such shallow intent that the statement was forgotten a second after being proffered.”
Headley later recalled the overpowering rage that ruled his life. “I would get in fights all the time for almost no reason. I would get so [upset] over the slightest thing. I would just go psycho. This was a real gigantic problem for me because I was just out of control.”
The difference, as the same former teacher observed, is that “Most grew out of that petty and destructive behavior, not so Marc Headley. He carried it forward into his adult life with little to no restraint.”
The patterns of his youth would repeat themselves over and over in adult life, with a disturbing streak of abusing women, a number of whom later came forward to document Headley’s violence and abuse in sworn testimony.
One co-worker, Jessica, distinctly recalled Headley’s abuse in an incident: “He physically shoved me around and was yelling to the point where I was in hysterical grief,” she wrote. On another occasion, Headley “came in and started hazing me. He called me various gross and disgusting names to the point I was totally upset.”
Another victim ran into a friend following a confrontation with Headley. “She was shaken up with some scratches and was bleeding,” the friend wrote. “I asked what happened and she said that she and Marc were arguing and he hit her and threw her down.”
Another young woman, Dana, described Headley’s reaction when she attempted to get him onto a work assignment: “He grabbed me and threw me into a pile of sand, scraping up my legs,” she said.
The next day, after being disciplined, Headley wrote: “I will adopt the policy, ‘Never push girls around.’ I have no problem with doing this and will abide by this to forevermore handle communication and any upsets that come my way.”
But, like so much of his life, the promise was dishonest.
Headley continued his pattern of bullying and violence, including against women, while working on sets at the Church’s film studio.
When makeup artist Samantha was slow in responding to a call to the set, Headley went out of his way to painfully frog-march her out. “He forcibly grabbed me by the back of the neck and by my arm and pushed me all the way out to the set which was several hundred yards away from the makeup room,” she later wrote in an affidavit on the incident. “This upset me very much and my arm and neck were painful for some hours.”
Headley became notorious for his explosive temper, going into screaming rages on the set at even the slightest provocation and, in more than one instance, putting his face one inch from his prey and amping up the decibels. He shoved, pushed, hit and knocked crew for mistakes or out of impatience.
In a particularly violent incident during a location shoot, Headley attacked a camera assistant, Quentin, a slight young man half Headley’s size. It began when Quentin called across the set to Headley during a delay, asking what was next.
“Next thing I knew,” Quentin recounted in later testimony, “I looked up and Marc came lunging at me and punched me in the face and then landed on me on the studio floor, punching me in the face and body and screaming at me.”
Several other crew pulled Headley off the young man, but not before damage had been done: “I had a swollen lip and cheek and my face was sore for a long time afterwards,” Quentin stated. “I was also scraped up on my back and arms from being tackled onto the studio floor.”
During that same period of filming, there were further reports by witnesses of physical outbursts by Headley, who admitted to his violence.
Discipline, demotions, removals and promises to reform were ultimately to no avail. Headley was soon back at it again, blowing up in the middle of a meeting with a female casting director about finances for a film shoot. According to the victim, Headley “got upset and started screaming as loud as he could. He started jumping up and down and banging his fists on the table. Then he jumped up on [a] desk and started stomping his feet and jumping up and down hard until he broke off a piece of the desktop. He was spitting and screaming as loud as he could at me.”
Krystal, a young woman responsible for staff studies and professional training, felt the brunt of one of Headley’s outbursts. As she detailed in a declaration, she tried to ask Headley about his lack of progress on his courses.
“He physically pushed me to such a degree that I fell to the floor,” she said, noting that she weighed 115 at the time, barely half Headley’s weight. “This was very upsetting, as I’d never been assaulted like this before. I assumed that he would apologize later, but he never did.”
In the months leading up to Headley’s sudden departure from the Church, he had a violent outburst with a colleague who worked in the financial department. Headley grabbed the man by the throat and pushed him against a wall with all the force his more than 200-pound bulk could muster. The day after, Headley shoved the same bewildered staff member against a pillar, injuring his neck and back.
An internal investigation revealed that Headley was involved in financial misconduct, waste and extravagance, including setting up a kickback scheme with a middleman in purchasing audiovisual equipment, costing the Church more than $250,000.
Finally, in January 2005, Headley ran away when he was under internal investigation for embezzlement, so he would not have to answer for his conduct.
Several years later, during a deposition in his disastrous lawsuit attempt against the Church, Headley was asked about his violence. While he had earlier readily recalled his attacks on his victims in his youth, he conveniently developed a hazy memory of his violence against his co-workers in more recent years when questioned under oath:
Q [ATTORNEY]: How many times did you punch Jon De Vries, different incidents?
A [MARC HEADLEY]: I have no idea.
Q: I understand there is an incident and you lunged for him, shoved him, knocked him down and hit him in the face while he was on the floor, several times?...Do you remember that?
A: I remember that a version of that happened.
Q: Do you remember an incident in May 2004 where [female colleague, Krystal] wanted to interview you; you refused and you pushed her away, actually pushed her down?
A: I don’t remember pushing her down.
Q: Do you deny touching her?
A: I don’t deny touching her. I don’t deny—I don’t remember.
Q: Sometimes when you have these incidents of great anger or violence, do you—does your memory kind of fade out a bit?
Headley would eventually answer, neither yes nor no.
But Marc Headley had long since explained for himself that going “psycho” was “a real gigantic problem for me, because I was just out of control.”