On Friday, the Underground Bunker revealed that the LAPD is investigating That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson in three cases of rape or sodomy of women who, like Masterson himself, were members of the Church of Scientology. In our story, we included police reports for two women we referred to as Victim A and Victim B. And later that day, the LAPD itself confirmed that it was investigating the three cases of sexual assault.
Again, we want to emphasize that Masterson has not been charged with a crime, and he has put out a statement denying any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, in a Feb. 22 letter to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Victim A complained that the investigation has been plagued with mistakes and inaction caused, she believes, by the LAPD’s relationship with the Church of Scientology.
The allegations spelled out in the police reports for Victim A and Victim B were disturbing, and they were similar to each other. At that time, we had no information about Victim C.
But now, we’ve talked with Victim C, who has told us her story about being attacked by Masterson late in the year 2003, a story she says she has told to the LAPD. We’ve also spoken to a veteran Hollywood actress who tells us Victim C told her about the alleged rape just after it happened, and who is trying to get the LAPD to hear her corroboration of Victim C’s story.
Victim C tells us that both of her parents were involved in Scientology, and her mother went far, becoming a case supervisor and getting to OT 3 on the “Bridge to Total Freedom” before getting less involved after she got pregnant. As a result, Victim C didn’t grow up in the church, but instead was encouraged to get auditing when she experienced anxiety in high school.
“I enjoyed the beginning courses. I was naive. I was seduced by the idea that Scientology had answers,” she says. “I met all these people, and it felt like I had a community. And Danny was a part of that community.”
Through the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, she got invited to events where Masterson and his friends socialized. One night, a friend of hers asked her to come along and meet up with Danny and one of his friends for a drink.
“Danny was just staring at me the whole night, flirting intensely,” she remembers. Later, she heard from her friend that Danny was still talking about the encounter. And then, he began sending her messages.
“He was texting me furiously. ‘Come over, now.’ He would speak to me in a commanding way. ‘Get over here right now. You are coming over here right now,’ he’d say. I was 23 years old at the time, and I was really shy, so this was totally disorienting,” she says.
“I thought, well, if he liked me, he should at least take me out. But he kept texting. ‘You’re going to come over, have a glass of wine, and get into my jacuzzi.’ I thought that he was being playful, that it was like a game. ‘No, I don’t want to do it like that,’ I told him.”
After more prodding, she agreed to come over for a drink.
“When I got there, I thought, OK, we’ll sit down and have a glass of wine and talk and see how that goes. But as soon as he opened the door, he held out a glass of wine to me. ‘Drink that wine, right now. Drink it,’ he said, like he was commanding me.”
She says he led her to the back of the house where his jacuzzi was, and he began to demand that she take off her clothes and get in the water. She said she told him that she didn’t want to.
“Do it now. Get in the water.”
Before coming over, she says she did have one glass of wine, and then she had the one Danny gave her. And it was having an unusual effect on her, she says. “I felt really tired and drunk.”
And it seemed to have an effect on her memory. “I don’t really remember being in the jacuzzi. But I can remember that we were in his shower, and I was saying ‘No, I don’t want to do this.’ He entered me, and I flipped out because I had been saying I didn’t want to do this.”
Her next memory is being in his bed. “He flipped me over and just started pounding me. I was trying not to vomit. I said no like 50 times. But it was just sort of happening. I was saying no a lot, but it didn’t matter to him. I kept trying not to puke on his bed while he was doing it. It was pretty brutal. I said no 50 fucking times, but he wasn’t listening. And it was really horrible the way he was doing it.”
At some point, she says, she said to him that if he wasn’t going to stop, she at least wanted him to put on a condom.
“I can’t remember if he did it or not. He kept going and going and going, and I was a rag doll, basically. When I did try to turn over, he kept flipping me over.”
He didn’t choke or slap her, as Victim B alleged. And she didn’t lose consciousness, as alleged by Victim A. But in other ways Victim C’s allegations are very similar to those being made by the other two women. After staying up late into the night, Victim C eventually made her way home.
“It was so confusing to me what had happened. I misunderstood for so long what it was. Because he didn’t hit me, I didn’t realize it was rape for a long time.”
Masterson didn’t try to repeat the performance. “He disposed of me completely,” she says. “He never tried to see me again. And I was ashamed of all of it.”
Unlike the other two victims, Victim C didn’t get pulled in by the Church of Scientology after the incident. And she didn’t bring it to the church’s attention.
She explains that before Danny, she’d had a Scientologist boyfriend who, after she broke up with him, attacked her at a party where they happened to run into each other.
“We made an appointment with the Scientology chaplain,” she says. And she told the chaplain what had happened: “Outside the house where the party was there were some long stairs. He had pushed me down and raped me on them. I vomited on the stairs. Then we got in a cab and went back to my apartment. But they both said that wasn’t rape. And anyway, you can’t really say that kind of thing about a Scientologist. That’s not what rape is, they said.”
She had that experience in mind in her confusion about what had happened with Masterson. “There was nothing good about that experience with the chaplain, and there was no way I was going to go there with Danny, one of their favorite celebrities, and tell them, ‘Well, I know I haven’t been on course a lot, but here’s what he did to me.’ No way.”
She was still trying to understand what she’d really experienced, she says. “It took me a while to understand what had happened. So I didn’t go to the church, and I didn’t go to the police. I was scared of Danny and the church. I’d already had a bad experience. I didn’t want to put myself in that position.”
If Victim C was having trouble understanding what had happened, her friend tells us she knew immediately that what had happened to Victim C was a sexual assault.
The friend, a veteran Hollywood actress, says she’s a regular reader of the Underground Bunker, and when she read Friday’s story, she immediately thought of her friend telling her about what had happened with Masterson soon after the incident.
“She had gone over to hang out with Danny. He was pressuring her to drink, and they were fooling around. She was telling him that she didn’t want to have sex. And she was freaked out that it was unprotected. She was pretty young at the time and embarrassed. And I told no one,” the actress says.
And Victim C told very few other people. About three years ago, she and her actress friend drifted apart.
Then, several months ago, Victim C heard from Victim A, who had heard about her from a mutual acquaintance.
“We started to talk. That was when she told me about [Victim B], and I was just in shock. We talked a little about Leah Remini, and about making police reports. [Victim A] said that the detective would call me. And then she did. And I told the detective my story.”
She credits the other women with giving her the determination to get involved in the investigation. “[Victim A] has really been there for me. I only came forward when I learned that it had happened to other women. I never was going to come forward if it only happened to me. I didn’t want the church coming after me,” she says.
After our story ran Friday, the actress, who hadn’t spoken to Victim C in three years, contacted her to see if she’d read it. Then Victim C told her that she was, in fact, one of the women that the LAPD was talking to.
Yesterday, the actress emailed the LAPD, offering to tell them what Victim C told her in 2003 as corroboration of her story.
The actress says she got a strange reply from Captain William Hayes, calling her by a man’s name that in no way resembled her own: “Thanks, [man’s name], I will give to the I/O’s [investigating officers].”
The actress emailed back, pointing out what her actual name was, and offered her phone number.
She says she hopes the LAPD cares enough to give her a call.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
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