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The Underground Bunker has learned that the Special Circumstances Committee in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has approved charging Scientology actor Danny Masterson with multiple violent rapes under a sex crimes penal code that carries with it a life sentence in prison.

Also known as California’s “one-strike law,” state penal code 667.61 has been described as “among the state’s stiffest criminal sentencing provisions,” not only because it carries penalties of 15-to-Life and 25-to-Life for sex crimes, but also because the 1994 code, amended under “Jessica’s Law” in 2006, has no statute of limitations.

After approval by the DA’s powerful internal committee made up of managers in the DA’s office, the case now waits for approval from the District Attorney herself, Jackie Lacey.

Four women have come forward to allege that Masterson raped them between 2001 and 2004. One of the four women, whom we’re referring to as “Victim B,” reported her allegations to the LAPD in 2004 in a case that was subsequently closed under intense pressure by the Church of Scientology. Three of the women, including Victim B, then came forward to the LAPD in the fall of 2016, and we broke the news of the police investigation last March. (All three of those women had been Scientologists at the time of their attacks.) A fourth victim later also came forward who was never a Scientologist. In April, the LAPD handed the case over for prosecution to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.


Last fall, the Huffington Post reported that despite “overwhelming evidence” the case was taking so long because it had been put on a “slow roll” in the DA’s office. But now we’ve learned that part of the reason for the delay is that prosecutors are seeking such a severe penalty, which required review by the Special Circumstances Committee.

A defendant can be charged under penal code 667.61 if a rape is committed with special circumstances, including inflicting “aggravated mayhem or torture,” and for committing multiple rapes.

In previous stories, we’ve pointed out that Victim B told police that she had apparently been drugged at an April 2003 party at Masterson’s house, and when she came to she was being raped by Masterson. When she tried to struggle free, he allegedly choked her into unconsciousness. Victim C, meanwhile, told us that she was violently raped by Masterson even after telling him multiple times that she didn’t want to have sex with him. Like the other victims, Victim C believed that she had been drugged. “He flipped me over and just started pounding me. I was trying not to vomit. I said no like 50 times,” Victim C told us. “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.” According to Victim A’s police report, “Vict went to bed and when she woke up and was bleeding from her anus. Vict confronted the suspect, he laug[h]ed at her and told her he had sex with her in her anus.”

Masterson has denied the allegations and has hired defense attorney Tom Mesereau. In December he was dropped by Netflix from The Ranch, a series that features his That ’70s Show costar Ashton Kutcher. He was also dropped by his management company, United Talent Agency.

When we broke the news about the LAPD investigation in March, Masterson’s representatives claimed that his accusers had been put up to their allegations by actress Leah Remini: “We are aware of [Victim A’s] 16-year-old allegations. It was only after [Victim A] was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson…Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since [Victim A] only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.”

That isn’t true. In the fall of 2016, Victim A actually made her first report to her local police department, which then referred her case to the LAPD. (She was not living in California then, but she recently moved back to Los Angeles.) Only after she made that report to the police did she reach out to Remini, whose first season of A&E’s Scientology and the Aftermath was about to begin.

Remini not only didn’t put the victims up to reporting their allegations, when the DA’s office told her that an episode of Aftermath featuring interviews with the first three accusers might compromise the investigation, she convinced A&E not to air it.

If Remini gets a third season for Aftermath — and we still haven’t heard any definitive word about that — she may have another chance to air that episode with Masterson’s accusers, who are all now no longer members of the Church of Scientology.

Scientology’s involvement in these cases is integral to understanding them, even if some media outlets have all but erased the church from their stories.

Last year, for example, we reported that Victim B was “handled” by the Church of Scientology after her April 2003 rape by forcing her to go through months of counseling — known as auditing — at the Advanced Org of Los Angeles (AOLA) to search for acts of wrongdoing in her “past lives” that would explain why she had been victimized in her current life. Victim B spent tens of thousands of dollars on that counseling.

But then, on December 26, 2003, Victim B was given something called a “non-enturbulation order,” informing her that she was on the verge of being declared a “suppressive person,” Scientology’s version of excommunication. She was then ordered to report to the Hollywood Celebrity Centre for an interrogation known as a “security check.”

Such interrogations occur while the subject is holding on to the sensors of an “E-meter,” a simple device that reacts to tiny fluctuations in electrical current in the skin. Scientologists are conditioned to believe that the device can infallibly read their minds and can tell when they are holding back information (known as “withholds”), and so E-meters are very effective interrogation tools — Scientologists believe they cannot hide anything under such questioning.

Victim B was interrogated at the same time that Danny Masterson was also separately being questioned — both of them by the same “auditor,” a woman named Angie LaClaire.

What followed those interrogations was a bizarre scene set up by the church, when it insisted on putting Masterson and his accuser in the same room with three church members as observers. Masterson was told to listen carefully to her version of events because, he was told, he wasn’t properly “confronting” what he was accused of.

In other words, the Church of Scientology credited Victim B’s account enough to back her up as she confronted Masterson with what she remembered of that night, even if the church did not have LaClaire report her findings to the LAPD.

Twice during Victim B’s account, Masterson interrupted her to make jokes, and the observers reacted angrily to Masterson as Victim B refused to continue.

After that disastrous meeting, Victim B went to the LAPD on June 6, 2004, despite the church’s threats if she did so.

By July 2004, however, the LAPD told Victim B that they had been “bombarded” by an attorney representing Masterson, and the church had sent numerous affidavits by witnesses to contradict Victim B and support Masterson. Unless another victim came forward, Victim B was told, the investigation was being closed. (But the case was not found to be “without merit,” as Masterson and his representatives have claimed.)

After the case was closed, in August 2004 a church attorney brought Victim B a hand-written letter of apology from the actor, and asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Masterson so she would never make her allegations public. Under threats by Masterson’s attorney that she would be smeared in the press if she didn’t sign, and pressure from the church, which again threatened to “declare” her unless she complied, she signed the agreement and was paid in the low six figures.

Since then, the LAPD has lost all files from its 2004 investigation, according to reporting by the Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali.

Masterson’s defenders are quick to say that the allegations made by his four accusers are as much as 16 years old. What they are less apt to say is that Victim B went to the police, against the persuasive power of the Church of Scientology, and in a timely fashion.

Now, the DA’s office is convinced that Masterson deserves to be charged and should face life in prison. But will the DA herself, Jackie Lacey, agree?


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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,025 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,628 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 171 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,234 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,008 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,782 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,128 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,622 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,662 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,374 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 900 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,989 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,129 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,449 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,424 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 780 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,082 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,188 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,591 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,463 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,045 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,550 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,794 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,903 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 14, 2018 at 07:00

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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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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