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Forcing Scientology ‘arbitration’ on rape victims would be US courts imposing religion

[Chrissie Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and Danny Masterson]

We’ve just had a chance to read the brilliant opposition filed on behalf of Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Bobette Riales, and the others suing the Church of Scientology as they argue against the church’s attempt to stay their lawsuit and force them into “religious arbitration.”

Some of the arguments are similar to what we’ve seen before when Luis and Rocio Garcia fought the arbitration gambit, but what we especially like about this new document is how the attorneys for Bixler turn the tables on Scientology and inform Judge Steven Kleifield that if he grants the church’s motion, he’s essentially forcing religious rituals on women who are no longer Scientologists and no longer hold its beliefs. And what American court can force religious belief on any American citizen?

This is the lawsuit filed by four women who say they were violently raped by Scientologist actor Danny Masterson in incidents between 2001 and 2004. They came forward to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2016, and since then they say they have been subjected to a classic Scientology “Fair Game” harassment campaign. They’re suing Masterson, Scientology, and Scientology leader David Miscavige for that campaign of alleged stalking and invasion of privacy. (Chrissie’s husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, is also a plaintiff.)

Except for Riales, four of the five plaintiffs are all former Scientologists, so as in other lawsuits against the church Scientology has filed motions attempting to force the former church members into “religious arbitration,” saying that they promised not to sue the church in binding contracts.

Now, we have the opposition to those motions, filed on behalf of all four former Scientologists, and signed by their attorney Bobby Thompson. It starts with a rather well written introduction.

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This case is about four women who alleged that they were raped and after they reported it to the authorities, subjected to horrific, religiously motivated harassment and persecution. At one time, three of the four women victims were believers in Scientology, but no more. This motion to compel arbitration is an attempt to co-opt the judicial system into forcing former believers to be subjected to a religious ritual against their will — not a legally valid arbitration. The courts may not operate as enforcers for religious organizations against those they deem are apostate, or as the Church of Scientology labels them, “Suppressive Persons.”

Some of the other excellent points made in this document…

These agreements go on to state that if Plaintiffs bring lawsuits against Defendant, then that claim must be privately arbitrated and adjudicated by a panel of Scientologists, all of whom believe that Plaintiffs are an enemy of Scientology. Defendants “so-called” arbitration is not arbitration at all. Rather, it is a “Committee of Evidence,” which is a process that assures Plaintiffs will not have a fair proceeding for their claims to be heard.

The Plaintiffs who were members of the Church originally sought the Church’s religious services for their betterment, but in the aftermath of the alleged rapes by Defendant Danny Masterson — a leader and Field Staff Member in the Church — they rejected the Church’s teaching that they were not allowed to report the rapes and harassment to the authorities and abandoned the faith. For this, they were labeled “Suppressive Persons.”

It is unconstitutional under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment for a court to force a nonbeliever to be subjected to a religious ritual as a precondition to receiving civil justice….The court cannot compel a nonbeliever into a religious ritual, even if it is misleadingly labeled “arbitration.”

The so-called arbitration in this case is unenforceable in California for four reasons. First, the scope of the agreement does not cover the substance of the claims (rape and harassment in retaliation for reporting rape). Second, the agreement lacks neutrality, is unconscionable because the arbitrators are selected and qualified by one side only, and is ultimately subject to the authority of the “International Justice Chief” of Scientology, an employee of one of the parties to this litigation. Third, the court should not unilaterally invoke outside arbitration procedure because the Committee of Evidence rules are integral to the agreements. Fourth, enforcement of a religious ritual, or so-called arbitration, for rape and retaliation violates public policy.

It is undeniable that the plaintiffs signed the enrollment applications with an intent to spiritually better themselves. In contrast, Plaintiffs’ claims are for outrageous tortious conduct committed against them by Defendants after they left the Church. No reasonable person would think that signing such agreements would obligate them to arbitrate the damage arising from rape and related harassment.

By requiring that all members of the arbitration panel be Scientologists in good standing, the Agreement is appallingly one-sided. Not only are the arbitrators inherently biased based on their allegiance with the organization, but their own doctrine forbids them from so much as acknowledging the Suppressive Person. Instead, they are instructed to destroy those persons, in this case, the Plaintiffs.

As the judge suggested in the last court hearing for this case, Thompson has also included an argument for allowing discovery, which would move back the question of arbitration and give Bixler’s side a chance to conduct some depositions and other fact-gathering to test the claims of Scientology regarding the “religious contracts.”

It’s a powerful document, and it’s just a shame that something this well put together wasn’t also available in Valerie Haney’s case. But will it result in a better outcome than what befell Valerie? We’ll find out on March 27, when these arbitration motions will be heard.

Here’s the document itself…

Bixler v. Scientology: Oppo… by Tony Ortega on Scribd

 

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YouTube skateboard hero Aaron Kyro’s wife sure writes a creepy Scientology letter

The recipient of this letter posted it on Facebook yesterday and we have to say it’s one of the more aggressive and creepy that we’ve seen in a while.

“I hung up on a Scientology cold call then got this letter. When I called to get to the bottom of this, ‘Dani’ said the ‘invoice’ was a note written in the 1980s on a Hubbard book,” said the recipient. Take a look…

 

Hey, you hung up on me today. That was kind of a bummer. I figured I would just write you a letter.

I wasn’t cold calling you. I actually wanted to know what happened when you started the communication course with us. You started it, I have your invoice right here in front of me. But you never came back.

Just curious what happened.

Also, is there a reason you were so upset when I called?

Best,

Danielle Kyro
Consultant

That letter came from the San Francisco org, where YouTube skateboarder Aaron Kyro is a staff member, and Danielle is his wife.

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We told you recently that Aaron had been called down to Los Angeles to help recruit staff for the new Ventura Org. And he and Danielle showed up last year as “Silver Meritorious” donors, having given at least $750,000 to Scientology. That’s really an enormous amount of cash for a Scientology staffer, but those YouTube vids may be paying pretty well.

 

[Aaron and Danielle with their Silver Meritorious trophy]

Scientology is really pretty desperate these days, and with very few new people coming in, it’s reduced to spamming people with letters asking them about a book they bought or a course they took decades ago. Modern methods are used to track those people down, perhaps decades after they had any interaction with Scientology, and then staffers like Danielle Kyro are tasked with calling them up or sending a letter that will provoke a reaction.

Yes, it’s about as pathetic an exercise that something calling itself a “church” could be engaged in, and we’d love it if the next journalist who gets a chance to interview Aaron about his skateboarding also thinks to ask a question about why his wife is writing such sketchy letters for Scientology. We’d love to see his reaction.

 
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Source Code

“Christ bore the burdens of all man and the world, didn’t he? So, if a person keeps on offending, offending, offending against the seventh dynamic, he will eventually offend so wrongly and so widely and broadly that his only solution to it is to wind up as Christ. This isn’t saying that’s the route that Christ went although some of the lost books of the Bible tell you how he spent his early youth using his powers to destroy those around him. You may not be aware of these early accounts. There’s one story, in these lost books of the Bible, about his blinding a playmate merely by telling him to go blind.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 8, 1952

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“A few have said that they communicate with LRH telepathically, but none that I have found credible. I suspect that he did bypass a lot of charge and that he needs time to recover. I expect to meet him again one day but it might be a while.”

 

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Random Howdy

“I’d bet the farm that this isn’t the end of the battle for the mind of poor Suri. This was only round one. Things will get ugly, real ugly, further down the road.”

 
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Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for April 14 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
— Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for April 16
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology: March 11 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice, defense motions to quash), March 20 (demurrers by Masterson and Scientology), March 27 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe’s attorneys have asked for discovery, March 19 depositions (Warren McShane, Lynn Farny), April 20 hearing set (motion to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Complaint filed.

 
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Start making your plans…

 
Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Can Scientology be tripped up by consumer protection? You must hear this pitch.
[TWO years ago] While in hiding, Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard sent advice to newly elected Ronald Reagan
[THREE years ago] Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress, but will LAPD answer the call?
[FOUR years ago] BACK ON: Scientology ‘disconnection’ billboard OK’d by competitor after Outfront Media bails
[FIVE years ago] Scientology really, really, really doesn’t want you to see this movie
[SIX years ago] Jon Atack: Why it takes so long to recover from Scientology
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Targets Aussie Kindergartners, Swedish Grade Schoolers
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology + Nation of Islam Charter School to be Exorcised from the Earth Forever and Ever

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,871 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,375 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,895 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 915 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 806 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,113 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,981 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,755 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,529 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,875 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,441 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,360 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,528 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,109 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,370 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,408 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,121 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,646 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,173 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,736 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,876 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,196 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,051 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,171 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,526 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,829 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,935 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,337 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,209 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,792 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,287 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,541 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,650 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 8, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 14 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele

 

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