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Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey seeking 45 to life under harsh statute


Four victims initially came forward during LAPD investigation that lasted almost four years


Internal Church of Scientology documents confirmed accounts by one accuser



By Tony Ortega

After nearly a four-year-long investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today that it has charged Scientology celebrity and That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson for raping three women between the years 2001 and 2003, and is seeking a penalty of 45 years to life in prison.

Masterson, 44, surrendered himself in Los Angeles this morning in order to be booked and released. We are seeking responses to the charges from Masterson’s defense attorney, Tom Mesereau.

In March 2017, we broke the news that three women had come forward with allegations of being raped by Masterson in a period over 2001 to 2003. All three of the women had been Scientologists at the time, but are not Scientologists today.

What we’ve learned since then:

— Seven women eventually came forward, including four women who were never Scientologists. In her press release, Lacey only made reference to five women, three of whose allegations led to charges, and two whose cases she decided not to file.

— The LAPD obtained key internal Church of Scientology documents from the mother of one of the victims which show that the church knew about the allegations against Masterson. Also, the documents demonstrate that the victim’s story has not changed since she first reported it to the church in 2003.

— During one of the rapes, Masterson allegedly waved a firearm, which was a factor — along with forcible rapes against multiple women — in the DA’s decision to seek a 45-to-life prison sentence.

We’re asking Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw for a statement about the charges against Masterson, and we’ll let you know if she gets back to us.

The first woman who was allegedly assaulted, whom we’ve been referring to as Victim A but who identified herself publicly as Chrissie Carnell, never previously reported her 2001 rape because, she told police, the Church of Scientology had discouraged her from doing so.

In 2016 Carnell learned from friends about two other women who claimed to have been assaulted by Masterson, whom we’re referring to as Victim B and Victim C. It turned out that Victim B had reported her 2003 rape to the LAPD in 2004, but the police closed that investigation after the Church of Scientology submitted numerous affidavits countering the woman’s account. Victim C told us that she had previously had a bad experience with the church when a Scientologist boyfriend attacked her, and so she didn’t bother going to the church or the police when Masterson allegedly raped her in 2003.


After Carnell learned that there were two other women with stories similar to her own, she decided in November 2016 to go to police for the first time and report her incident. A week after she made that report to police, she contacted actress Leah Remini, whose A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, was about to debut.

Remini encouraged the women to speak with the police, and she even met with the LAPD’s first detective handling the case, Esther Reyes, as the investigation was just getting underway.

“I met with the LAPD. I met with Detective Reyes, and I told her these victims deserve to be heard,” Leah Remini told us. “I pointed out to her that there was a framed picture of a Scientologist on their wall, actor Michael Peña. Do you know what that says to a young Scientologist who comes here to seek justice? My experience with the LAPD has not been good. I asked her to do the right thing by these girls, and I told her that the world is watching.”

The investigation found that the three initial victims shared some similarities, but there were also some differences in their allegations.

According to a police report, Carnell had lived with Masterson in a relationship, but he attacked her in 2001 when she was unconscious: “Victim and suspect lived together for 6 years, but were not married. 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.”

Victim B’s story also involved a woman who was unconscious at the time that her assault began. In her case, it was at a 2003 party at Masterson’s house during which she became incapacitated by a single drink in a suspiciously quick time frame. “SUSP (acquaintance) sexually assaulted the victim while she was passed out. The victim woke up while the suspect was having sex with her and struggled with him. The suspect choked the victim until she passed out,” the police report for Victim B says.

A close family friend to Victim B told us that the Church of Scientology assigned Victim B months of expensive conditioning, requiring her to look into her past lives to find the reason that she had been victimized in her current life.

During the LAPD’s investigation, Victim B revealed that while she struggled with Masterson, he allegedly picked up a handgun and brandished it, which, if proven, greatly enhances a rape charge in California.

We spoke directly to Victim C, who told us that she too felt suspiciously incapacitated after accepting a drink from Masterson at his house in 2003. She said that even in her drunken state, she distinctly remembers telling Masterson that she didn’t want to have sex as he handled her roughly.

“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,” she said.

After telling their stories to the LAPD, all three women became very frustrated with the way the police department was handling the investigation, and suspected that its close relationship with the Church of Scientology had something to do with it.

In March 2017 we reported that Carnell had sent a letter to then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck with specific complaints about Det. Reyes and how long it was taking for witnesses to be interviewed.

After the story of the investigation broke, the three women continued to complain to the LAPD about how they were being treated by the department. The LAPD then replaced Det. Reyes with Det. Javier Vargas, and soon the interviews with witnesses began taking place in earnest.

And there was a break in the case: A source close to one of the victims turned out to have copies of internal Church of Scientology reports dating back to 2003 which showed that the victim has not changed her story, and that the church was aware of her allegations.


The LAPD’s investigation was presented to Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller in April 2017, who eventually sought approval from his boss, LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, to charge Masterson.

Danny Masterson is mostly known for his part as Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show, which ran from 1998 to 2006, and for helping to get one of his costars, Laura Prepon, into Scientology. Masterson himself grew up in Scientology and was doing television commercials by a very young age.

Like most Scientology celebrities, he rarely talks about his involvement in the church, but then suddenly he talked about it rather openly in 2015 to Paper magazine. “I’ve never been given a hard time my entire life about my belief system or my philosophy in life. Literally never once in 38 years,” he said. “If people start like asking questions in a way where I feel like they have an ulterior motive, I’m just like, ‘Dude, just go buy a fucking book and read it and decide for your fucking self what it means’….I work, I have a family and I’m a spiritual being who likes to understand why things happen in the world and want to learn more so that I can have them not affect me adversely. So if that’s weird, then, well, you can go fuck yourself.”

We’ll continue bringing you updates on the case as they come in.

UPDATE: Masterson was booked today and released on $3.3 million bail (he had to put up 10 percent of that, cash), and got an arraignment date in September.

That date is so far away in part because of the coronavirus mess, so Danny will have quite some time to spend not in custody before he will make his first appearance in court.

Here’s the statement put out by Masterson’s defense attorney, Tom Mesereau:

Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify.

Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.


March 3, 2017: LAPD probing Scientology and Danny Masterson for multiple rapes, cover-up
March 8, 2017: Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress
March 11, 2017: Scientology made Danny Masterson’s Victim B search past lives to explain being raped

May 9, 2017: Masterson hires Michael Jackson criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau in rape probe
Nov 2, 2017: Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
Nov 26, 2017: EXCLUSIVE: Scientology interrogated Danny Masterson and accuser, didn’t notify LAPD
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
July 8, 2018: Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
Nov 30, 2018: LEAH REMINI: Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, do your job already
Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday
Feb 3, 2020: Here’s Scientology actor Danny Masterson’s legal response to his rape accusers
Feb 10, 2020: Another dog poisoned: Bobette Riales says harassment worse since suing Scientology
Feb 26, 2020: SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
Feb 29, 2020: Amended complaint filed against Danny Masterson with new stalking allegations
March 14, 2020: Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
May 4, 2020: Danny Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves


Source Code

“I recall a patient encountering such a somatic where it seemed like mother had gotten the crabs. He complained about these crabs for about two weeks, and had scratched himself practically raw during that time. But he was held in that engram and had been there most of his life! That is what is known as getting crabs for 40 years.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 17, 1950


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We are making an offer to our ‘Clear Package Club’ members, of which we have many, we are happy to say! The org is expanding to larger and more upscale headquarters so, starting Monday, make an additional payment of $5K plus and receive your L11 free. A $5K service normally on its own.”


Random Howdy

“People bandy about the term ‘Satanist’ in relation to L. Ron Hubbard somewhat disingenuously. Aleister Crowley didn’t consider himself a ‘Satanist’ and Hubbard was a dilettante poseur playing at what he perceived to be ‘Satanism.’ A goodly portion of the Internet sites I’ve encountered in my readings and ‘research’ in the last five or so years that try to paint LRH as a some kind of serious Satanist have been Born-Again Christian sites, so they definitely have an agenda. Hubbard was about as much of a ‘real’ Satanist as Anton LaVey was. It was all part of the geek show for the rubes.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing was set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for October 7 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 August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: July 8 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), August 31-Sept 1 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed.


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

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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?



[ONE year ago] Mike Rinder returns to Scientology’s secretive Int Base! Well, sort of.
[TWO years ago] Scientology scores with political conservatives in Europe using the ‘religious freedom’ gambit
[THREE years ago] Paul Haggis: Marty Rathbun is using private info I gave him against Lawrence Wright
[FOUR years ago] Maryland county explains why (don’t call it Scientology) can take a hike
[FIVE years ago] Another document trove on L. Ron Hubbard’s troubled son, Nibs, the Scientology flip-flopper
[SIX years ago] LISTEN: Rare tape reveals how L. Ron Hubbard really came up with Scientology’s space cooties
[SEVEN years ago] SCIENTOLOGISTS AT WAR, the Channel 4 Documentary
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Neil Gaiman’s Mum Builds a Civilization!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Eruption: Commenters of the Week!


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 1,971 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,475 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,995 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,015 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 906 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,213 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,081 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,855 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,629 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,975 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,541 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,460 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,628 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,209 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,470 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,508 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,221 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,746 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,276 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,836 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,976 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,296 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,151 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,271 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,626 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,929 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,035 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,437 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,309 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,892 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,387 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,641 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,750 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 17, 2020 at 17:40

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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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