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Valerie Haney reacts to setback in lawsuit against Scientology: ‘I will continue to fight’

Last week, we reported that Valerie Haney’s attempt at a do-over in her lawsuit against the Church of Scientology had failed, the latest setback in what appeared to be a major legal attack against the church and its leader, David Miscavige, when Valerie first filed it in June 2019.

Valerie alleges that she was held against her will for years at Scientology’s secretive Gold Base near Hemet, California, so that she had to escape by hiding in the trunk of a car. She then went to work for Leah Remini as her assistant and became the focus of the premiere episode of third and final season of Leah’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. As she did that work, Valerie says she was subjected to a fierce ‘Fair Game’ retaliation campaign by Scientology, which included being smeared online. In her lawsuit, she alleged kidnapping, slander, libel, and other counts.

But Scientology successfully derailed her lawsuit in January by convincing Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge Jr that because Valerie had signed an exit agreement promising to take all disputes to Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration” she was bound to that contract and could not sue Scientology in civil court — even though most of the things she’s alleging took place after she had left her job.

Last week, Judge Burdge denied her motion for reconsideration after she presented what she said was new evidence, that documents show Scientology actually fired her a week before she signed the exit agreement. But the judge sided with Scientology’s attorneys, who said the new evidence wasn’t actually new at all because it appeared in documents that had already been on record in the lawsuit.


Valerie has been refraining from making public statements as her lawsuit moves through the court, but after this latest blow, she decided to say something.

“Of course I was disappointed in the ruling of the court. But I have not given up hope, nor my determination to fight,” Valerie told us. “I believe in the idea this country was founded on, that everyone has a right to choose and practice the religion of their choice. That is what is at stake here. I do not believe anyone should be forced to participate in any religion they choose not to be part of. I have definitely chosen not to be part of Scientology. I was fooled for many years. Scientology wants me to submit to their control and practices, their made-up Scientology ‘arbitration’ even though I am not a Scientologist and they have declared me a ‘Suppressive Person.’ Their arbitration is no different than what I experienced when I was a Scientologist — the Scientology ‘justice system’ is not justice at all. I still believe in our American judicial system and will continue to fight for proper justice. I will keep fighting until that day comes.”

Our Los Angeles legal expert tells us that Valerie faces two options if she wants to continue battling Scientology in this litigation. First, she could go through with Scientology’s “religious arbitration,” which we found in the Garcia case was farcical and completely stacked against an ex-Scientologist. After submitting to that procedure, Valerie could then appeal Judge Burdge’s decision to force her to go through it, and a higher court would be obligated to consider her appeal.

Her other option is to file a petition for a writ of mandamus to a higher court now, arguing that she faces extraordinary circumstances. But a higher court would be under no obligation to grant the petition, and like the motion for reconsideration which just failed, it would be another long shot.

In her statement, Valerie appears pretty dead-set against going through with the arbitration, and we certainly can’t blame her for that. Could a petition for a writ then be in her future? We’ll keep watching.


Ivan Matsitsky

In Russia, trial begins for Scientologist the US government calls a ‘prisoner of conscience’

Two years ago, we told you about the problems of trying to make sense of what was going on with a criminal prosecution of five Russian Scientologists in St. Petersburg.

For years, Vladimir Putin’s forces have tried to crack down on Scientology, often with heavy-handed methods and with uncertain results. After numerous and repeated very showy raids on Scientology’s facilities in Moscow and elsewhere, Ivan Matsitsky and four others were facing charges of “illegal entrepreneurial activity, leadership of an extremist community, and humiliation of human dignity.”

What that actually means has been hard to determine here, in part because there is no independent media in Russia. (The one time your proprietor was interviewed by Russian press about Scientology, our words were then used to convey the exact opposite meaning of what we had actually said.)

Even more troubling, the treatment of Matsitsky, which included two years of pre-trial detention on those vague charges, elicited the support of the US government. In 2018, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) labeled Matsitsky a “prisoner of conscience,” and called for him to be released ahead of trial. Last fall, he was released with travel restrictions, which the USCIRF hailed as a victory.

We’ve previously described the situation as one that makes us queasy…

While the Underground Bunker has expressed its own concerns about the Russian government’s methods — namely, that its justice system is a joke, its rights record is horrendous, and we don’t trust an abject dictator like Vladimir Putin to deal honestly with Scientology’s very real controversies and abuses — it makes us equally queasy to see the US government getting involved with standing up for Scientologist leaders as “prisoners of conscience.”


So, while it’s tempting to root on the Russian courts for calling Scientology an “extremist sect,” we think it should be kept in mind that there are serious concerns about the Russian court’s ability to handle this matter properly, for the Russian media to report it sensibly, and that it really makes us uncomfortable that a branch of the US government has backed a Scientologist against what it sees as religious persecution.


Source Code

“As there are sharks about the ship, the overboard ceremony is about to be resumed for Dianetic Auditors who flub commands, fail to complete sessions or fail to let PCs have wins or who fail to complete study from the Coaudit group and get onto auditing. Two flubbed Dn sessions out of 10 is about what we’re running just now and that is 2 too many. Dianetics is very simple to do. The great auditors are the VIIIs. We have had several Dianetic auditors who were great. They are now moving on up through VI to VIII. This new scarcity of flubless Dianetic auditors results I am sure from lazy study and false passes on materials and TRs 101 to 104. I want a flood of new Dianetic Auditors who have actually passed their bulletins and drills.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 19, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“LRH said, ‘No squirrel has lasted more than 2 or 3 years in the past sixteen years. And there have been many.’ See how Justin emerged in 2017 and by 2020 see how he crumbled and as a revenge, he is declaring ‘Scientology dead’ and developing his own stuff with its own name. He is now in the process of splintering. The same thing that the previous squirrels did.”


Random Howdy

“I know of two people who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses and joined Scientology. You might be surprised at the amount of cult cross-pollination that goes on. There is a certain ‘follower’ personality type in this world.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for August 27 in White Plains, NY
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Motion for reconsideration denied on August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 4 (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, trial set for Nov 9, 2021. Plaintiffs granted permission to file changes to amended complaint by Sept 4.


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] Even when it gets good press, Scientology reminds us that it uses slave labor
[TWO years ago] Oh gross: Scientology Sea Org now saluting donors who give for ‘Ideal Orgs’
[THREE years ago] What Scientology itself says about the way it’s going to change how your mind works
[FOUR years ago] Gawker goes dark, but its impact on Scientology — and Tom Cruise — will never be forgotten
[FIVE years ago] Why Steve Fishman — of the notorious Fishman Papers — is today serving 21 years in prison
[SEVEN years ago] How Does Scientology’s Cosmology Really Work? Historian Jon Atack Has a Theory
[EIGHT years ago] (2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 21 & 22
[NINE years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 19: The Squirrel Busters


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 2,034 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,538 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,058 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,078 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 969 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,276 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,144 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,918 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,722 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,038 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,604 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,523 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,691 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,272 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,533 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,571 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,284 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,809 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,339 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,899 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,039 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,359 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,214 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,333 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,689 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,992 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,098 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,500 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,372 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,955 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,450 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,704 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,813 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 19, 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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