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Scientology celeb Danny Masterson to be arraigned today for raping three women

 
[UPDATE: Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau filed a demurrer and had the arraignment delayed until Oct. 19. See our reports from court down below.]

At 8:30 am Pacific today at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles, Scientology celebrity and That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson is scheduled to make an appearance and be arraigned on criminal charges. We expect to have someone on the scene and we’ll be bringing you reports as they come in.

Masterson is accused of raping three different women between 2001 and 2003 who were each Scientologists at the time. We’ve been reporting on these incidents since we first broke the news that the LAPD was investigating them in 2017, and we have a lot of background on their cases and why things have taken so long to get to this point. Here’s a brief breakdown on the individual cases.

Victim A (Chrissie Carnell Bixler)

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[From DA Jackie Lacey’s June 17 press release: “The defendant is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, according to the complaint.”] Chrissie Carnell dated Masterson for six years but then broke up with him after, she says, he raped her anally while she was unconscious in 2001. She reported the incident to the church at the time, which encouraged her not to take her allegations to law enforcement. In 2016 she learned for the first time that there were other women who had allegations against Masterson, and so she decided, with two of them, to approach the LAPD. She didn’t plan on making her name public, but when we broke the news of the investigation in March 2017, Masterson’s publicist Jenni Weinman attacked her by name. Most media redacted the name, but a few didn’t, and Chrissie felt at that point that she had no choice but to go public. Since then she’s been outspoken about Masterson and the harassment she says she’s been through since going to the LAPD. Last year, she appeared on the series finale of Leah Remini’s A&E program Scientology and the Aftermath, an episode that on Monday won the show its second Emmy award. In that episode, Chrissie described her allegations against Masterson, as well as Scientology’s efforts to keep her quiet. From the Daily Beast’s description of the show…

“Last thing I remember is getting up from the restaurant to go home. Complete blackout,” Bixler said. “The next day when I woke up the back of my head hurt, and I thought I’d fallen. I thought I was poisoned. I didn’t know where I was. He was downstairs sitting at his desk… I went downstairs and asked what happened. He just kind of chuckled. I said, ‘I’m in a lot of pain.’ I was ripped. I was injured. He started laughing. He said “Oh, I had sex with you last night.” I said, ‘Was I unconscious?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’”

In August 2019, Chrissie, along with three other victims, filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology over the harassment they say they’ve been through for coming forward. She was also joined as a plaintiff by her husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and the two of them talked to us about the surveillance they’ve been subjected to, which they say has included the death of two of their dogs.

Victim B (‘Jane Doe 1’ in the civil lawsuit)

[Lacey’s press release: “In April 2003, Masterson allegedly raped a 28-year-old woman…”]
Unlike the others, the woman we’re calling Victim B overcame Scientology’s objections and did report her incident to the LAPD at the time. She was a friend of Masterson’s but they were not dating when she attended a party at his house in April 2003. Late that night, she began to feel suspiciously drowsy after a single drink the actor brought her, and he tossed her in his backyard jacuzzi, then carried her up to his upstairs room. In and out of consciousness, she came to and realized that he was raping her. When she tried to push him away, she alleges that he choked her and brandished a firearm. When she complained to the church, it put her through months of bizarre counseling (known as “auditing” in Scientology) asking her to examine her past lives to find what evil things she had done in earlier centuries that would cause her to be a victim in this lifetime. The counseling cost her about $15,000 and was designed to keep her from going to the police, but she defied her “handlers” and went to the LAPD in June 2004. Scientology responded by submitting affidavits from church members calling her a liar, and the police closed the case, telling Victim B that they coudn’t continue it without other victims coming forward. When her case was re-opened in 2016 after Chrissie Carnell Bixler and Victim C came forward, the police department found that the reports from the 2004 investigation had mysteriously disappeared, the Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali reported. After the original LAPD investigation was closed in 2004, a church attorney brought Victim B a hand-written letter of apology from Masterson and asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement so she would never make her allegations public. Under pressure from the church, which threatened to “declare” her unless she complied, she signed the agreement and was paid in the low six figures. Key evidence bolstering Victim B’s case is documentation by her own mother which included correspondence with the church at the time, including her complaints to Scientology leader David Miscavige, proof that he was aware of the allegations and how the church was handling them.

Victim C (‘Jane Doe 2’ in the civil lawsuit)

[Lacey’s press release: “…and sometime between October and December of that year he is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman who he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home.”]
Like Victim B, Victim C was someone who had known Masterson but was not dating him when she accepted his invitation and went to his house in late 2003. She told us what happened in an interview.

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.”

Key evidence in Victim C’s case is that a veteran actress (we’re not naming her) told us that Victim C recounted these details to her at the time, in 2003, and that the details of her allegations have never changed.

District Attorney Jackey Lacey decided to file charges based on the allegations of these three women, and she’s seeking a penalty of 45 years to life. But in the same press release she said that she was not seeking charges on the allegations of two other women.

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One of these two women is Bobette Riales, who is among the four women suing Masterson, and her allegations are from 2003. In a charge evaluation worksheet, the DA’s office explains that the fifth woman’s allegations were from 1996 and sound very consistent with the other cases: “Victim-2 and the suspect are acquaintances. Victim-2 alleges the suspect sexually assaulted her on two separate occasions while unconscious, once in his home and subsequently in her home. The alleged offenses are beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution.”

We previously reported that seven women in total came forward to the LAPD, even if Lacey only made reference to five in her press release.

Masterson has maintained his innocence and has called the civil lawsuit a publicity stunt. We expect that he’ll enter a plea of not guilty this morning.

 
UPDATE: Our observer at the courthouse Jeffrey Augustine reported that Danny Masterson did attend with a large entourage and his defense attorney, Tom Mesereau. Augustine tells us that Mesereau did a lot of grandstanding, ranting about what a lousy case it was, based on old allegations, and that the media was largely to blame for it getting to this point. The court, however, denied his request to keep cameras out of the courtroom.

Mesereau was successful at having the arraignment delayed by filing a “demurrer” that the court will consider, moving the next hearing to October 19. If the court denies the demurrer, then Masterson will file a not guilty plea. But what Masterson’s wealth gets him is a shot at getting the case dismissed before he’s even entered a plea.

Some of the people spotted in Masterson’s entourage: his sister Alanna Masterson. His brother-in-law Billy Baldwin. We don’t know yet if his wife Bijou Phillips was there (everyone was wearing masks).

One blow for Masterson: As part of the protective order granted to the victims, he’ll have to turn in his firearms, and he’s a collector.

 
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: Leah Remini and Valerie Haney were with two of the victims in the courtroom. Part of what took so long was that the deputies had to coordinate how to get everyone into the room while practicing social distancing. Also, Masterson had tried to pack the courtroom with his large entourage, but some were kept out and had to listen in another room.

Part of Meserau’s rant was that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and DA Jackie Lacey had caved to pressure from the victims to file this case. We’re pretty sure the judge will see this as ridiculous whining. Of course victims are going to demand justice, and well they should, particularly when you consider how much these women have already been through.

It’s outrageous to us that Masterson gets to have a demurrer considered before he’s even entered a plea, but we think the DA side is confident that it won’t succeed and Masterson (this time not present in the courtroom) will file his not guilty plea on Oct. 19.

In the meantime, the victims won their protective order, and Masterson will have to abide by a bunch of rules, including turning in his firearms. So we think the victims are feeling pretty good about how things went today, even with Mesereau’s ability to delay things.

 

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ANOTHER IMPORTANT DETAIL: Leah Remini was in the courtroom because she had been named Chrissie Carnell Bixler’s support person while Cedric Bixler-Zavala was at home with their twins. Leah wasn’t just there as a spectator, but to provide emotional support for these victims.

 
Our court observer today…

 
SOME OF OUR PAST REPORTING ON THE MASTERSON CASE

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
Feb 14, 2018: PROSECUTORS PREPARE CHARGES CARRYING LIFE SENTENCE FOR DANNY MASTERSON
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband

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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
Aug 14, 2019: RAPE ACCUSERS SUE DANNY MASTERSON, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, AND ITS LEADER
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: Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves
June 17, 2020: SCIENTOLOGY CELEB DANNY MASTERSON CHARGED ON MULTIPLE RAPE ALLEGATIONS
June 19, 2020: Records show that Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?
June 23: 2020: The key thing about Danny Masterson’s ‘DJ Donkey Punch’ nick is why he stopped using it

 

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——————–

Source Code

“The fellow wants to get out of the woods and there are two trails. And one trail lies much deeper into the woods and the other trail goes out on to the plain. And all you have to do is put up a sign at the crossroads and point to that trail which goes deeper into the woods and say, ‘This way lies freedom,’ you see, and you’ve promptly trapped a lot of people.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 18, 1963

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“Imposing Scientology like Islam could not be done out of gradient. That would be done first on a Scientology country first. Processes for the lower levels are very simple. Change of environment and betterment of conditions is one.”

 
——————–

Random Howdy

“One of the few things I agree with the Scientologists on is that the whole Vistaril thing is weak. Vistaril, a/k/a hydroxyzine, is one theetie-wheetie drug. You need to take a whole bottle of this shit to even remotely get a buzz. Vistaril has never been considered a true psych drug. I know it is an antihistamine, anti itching agent. That’s how I first encountered it. The point is that us trying to say it’s a psych dug like Valium is absurd.”

 
——————–

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Demurrer filed by Masterson, arraignment delayed to October 19.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 5 in White Plains, NY. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
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. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.

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 29 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 26 (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 tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Update required in federal lawsuit on Oct 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

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

[Stacy Francis, Jason Dohring, and Anne Archer]

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] Scientologists facing felonies try ‘sovereign citizen’ gambit in tense L. A. court hearing
[TWO years ago] Giving Scientology TV a run for its money — it’s the premiere of the Bunker network!
[THREE years ago] Moss wins Emmy for portraying totalitarian cult victim and doesn’t care what you think about it
[FOUR years ago] In the wake of raids, Scientology’s sneaky consulting front shrinks markedly in Russia
[FIVE years ago] Scientology about to throw its Harlem party — and we need your eyes and ears!
[SIX years ago] RATHBUN SUIT: Scientology’s last swipe in its anti-SLAPP appeal before hearing next week
[SEVEN years ago] MISCAVIGE BLINKS: SCIENTOLOGY POSTPONES SUPER POWER INDEFINITELY

 
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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 2,064 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,568 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,088 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,108 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 999 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,306 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,174 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,948 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,752 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,068 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,634 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,553 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,721 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,302 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,563 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,601 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,314 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,839 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,369 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,929 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,069 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,389 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,244 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,363 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,719 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,022 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,128 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,530 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,402 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,985 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,480 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,734 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,843 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on September 18, 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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