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Could Marsy’s Law foil Scientology’s attempt to force rape victims into ‘arbitration’?

[At a 2008 rally, a marcher with a photo of Marsy Nicholas. AP photo.]

Another big day looms in the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s rape accusers against the actor and the Church of Scientology, and it turns out that a question raised by one of our own commenters here at the Underground Bunker might actually have some effect on it.

Five people are suing Masterson, Scientology, and Scientology’s leader David Miscavige over what they allege has been a campaign of harassment since the women came forward in 2016 and 2017 to the LAPD with allegations that they were violently raped by the That ’70s Show actor in incidents that occurred between 2001 and 2004. They first filed the lawsuit in August 2019, and on June 16 Masterson was charged criminally with raping three of the women and is facing 45 years to life in prison. He’s scheduled to be arraigned on November 2 and has indicated he plans to enter a not guilty plea.

Masterson’s early attempt to derail the lawsuit failed when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield overruled Masterson’s demurrer two weeks ago. But Scientology’s big play, as it has been in other lawsuits, is to try and force the four plaintiffs who were members of the church — Chrissie Carnell Bixler, her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and two women going by the names Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 — into “religious arbitration.”

In two earlier lawsuits Scientology was successful at convincing judges that former Scientologists suing the church had to instead be forced into Scientology’s internal religious arbitration because of agreements they signed in order to receive church services. Luis and Rocio Garcia’s federal lawsuit in Tampa was shut down with this strategy, and they’re currently appealing the decision to the Eleventh Circuit. Valerie Haney’s lawsuit was also forced into arbitration earlier this year, and she’s petitioned for a writ of mandate hoping that a California court will grant her an appeal.

Scientology’s attorneys are showing signs that they’re eagerly anticipating a similar result in the Masterson lawsuit, and Judge Kleifield is scheduled to hear the matter on Monday.

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The attorneys for Bixler and the others filed oppositions that argued that subjecting former members of a religion to a “religious ritual” like Scientology’s internal arbitration (where the three arbiters, for example, must all be members of the church in good standing) is a violation of their religious freedom.

This week, Scientology answered that argument in replies (we have links for them below) which say that Scientology’s religious arbitration is not a “religious ritual” and that these former members are still subject to the contracts they signed, even after leaving the organization.

But there’s another argument we haven’t seen raised in any of the court papers on either side that was recently raised not by an attorney in the case but by one of our own commenters here at the Underground Bunker, who goes by the handle Ruby:

If the victims are compelled to arbitration, it would seem that the records of that procedure could be subpoenaed for the criminal case? And…if the arbitration (Committee of evidence) was being fair (cough cough), they should be calling Danny Masterson as a witness, as well as the chaplain who dealt with them. Of course we know that wouldn’t happen. The intertwining of these defendants can not be avoided, in my opinion.

We have heard from numerous court observers that this comment was spot on.

For help understanding why, we contacted an attorney who has a lot of success litigating against the Church of Scientology, Ray Jeffrey. Ray told us that this was a great argument, and he pointed out that now that Masterson has been charged with rape, his victims enjoy protections under California’s version of “Marsy’s Law.”

“It seems like it would be a good argument to make in the civil hearing that by trying to push the thing into religious arbitration, Scientology is violating the protections they have from Marsy’s Law now,” he says. “Trying to push them into religious arbitration is a form of intimidation. To get them behind closed doors? And perhaps with their rapist? I think they’re entitled to this protection.”

We don’t know if Judge Kleifield is actually going to rule on the arbitration motions on Monday. The plaintiffs’ attorneys have been asking for discovery — they’d like to take depositions, for example, to get information about the contracts that Scientology says the women and Cedric signed while they were Scientologists that might then be used to counter the arbitration argument. And at one point in a previous hearing, Judge Kleifield indicated that he has given time for limited discovery in similar situations.

So if he grants that request, not only would it give time for Brian Kent’s team to develop arguments about the criminal case providing protections for the women, but Masterson himself has asked for a stay in the case that will be heard in January which is likely to put the lawsuit on ice until after his criminal case is concluded.

A lot to think about on Monday, and we’ll be doing our best to keep up on what the judge rules.

Here are the replies that the Church of Scientology International and the Religious Technology Center filed this week ahead of Monday’s hearing…

 
CSI’s reply to opposition to its motions to compel arbitration

RTC’s reply to opposition to its motions to compel arbitration

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Scientology UK opens the books

Scientology’s organization in the UK has made its annual financial disclosure, which it has to do by law. Known there as the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated (COSRECI), Scientology gives up more information by law than it does here in the country where it was founded. We look forward to our financial wizards taking apart this information…

COSRECI Annual Account 2019 by Tony Ortega

 
Here are the overall numbers for previous years, in pounds.

1999 Income 5,704,655 Expenditure 5,951,708 Surplus (247,053)
2000 Income 8,610,042 Expenditure 7,501,045 Surplus 1,108,997
2001 Income 9,204,860 Expenditure 8,922,040 Surplus 282,820
2002 Income 8,353,743 Expenditure 6,477,851 Surplus 1,875,892
2003 Income 10,129,645 Expenditure 8,606,339 Surplus 1,523,306
2004 Income 9,822,963 Expenditure 10,243,242 Surplus (420,279)

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2005 Income 10,311,696 Expenditure 10,372,066 Surplus (60,370)
2006 Income 11,424,607 Expenditure 11,990,016 Surplus (565,409)
2007 Income 20,987,594 Expenditure 14,909,054 Surplus 6,078,540
2008 Income 12,958,196 Expenditure 17,515,645 Surplus (4,556,449)
2009 Income 12,341,616 Expenditure 10,703,331 Surplus 1,638,295
2010 Income 11,155,497 Expenditure 12,706,997 Surplus (1,551,500)

2012 Income 12,837,570 Expenditure 12,713,815 Surplus 123,755
2013 Income 12,535,163 Expenditure 13,738,269 Surplus (1,203,106)
2014 Income 10,805,637 Expenditure 9,966,943 Surplus 838,694
2015 Income 15,436,019 Expenditure 18,722,024 Surplus (3,286,005)
2016 Income 44,126,202 Expenditure 34,876,929 Surplus 9,249,273
2017 Income 51,338,464 Expenditure 43,729,719 Surplus 7,608,745
2018 Income 46,284,001 Expenditure 45,789,807 Surplus 494,194
2019 Income 30,196,981 Expenditure 36,408,647 Surplus (8,211,668)

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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks, the series axed by Seven News

In July the Australian Seven News network cancelled at the last minute a ten-part nightly news in-depth investigation of the Church of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks operations. All ten episodes were leaked to the Internet, and we (temporarily) posted embeds of the video segments and then collected all ten links in one place. Judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.

 
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SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

 
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Source Code

“You want to know what is wrong with the fellow? Let’s say that when he is very young somebody decides to take his tonsils out….Later on he meets some doctor who says, ‘Well, the reason you have ulcers is because … ?’ Actually, it was because one of the doctors during the tonsillectomy — this fellow’s earlier colleague — had an elbow in the patient’s stomach. I think doctors knew this all the time, by the way. I am sure they had this all worked out. The doctor leans his elbow on this young would-be writer’s stomach, and he grinds this elbow down while he is holding the patient. Later on the fellow has to be operated on for ulcers. You can make more money this way and send your children to better colleges.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 22, 1951

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Overheard in the FreeZone

“There are many blogs that publish a lot bad news about ‘Scientology’ when they are not really talking about Scientology at all, but rather about the CHURCH of Scientology and its suppressive ‘leaders.’ After reading some of those, it is such a pleasure to read about the great personal wins that people are having applying actual Scientology rather than the pretend stuff, e.g., GAT. Exposing the crimes of the Church of Scientology is a very important thing to do, but the wins that people are giving and receiving using the TECH will always be the more important story in the long run. The church will die thanks to those who bring the light of truth to expose its contra-survival acts. But people helping themselves and other people with the TECH and enhancing life all over the world are also important positive forces creating a better future.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1999: Bob Minton reported that the newly formed Lisa McPherson foundation is being blocked from renting office space in Clearwater, Florida. “We were informed this morning that MKV Realty, which owns the Sun Trust Building at 601 Cleveland Street, has refused to rent the space we intended to occupy to either the Lisa Foundation or me. The buck has been passed up to a gentleman named ‘Rusty’ who has yet to return my call. Ken Dandar will also speak to Rusty when Rusty is available.”

 
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Random Howdy

“So when your certificates get canceled, whose job is it to track down all those engrams and body thetans and tell them they need to re-implant and re-attach themselves?”

 
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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 November 2.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 29 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

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.’ Petition for a writ of mandate filed with Cal 2nd Appellate District, Sept 10.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Oct 26 (motions to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Oct 19: Feshbachs still considering further appellate relief.
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.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.

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

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

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] DAVID MISCAVIGE, YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED
[TWO years ago] A call to arms for Scientology voters: ‘Religious freedom’ vs. the evil psychs!
[THREE years ago] Wally Hanks, Scientology ranch terror recently portrayed on ‘Leah Remini,’ dies at 70
[FOUR years ago] Who was responsible when Scientology finally paid Lawrence Wollersheim a lot of thin dimes?
[FIVE years ago] A Scientology childhood: What it’s like to grow up under the Hubbard spell
[SIX years ago] Tom Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Has No City Permit for IAS Gala or Other Events: Is It Keeping The Party Private?
[EIGHT years ago] Lewis Black Calls Times Square Anti-Scientology Demonstration “Best. Protest. Ever.”[NINE years ago] Scientology Transfusion: Commenters of the Week!

 
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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 2,097 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,601 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,121 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,141 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,032 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,339 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,207 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,981 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,785 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,101 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,667 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,586 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,754 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,335 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,596 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,634 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,347 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,872 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,402 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,962 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,102 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,422 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,277 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,396 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,752 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,055 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,161 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,563 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,435 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,018 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,513 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,767 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,876 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 22, 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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