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Scientology looking to force Danny Masterson’s accusers into ‘religious arbitration’ today

[Danny Masterson, Scientology soldier]

It’s another big day in court for Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology as the church’s attorneys try to derail yet another lawsuit with “religious arbitration.”

If Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield follows form, his ruling today is likely to be voluminous, detailed, and not immediately obvious. At least that was the situation the last time we got a ruling from him, when he denied Danny Masterson’s “demurrer” (in part, at least) at a hearing on October 6.

This time, it’s the Church of Scientology that is taking a swing at this lawsuit, hoping to put it on ice the way it has a couple of other recent lawsuits, by forcing the plaintiffs into its internal brand of arbitration that bears little resemblance to the independent arbitration most people think of when they hear the term.

A question we often see from readers is, how can Scientology convince a judge to allow rape charges to be handled through arbitration? But that’s not what’s happening, and so we wanted to help readers understand what is at stake today.

Chrissie Carnell Bixler, her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Bobette Riales, and two women going by the names Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 filed this lawsuit in August 2019 alleging a campaign of harassment by Masterson, Scientology, and its leader David Miscavige. They say that the harassment was in retaliation for the women going to the LAPD in 2016 (and 2017 in the case of Riales) with allegations that Masterson had raped them in incidents between 2001 and 2004.


When the lawsuit was filed, the LAPD investigation had been going on for nearly three years, and in that time, they claimed they had been subjected to an ongoing series of incidents involving surveillance, computer hacking, intimidation, and even their pets being harmed. It’s that harassment which is the subject of the lawsuit, not the rape allegations.

Since they filed the lawsuit, however, the LA District Attorney’s office did, on June 16, charge Masterson with raping three of the women (Carnell Bixler and the two Jane Does) and after several delays the That ’70s Show actor is scheduled to be arraigned on January 6 facing 45 years to life in prison.

Masterson denies that he raped the women, and Scientology and Masterson have denied in court papers and public statements that they harassed them as a result of the LAPD investigation. But Scientology is also trying to derail the lawsuit with the same tactic that was successful in lawsuits brought in two other cases.

Carnell Bixler, Bixler-Zavala, and the two Jane Does were Scientologists at the time of the incidents, and so Scientology argues that the agreements they signed in order to receive Scientology services obliged them not to sue the church in the future, even after they left the organization. The church says that the agreements require them to take any grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration, which must be carried out by a panel of three arbitrators who are members of the church in good standing.

Scientology was successful convincing Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore that Luis and Rocio Garcia, a California couple who had sued the church for fraud, had to follow these rules, and Whittemore stayed their lawsuit and even helped Scientology choose the arbitrators. The Garcias described the October 2017 arbitration as a joke and have been appealing Whittemore’s ruling for a couple of years at the Eleventh Circuit.

Earlier this year, Scientology prevailed again when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration in the lawsuit brought by Leah Remini’s assistant Valerie Haney, a former Sea Org worker who was alleging kidnapping and stalking. Burdge upheld his decision after a motion for reconsideration, and a California appellate court denied Haney’s petition for a writ of mandate. Like the Garcias, Valerie would actually have to go through the Scientology arbitration before she could appeal Burdge’s ruling.

These are major victories by Scientology, and they’re anxious to try the same tactic against Masterson’s accusers.

We’ve pointed out that Carnell Bixler’s attorneys seem to have made some strong arguments against Scientology’s arbitration gambit, and Judge Kleifield seems more conscientious and thorough than his LA Superior Court colleague Judge Burdge. But Scientology itself is obviously anxious to get this matter before the judge today, and is feeling confident after victories against the Garcias and Haney.

Unfortunately Jeffrey Augustine is unable to help us out today and can’t be in the courtroom. We tried to get access to today’s hearing via telephone, as we have in the past with Judge Kleifield’s department, but the Superior Court communications office turned us down this time. We’ll get you the results of the hearing as soon as we can, but it may take us a little longer than usual.


Source Code

“Your thetan has to be able to tolerate three kinds of space in order to endure at all in this universe. This universe isn’t any savage beast sitting there. It’s just a sort of an inanimate boobytrap which we have made ourselves, really. And then we victimized ourselves with it, so we have all been betrayed. This universe couldn’t have had a better purpose in going forward so that everybody could be the, have the beautiful sadness of having been betrayed. And yet you look into it, the only person that can betray an individual is himself.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 6, 1953



Overheard in the FreeZone

“It is not easy to stay afloat, especially now. Scientology doesn’t have a good reputation, so to make a decent living out if it is hard. Being somewhat Indie is easy, but to try it 100 percent for a living, that is hard.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Golden Era Productions set off a bomb this week during the shooting of their new movie “Man the Unfathomable.” From the San Bernardino Sun: “The Church of Scientology blew up a replica of a downtown Los Angeles building early Tuesday at the former Norton Air Force Base, shaking people awake as far away as Redlands and Highland. The movie is about misunderstandings between people that ultimately turn violent, said Hilary Dezotell, a Golden Era spokeswoman. The scene with the explosion is about an agent who infiltrates a group and winds up blowing up a building.”


Random Howdy

“I understand where you’re coming from but the bottom line is that Scientology is a con and conning people is illegal, regardless of whether the victims are dupes and suckers.”


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


Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to January 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing set for October 29 in White Plains, NY delayed to January.
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 denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Nov 6 (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.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


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.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and coming November 1 to Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Kansas City gets its first Scientology wedding: We solicited some advice for the young couple
[TWO years ago] Juliette Lewis wants on ‘Red Table Talk’ — and here’s what Jada Smith should ask her
[THREE years ago] Tracking Scientology’s claims about membership — a new digital project with Jonny Jacobsen
[FOUR years ago] After Scientologist is outed, leaders he fooled still stick up for his quack drug theories
[SIX years ago] RIFFER MADNESS: Scientology leader David Miscavige goes smeary in new court filing
[SEVEN years ago] More Questions About Scientology-Style Drug Rehab And Insurance — This Time in Michigan
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology and the Presidential Election
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Service: Your Open Thread For Worship (Or Whatever)


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 2,112 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,616 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,136 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,156 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,047 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,354 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,222 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,996 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,800 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,116 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,682 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,601 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,769 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,350 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,611 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,649 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,362 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,887 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,417 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,968 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,117 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,437 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,292 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,411 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,767 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,070 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,176 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,578 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,450 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,033 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,528 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,782 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,891 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 6, 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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