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Worst part in the Scientology ‘arbitration’ ruling? Danny Masterson can participate.

[Judge Kleifield and Danny Masterson]

We were jamming Thursday afternoon when we broke the news about the stunning ruling that will force Danny Masterson’s accusers into “religious arbitration.” We barely had time to summarize Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield’s 15-page order and post it to the blog that afternoon.

But there’s one statement that Kleifield makes in the order that is more stunning than anything else, and we thought we’d circle back to take a longer look at it.

First, we want to make sure that you understand the situation, which was somewhat mischaracterized by the mainstream media coverage of it. No, this is not a lawsuit simply being ordered to “mediation,” an incorrect term that makes it sound like a fair outcome for both sides. In fact, this is Scientology yet again utterly defeating some former members who say they’ve been abused by this ruthless organization.

Chrissie Carnell Bixler and two women going by the names Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 went to the LAPD in 2016 with allegations that they had been raped by Danny Masterson in incidents between 2001 and 2003. All three of the women had been members of the Church of Scientology at the time, as is Masterson. A fourth woman, Bobette Riales, joined the investigation in 2017, but she had never been a Scientologist. The LAPD turned over the investigation to the LA District Attorney’s office in April 2017, and by 2018 we reported that the managers in that office had signed off on charging Masterson under California’s strict “One Strike Law” carrying a potential life sentence. But into 2019 the women had still not heard anything about criminal charges from then-District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and so they decided to take matters into their own hands.

In August 2019, Bixler, her husband rock singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Bobette Riales, and the two Jane Does filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson, the Church of Scientology, and its leader David Miscavige. They were not suing over the rape allegations. They were suing over the harassment they allege they’d been put through by the church and Masterson since they came forward to the police. Their allegations included pets being poisoned and Bobette’s house being set on fire, and the church and Masterson denied that they had anything to do with it.

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Then, on June 16, DA Jackie Lacey finally acted, and charged Masterson with three counts of forcible rape. (The three victims he’s accused of raping are Chrissie Carnell Bixler and the two Jane Does.) Masterson attempted to have the charges thrown out with a couple of expensive court motions, but the motions were denied and his arraignment is now scheduled to take place on January 6. Additionally, the women were put under the shield of a protective order that prevents Masterson from contacting them and also forced him to turn in his firearms collection while he awaits trial.

Meanwhile, in the civil lawsuit Scientology filed motions to compel the former Scientologists — Chrissie, Cedric, and the two Jane Does — to stay the lawsuit and take their grievances to “religious arbitration” as they had agreed to in contracts they had signed years earlier while they were members of the church.

We understand why courts are anxious to redirect lawsuits to independent arbitration when possible in order to lessen the burden on their dockets. But that’s not what Scientology was asking for. Scientology’s brand of “religious arbitration” does not involve an independent arbitrator. It’s a kangaroo court featuring three arbitrators who have to be members of the church in good standing and are prevented by Scientology policy from being fair to ex-members like these women who are considered excommunicated, or declared “suppressive persons.” And in Scientology there is no higher crime than turning in a church member to law enforcement or taking a church member to court, as these women have done.

The only arbitration that Scientology has done in its 67-year existence involved a California couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia, who went through it after their 2013 fraud lawsuit against the church was similarly derailed by a motion to compel arbitration.

In that daylong farce, Luis says, they were not allowed to have an attorney with them, no recordings were allowed, no transcript was produced, and most of the documentary evidence the Garcias brought with them was not allowed to be entered by Scientology’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis. In other words, it was an utter joke. The Garcias only went through it so they could then appeal Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore’s ruling that forced them into it. They’ve been waiting more than two years now for the Eleventh Circuit to make a ruling on that appeal.

So you can see how wrongheaded it is to say that the Masterson accusers will be going to “mediation.” This has nothing to do with a fair look at the facts. These women would be walking into a Scientology star chamber that in no way will hear their claims fairly.

But Judge Kleifield somehow made it even worse. Because in his ruling, he decided that Danny Masterson can participate in the arbitration.

If you remember, it was one of our commenters who brought up the point that if these women are under a protective order in the criminal case, how could they be asked to face their alleged rapist in an arbitration? That suggestion led us to speak with Texas attorney Ray Jeffrey, who has a history of successful litigation with the church, and he agreed that this would be an issue, pointing to the provisions of “Marsy’s Law” which should offer the women protection in such a situation.

The very next day attorneys for the women brought up Marsy’s Law in court papers, and also brought it up in a court hearing held December 18.

But in his ruling, Kleifield swept away those concerns with a single line:

“Masterson does not object to participating in the arbitration and may therefore participate.”

Not only is it stunning that these women would be asked to participate in Scientology’s one-sided proceeding with the man they say violently raped them, but anything said in such a setting could actually jeopardize the criminal case.

“I would think that the DA would need to take some action,” Ray Jeffrey tells us, agreeing that it makes no sense to jeopardize a criminal proceeding with Scientology’s “arbitration” farce.

We expect that attorneys for the women will very quickly file a petition for a writ of mandate with a state appellate court, asking for an immediate right to appeal Kleifield’s ruling without first having to go through the arbitration itself. (In Valerie Haney’s case, which was also derailed by an arbitration motion, their petition was shot down because the same attorneys waited too long to file it.) But even though this case does seem to have extraordinary circumstances, legal experts say it would still be a longshot for the appellate court to grant an appeal at this point.

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“It makes you wonder, would the DA’s office want to file some kind of amicus brief in an appeal to point this stuff out,” Ray tells us. But he acknowledges that a petition for a writ would still be against the odds.

We’ll be watching to see if the DA acts to keep the church from putting together an accused rapist and his victims in the same room while he’s facing criminal charges.

 
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
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

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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
Sept 30, 2020: Could Danny Masterson’s odd legal fight over his Hollywood house endanger his freedom?
Oct 11, 2020: Danny Masterson asks to halt civil lawsuit while criminal case is ongoing, as expected
Oct 12, 2020: Bijou Phillips on her husband Danny Masterson: A macho ‘Strong Island’ guy
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Oct 16, 2020: Danny Masterson ‘accidentally’ outs Jane Doe accuser after judge told him not to
Nov 16, 2020: Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
Nov 19, 2020: Danny Masterson takes another expensive and futile swipe at his criminal charges
Dec 1, 2020: If the feds are sniffing around, they might look at Danny Masterson’s besties
Dec 4, 2020: WHOA! Scientology to Judge Kleifield: Wrecking human lives IS our ‘commerce’
Dec 18, 2020: Jane Doe #1’s own attorneys flubbed and ID’d her and her IP address in court documents
Dec 24, 2020: Letter shows Scientology gave Jane Doe #1 permission to sue Danny Masterson in 2004
Dec 31, 2020: DANNY MASTERSON ACCUSERS DENIED RIGHT TO TRIAL, FORCED TO ‘RELIGIOUS ARBITRATION’

 
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Source Code

“As I used to be president of the American Fiction Guild author’s league up in New York, when I was a kid — that’s right, I was a kid — it was very funny to me, I used to laugh myself silly, all of the confession stories written in America are written by unmarried ladies who have reached 40 or 50. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an unmarried lady reaching 40 or 50. This is perfectly fine. But how come all these confession stories? Yeah, that’s interesting. Because it was out of the current lifetime’s field of experience. I realize now they were writing about past lives, that they were picking it up Whole Track and just putting it in modern dress. But they didn’t know what they were writing about, basically, in this lifetime.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 2, 1960

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“This very nice tribute and list was sent me by Lt. Cmdr. Joan Robertson:
Dear Sir, Like you, I am burying the old year not praising it. YET — Thank you for the wild and wonderful year we have just finished
for restoring all Tech
for restoring Power
for OT VII
for the Sanity Tech Breakthrough
for Ext Intensive
for the C/S Series
for the EP’s
for revitalizing training
for all the other Brilliant Tech Breakthroughs.
And thank you for the Tech of Admin —
for restoring all Policy

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for the Bureaux
for the FEBC, HC, OEC —
Supervisor Courses
for Exec Dirs
the Org Boards
for the Aides Conferences
the personal Conferences
the Data Series
the Personnel Series
the Org Series
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the Org and Product Officer System.
Your help on ship lines and to me as an Aide, an officer, a Con, and as a Being.
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And for your trust in me in letting me help.
I pledge again my love, loyalty, devotion and work.
A very Happy New Year — Sir!” — The Commodore, January 2, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“If you are for Scientology having secrets because people are not ready for them, then you should be OK with the government keeping all its alien secrets from us. They have met with them, worked with them, Apollo 11 actually was checking out ancient alien ruins on the moon, and they kept this secret from us because apparently we are not ready for this information and will go crazy if exposed to it. That’s literally what they think. Well I say this is disgusting, just as it’s disgusting keeping Scientology information from lower level Scientologists. I do not stand for secrets, I think it’s wrong, and I genuinely hate the government for not telling me aliens exist. A Scientology radio show that is pro secrets is boring to listen to, just as the ABC Australia radio show is boring to listen to. They are pro secrets, they wouldn’t dare talk about the government controlling the weather or aliens. They don’t go into any interesting juicy stuff, it’s just PR ‘Oh I like to walk the dog on a Sunday afternoon’ or ‘Yes, sweet jazz music’ type stuff. It’s just so boring, it’s depressing really. It’s forcing people into a lame Truman Show life. You must support freedom of speech and the press. So that’s why I’m against secrets. It makes a worse world. As Hubbard says ‘If someone’s lying to you they are controlling you.’ And omitting data from stuff is a form of lying.”

 
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Past is Prologue

2000: Jeff Jacobsen reported a new construction permit at Scientology’s Gold Base: “Following was listed in Sunday Press Enterprise, business section. Building Permit: Golden Era Productions l9750 Highway 79, Gilman Hot Springs. Convert patio to office space. $560,475.”

 
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Random Howdy

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“Alex Jones and L. Ron both became millionaires by selling people crazy. The $64,000 question is whether it was (A) a cynical scam (B) they’re both insane (C) all of the above.”

 
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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 Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
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 writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
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 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.

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

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 now on Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Graham Berry shares a Scientology secret with us that might explain everything
[TWO years ago] Scientology smears ‘Aftermath’ guest with info from his supposedly confidential files
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s original case of ‘disconnection’ — L. Ron Hubbard and his doting mom and dad
[FOUR years ago] David Miscavige has plenty of new Scientology buildings set to open in 2017
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s 2016: CNN plans to give L. Ron Hubbard his best press in decades
[SIX years ago] LEAKED RENDERINGS: What Scientology’s (post-KCET) new media center will look like
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s snitching culture: Jefferson Hawkins explains the ‘Knowledge Report’
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Giving this “Internet” Thing a Whirl
[NINE years ago] Scientology in 2012: Mark Bunker and Mike Rinder Give Us a Preview of Enturbulation To Come

 
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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 2,169 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,673 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,193 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,213 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,104 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,411 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,279 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,053 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,857 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,173 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,739 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,658 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,826 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,407 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,668 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,706 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,419 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,944 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 299 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,474 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,025 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,174 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,494 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,349 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,468 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,824 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,127 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,233 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,635 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,507 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,090 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,585 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,839 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,948 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 2, 2021 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, 15 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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