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Appellate court halts Scientology ‘arbitration’ as it considers petition by Masterson accusers

The California 2nd Appellate District yesterday responded to a petition filed this week by Danny Masterson’s accusers by issuing a stay on the case that will put a halt to any plans for Scientology’s “religious arbitration” long enough for the appellate court to consider the petition.

This isn’t a guarantee that the court will grant the writ of mandate that the petition is asking for, which would lead to an appeal of the ruling that forced Masterson’s accusers into arbitration and denied them a right to trial. But it’s at least an indication that the court is taking the petition seriously enough to prevent Scientology from starting arbitration proceedings in the meantime.

And that’s important, as we’ve previously reported, because the women suing Masterson have complained that forcing them into arbitration conflicts with the criminal prosecution of Masterson which has him facing 45 years to life in prison.

For now, anyway, the criminal case will not be interfered with as the appeals court considers the petition in the civil case.


After the stunning December 30 decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield to grant Scientology’s arbitration motions, this certainly feels like a turning point for the women accusing Masterson and the Church of Scientology of harassing them for coming forward with their rape allegations against the That ’70s Show actor.

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. Bobette Riales joined the investigation in 2017, but she had never been a Scientologist. In August 2019 the four women, and Chrissie’s husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, filed a harassment lawsuit against Masterson, Scientology, and Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, claiming that they had been subject to years of surveillance and intimidation for coming forward to the police.

Then, on June 16 last year, then-District Attorney Jackie Lacey 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.) After numerous delays, Masterson was arraigned on the charges on January 20. 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.

It’s important to keep in mind that the criminal case and the civil lawsuit are separate: In the lawsuit, Chrissie and the other plaintiffs are not suing Masterson for raping them. They are suing over the harassment they say Masterson and Scientology put them through for coming forward with their rape allegations.

On December 30, Judge Kleifield ruled that the four plaintiffs in the lawsuit who had been Scientologists (Chrissie, Cedric, and the two Jane Does) had signed agreements while they were in the church that obligated them to take their grievances not to a civil court but to Scientology’s internal arbitration, which was actually a reworking of court martial rules and that is not a form of independent arbitration. Also, we pointed out, Kleifield made the rather stunning decision that Masterson himself could take part in the arbitration if he wanted to, and Masterson then indicated in a court filing that he did intend to take part.

In their petition to the appellate court, Chrissie’s attorneys are arguing that putting the women together with Masterson in an arbitration proceeding could not only interfere with the criminal prosecution, but it would also violate the protective order they were given in that criminal case.

They can’t go through with an arbitration, they say, but they can’t appeal Judge Kleifield’s ruling unless they do go through with the arbitration. It’s a pretty clear Catch-22.

And so they’re asking the appellate court to consider it an extraordinary situation and reverse Kleifield’s ruling.

It’s long odds for that to happen. But at least, for now, the appellate court is taking it seriously enough to put the lawsuit on hold, prevent the ‘arbitration’ from going forward, and give the petition the respect it deserves. It’s a positive sign for Chrissie and the other plaintiffs.


Your proprietor and the former Scientology private eye

We were surprised to get a message from Mark Chauppetta, a private investigator we talked to nearly ten years ago at the Village Voice. Chauppetta had appeared on the Howard Stern show and talked publicly about how he’d spent several years doing PI work for the Church of Scientology. We followed that up with our own interview of him. Now, he let us know that he had a podcast and wanted us to join him as a guest. The tables turned! Well, we ended up asking him more about his work for the church than blabbing about ourselves, and that’s probably a good thing. So give it a listen and let us know how we did.




Source Code

“There’s a very simple way of making somebody’s arthritis turn on with violence. And you just walk up to ’em like this and wiggle your hands in front of his face. And of course by giving him this confusion outside of his body, he holds harder onto the body and that is what arthritis is, it’s a solid hold. All right. Now, you take an arthritic and you start to say hello and OK to this arthritic leg or joint, or something of this character, you are actually attempting to as-is or knock out of existence my communication, a lot of actual calcium. So it isn’t going to work. Not well or easily. But you take slight little somatics, little conditions, or fears of things, and run two way communication on them and you get some fabulous results.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 26, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“If you think we are losing ground, according to a head count to date, three major enemies and the three biggest enemy names are finished. Cecil King lost his directorship in the Bank of England and his newspaper claim which included the Daily Mail. Sir William Carr has also lost his directorship in the Bank of England and has been ousted from his papers and was last seen trying to unite with ‘Truth’ newspapers of Australia, owned by Murdoch. Kenneth Robinson, ex-Minister of Health UK has been ousted and is in disgrace with his group. All three were also directors of the ‘National Association for Mental Health’ of the UK. Three scalps. Any more candidates for our ‘coupstick’?” — The Commodore, February 26, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I wanted to share a win. The other day I was driving on the freeway and behind me there was a Highway Patrolman. It was a beautiful day and my anchor points were way out. I could ‘feel’ all the other cars around me and I could feel the tenseness from the other drivers. The tone level noticeably dropped. I still kept my space and confronted the area. The next thing that happened is that the cop pulled someone over. He turned his lights on and the other car pulled off the freeway to get his ticket or whatever. Instantly I felt a big blowdown from the other drivers and the tone level shot up into cheerfullness. It just reminded me that I am a thetan and that I am able to percieve many good things. I got a lot from the Scientology philosophy. I am thankful for many of my experiences with the tech.”



Past is Prologue

1999: The South China Morning Post reported that the fiancé of Scientology celebrity Kirstie Alley has left her, following a Scientology wedding ceremony, but before a legal ceremony. “Melrose Place actor James Wilder, who also had a recurring role on her latest series, Veronica’s Closet, told friends he was fed up with her constant moans about her appearance. ‘I don’t have the keys to the fountain of youth and I can’t make her young again,’ Wilder, 35, said. Late last year, Wilder and Alley, 48, went though an unofficial Scientology wedding ceremony to cement their relationship. Now, friends say that Alley, whose 14-year marriage to Parker Stevenson ended in 1996, is heartbroken at being left on her own.”


Random Howdy

“For the last time it’s a genderless demon eating a turkey leg.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to April 13.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Charged in Brooklyn federal court on Feb 4. Arraigned on Feb 9. Pretrial conference set for Apr 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.’ 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. March 8: Status conference.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 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, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

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 now on 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] SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
[TWO years ago] Jenna Elfman’s career finds new life in the zombie apocalypse
[THREE years ago] What happened when we had a scientist look at L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘science’ of life in the womb
[FOUR years ago] Florida attempts sensible change to mental health law — so Scientology goes on attack
[FIVE years ago] The shocking space opera secret that is guiding Scientology litigation
[SIX years ago] Can you help solve this odd Scientology financial mystery?
[SEVEN years ago] Ryan Hamilton files another lawsuit against Scientology’s Nevada drug rehab facility
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s “Disconnection” Policy: Music Lovers, This One Will Break Your Heart
[NINE years ago] Scientology and Nation of Islam Exposed in Florida School Takeover


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 2,224 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,728 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,248 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,268 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,159 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,466 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,334 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,108 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,912 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,228 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,794 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,713 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,881 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,462 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,723 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,761 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,474 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,999 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 354 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,529 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,080 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,229 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,549 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,404 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,523 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,879 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,182 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,288 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,690 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,562 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,145 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,640 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,894 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,003 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 26, 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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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