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Read the brief filed by constitutional scholars supporting Danny Masterson’s accusers

[UNLV Prof. Leslie Griffin (Photo by Bizuayehu Tesfaye/LV Review-Journal) and Danny Masterson]

Fourteen constitutional scholars have signed on to a strongly worded amicus brief submitted in support of Danny Masterson’s accusers and opposed to Scientology’s “religious arbitration.”

“Religious freedom is not the freedom to harm,” the document states in a powerful legal broadside by university professors from places like the Yale Divinity School, the University of Houston Law Center, and the University of Notre Dame.

The document was filed under the name of UNLV law school Professor Leslie C. Griffin, and it opens with this strong statement of purpose:

This case gives this court an excellent opportunity to state that religious freedom protects the right of individuals to be free from abuse. Religions have long stood for that freedom, but sometimes they have blocked it.

Religious freedom is not the freedom to harm. Too many people, too often, think it is. For example, courts originally concluded that all the churches’ choices to sexually abuse children, and then to bury the abuse in order to protect the abusers instead of the abused, were decisions protected from court review by the First Amendment. Gradually the courts learned that when religions remain outside the law, their members are harmed.

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The brief was filed yesterday with the California 2nd Appellate Division in support of the petition filed by Chrissie Carnell Bixler and her fellow plaintiffs, who are suing Danny Masterson, the Church of Scientology, and Scientology’s leader David Miscavige. They’re asking the appeals court to reverse a lower court ruling that denied them a right to trial and forced them into Scientology’s “religious arbitration.”

These constitutional scholars clearly understand what’s at stake, that these former Scientologists are being told they have to take their allegations that Scientology has harmed them to Scientology’s own unfair internal court.

In this case, Petitioners Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Jane Doe #1, and Jane Doe #2 ask the court to allow a balanced court procedure that will listen to both Petitioners’ and Respondents’ claims. This would be in stark contrast to sending the church’s illegal conduct back to its own members for review instead of letting legal misconduct be reviewed by the courts. Petitioners ask that the court allow the Respondents’ terrible wrongs — including sexual assaults, harassment, stalking, and destruction of property — to be considered as civil wrongs instead of as acts protected by religious freedom. This court must stand with the courts that learned the lesson that churches should be punished, not rewarded, for their abuse, and rewarded only when they do the wonderful and supportive things that they often do.

We’ve got the entire document for you to look at. Please give it a good read and let us know what you think.

And for those just joining us, here’s the recap: 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.

On June 16 last year, LA’s then-District Attorney Jackie Lacey charged Masterson with three counts of forcible rape, seeking a penalty of 45 years to life in prison. (The three victims he’s accused of raping are Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and the two Jane Does.) The three women were put under the shield of a protective order that prevents Masterson from contacting them.

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 obliged 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, 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 the criminal case. The plaintiffs can’t risk going through with an arbitration, they say, but they also can’t appeal Judge Kleifield’s ruling unless they do go through with the arbitration. It’s a pretty clear Catch-22.

The constitutional scholars have submitted an “amicus curiae” brief, advising the appeals court. The court is not obliged to take the advice of the brief, just as the court is not obliged to consider the petition. In most cases, such petitions are denied. But this situation presents such a clear conflict between the two cases, one civil, one criminal, that it seems to be something the appeals court would be interested in resolving.

Griffin, the UNLV professor who submitted the brief, was herself the victim of a vicious attack in 2016 while she was jogging, which left her in critical condition. Her attacker was sentenced to 6 to 15 years in prison.

Here’s the document. Give it a look and then tell us your thoughts:

 

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Bixler v. Scientology: Amic… by Tony Ortega

 
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Source Code

“Theta doesn’t have space or time. And therefore it’s very simple: Theta can just as well be in Milwaukee as Paris, simultaneously. And the only reason why you are this size conceptually and not the size of the galaxy conceptually is because you find it handier to conceive yourselves to be this size. And you’re actually looking at a piece of the physical universe — you, your body. But as far as your mind is concerned, there is no reason why it can’t only stretch through this galaxy but could go through all the island universes. You see how that could be? There is no limit, then, on how wide a mind can expand or how small it can contract, because it’s not size and it’s not time or space. Also, there is no reason why I can’t think something today and have you pick it up six months ago.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 4, 1952

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“ACTION BRIEFING: An FO-CBO on Action’s Responsibility for Briefing is issued in the wake of the first weeks stat reduction of Jbg, Celebrity Center and possibly London. The foremost WHY is that these were ‘loners,’ only sent one person to the FEBC who then went home and got his hard. Morale — 2 minimum FEBCs must be sent. In short, Hades broke loose here when the stats didn’t go up at once there in two instances. Those lone guys better get a 2nd FEBC here in a hurry. It takes a team. Lovely stat boosts in all the rest we sent out.” — The Commodore, March 4, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“I remember going to the Lawrence Radiation Lab with my stepfather who is a nuclear physicist and being shown the bubble chamber and the atom splitter. Interesting stuff. He was part of the Manhattan Project, which is why I am looking forward to the day we can all sing hallelujah the physical sciences discover the thetan and really know what a thetan is.”

 

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Past is Prologue

1998: Scientology’s Adventure newsletter announced a new volume in the Research & Discovery Series, The Infinite Potential of Theta. The promoted value of the book is to discover if you have a ‘body in pawn.’ “Technique 88 (an auditing method discussed therein) is the most hyperbolical, effervescent, dramatic, unexaggeratable, high-flown, superlative, grandiose, colossal, and magnificent technique which the mind of man could conceivably embrace. Technique 88 revealed the phenomenon of BODIES IN PAWN – a very gruesome experience… A fellow is grabbed, hypnotized, shoved into an electronic field, and then told he is somewhere else. And so he departs – most of him – and goes to the new location while still being under control of the implanters. He picks up a MEST body in the new location and starts living a life there, WHILE STILL HAVING A LIVING BODY SOMEWHERE ELSE. The implanters can keep his original body alive indefinitely, and control the thetan through it. If the thetan tries to flee, the hypnotizers simply cause pain to the original body, still alive in a vat of fluid, and he is immediately recalled. That’s a BODY IN PAWN. It’s a second body you may have, living somewhere else, right in present time. But the second body is not under YOUR direct control.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Bob, no offense, but thoughts don’t have mass.”

 
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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 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.

 
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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] Los Angeles District Attorney: Jackie Lacey leading as slow vote tally continues
[TWO years ago] Scientology made him suicidal, but that was only the beginning of his problems
[THREE years ago] Scientology laying on the ‘religious freedom’ act thicker than ever as its TV channel nears
[FOUR years ago] In Scientology, you get to blame everything on your trillion-year-old mental booby traps
[FIVE years ago] Scientology officials panicked about overdose death of star Narconon pupil: Boyfriend
[SIX years ago] Scenes from the ‘Going Clear’ publicity caravan in midtown Manhattan
[SEVEN years ago] Bruce Hines takes us through Scientology’s Original Operating Thetan Level Seven!
[EIGHT years ago] Document Leak: Scientology Sexual Histories
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Use Kids to Solicit Donations? Why Not!
[THIRTEEN years ago] What to Get L. Ron Hubbard for his Birthday

 
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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 2,230 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,734 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,254 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,274 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,165 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,472 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,340 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,114 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,918 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,234 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,800 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,719 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,887 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,468 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,729 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,767 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,480 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,005 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 360 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,535 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,086 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,235 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,555 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,410 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,529 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,885 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,188 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,294 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,696 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,568 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,151 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,646 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,900 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,009 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 4, 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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