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Scientology answers Danny Masterson accusers at California Supreme Court, and it’s ugly

[Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and Danny Masterson are battling at California’s highest court]

Danny Masterson’s accusers have asked California’s Supreme Court to review their objections to Scientology’s “religious arbitration” and the ruling that derailed their harassment lawsuit against the That ’70s Show actor and the church.

We told you last month that if they took this step, they would be facing difficult legal issues that we expected Scientology’s attorneys to exploit. Now we have a copy of the answer filed by the church’s attorneys, and the objections it raises look pretty familiar.

This is a complex case, and we want to make sure at the outset here that you understand this lawsuit is separate from the criminal case that has Danny Masterson facing 45 years to prison if he’s found guilty of raping three women, all of whom were Scientologists at the time of incidents, which occurred between 2001 and 2003.

Those three women, and a fourth woman who was never a Scientologist, came forward to the LAPD, which started a new investigation of these claims in 2016. In 2019 the women filed the harassment lawsuit, alleging that because they went to the LAPD, Masterson and the church had subjected them to a harassment campaign. That’s what the lawsuit is about, not the sexual assaults that are the subject of the criminal case.

And the harassment lawsuit has been derailed by Scientology’s claim that these former members had signed service contracts obliging them to take any dispute to Scientology’s internal ‘arbitration’ rather than to a court of law. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield agreed, and granted Scientology’s motion. If the plaintiffs go through with the arbitration, they can file an appeal of the judge’s decision, but they don’t want to go through Scientology’s in-house proceeding, especially because Kleifield ruled that Masterson himself could take part in it, and the actor has indicated the he plans to do so.

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Putting the women and Masterson in a room together at a Scientology arbitration hearing would appear to be a violation of the protective order that the court issued in the criminal case, which instructs Masterson to keep far away from the women. It would also seem to go against the protections that victims have under “Marsy’s Law.” And that is one of the issues that the women have asked the supreme court to take up. (The court is under no obligation to take on the case, and in fact the odds are stacked against it getting involved.)

Once again, in their answer, Scientology’s attorneys argue that Marsy’s Law is irrelevant, because it only applies to criminal cases, not civil lawsuits, as if having rape victims sit in a room with their alleged rapist was somehow fine as long as it was in an arbitration and not a criminal court.

That’s the kind of legalistic argument, ignoring the actual consequence of Judge Kleifield’s ruling, that permeates Scientology’s answer.

Marsy’s Law, by its express language, applies only to criminal proceedings. Petitioners also failed to properly raise their “Protective Order” argument in the Trial Court, and it too fails on the merits. Petitioners mislead this Court by asserting the Protective Order applies to the Church Defendants when it does not mention them or even the word “Scientology.” Of course, neither of these issues raises an “important” question of law to be “settled” by this Court, as they both depend on idiosyncratic (and irrational) arguments related to the narrow facts of this matter.

Instead of grappling with the actual facts of this matter, and the settled law, Petitioners make a cynical bet that they can inflame this Court with stories of what this case is not about. From page one, they speak of sexual assault, when they have sued no one for sexual assault. They protest “religious rituals” without pointing to a single example (as the Trial Court found). They speak of “coercion” when the Trial Court determined the agreements were freely executed. From the beginning, in this and in another matter already disposed of by this Court, they have abused the litigation privilege to defame the Church Defendants, and failed in every instance to present evidence to support their outrageous allegations.

Yes, as usual, Scientology is the real victim here, according to its court filings.

There’s a lot in this document, and it’s largely the same set of arguments that the church made at the previous level, when the 2nd Appellate District declined to hear the case. The state supreme court likely will too. But it’s still rather amazing to see Scientology argue these things, as if these women have no reason to be upset that they can’t get a day in court after, they allege, they were subjected to a stalking campaign for daring to come forward in a rape investigation.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this document.

 

Bixler v. Scientology: Answ… by Tony Ortega

 
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Catherine Bell gets her daughter into the act

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Our thanks to the reader who spotted this item and sent it in. It’s NCIS: Los Angeles actress Catherine Bell’s daughter Gemma Bell appearing in an ad for Scientology’s expensive Oregon boarding school, the Delphian.

 

 
In a previous story, we explained how Catherine Bell’s relationship with a woman named Brooke Daniells put her at odds with Scientology’s legendary homophobia. We have heard, over the years, from readers who hoped that the apparent conflict might help Catherine break out of the Scientology mindset. But here’s yet another sign that Catherine is still in the fold and is even getting her daughter into the act. Hip, hip, hooray!

 
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Source Code

“There are three classes of universes. There’s your universe and that class of universe known as the other fellow’s universe and the physical universe — universes of the type of the physical universe. Now, these in essence are three types of universe. Now, there’s a law back of all this, and that is to say that a universe is subject to the postulates of the god of that universe. Let’s take the physical universe. Everybody agrees that there’s a God someplace and that the physical universe obeys His law, so forth. It’s an interesting aberration in itself. Now, it’s a little more important, however, when we apply it to Mama. Mama is the god of Mama’s universe. Everybody concedes this. Maybe she isn’t in her own mind but everybody concedes that she is.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 12, 1954

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“PENALTIES: Those absent from drills — no next meal. Those absent from study — 10 s per offense logged by supervisors and deducted from allowance and paid by Purser to 2 Div for facilities fund. False report — one week’s allowance. Outness or irresponsibility in admin or on post or watch — 3 days pay. REWARDS: When the ship is out of Non Existence and up to Emergency a reward schedule will be posted. MUSIC: No music while the ship is below Emergency.” — April 12, 1969

 

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Overheard in the FreeZone

“It really seems like Scientology was a cover for anti-communist CIA activities. Just like how Stanford Research Institute was used by the CIA to create remote viewers, so was Scientology. Remote viewing is an incredibly effective spy tool. Melbourne is a very communist place, of course this lefty hellhole would ban it. Our intelligence agencies now and back then deal in stopping any right-wing activities and love promoting leftist social engineering actions like feminist marches.”

 
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Past is Prologue

2002: The Houston Chronicle reported that Scientology’s CCHR branch is helping the family of Andrea Yates, who is accused of drowning her five children, with a complaint against her psychiatrist. “The complaint alleges Dr. Mohammed Saeed, former medical director at Devereux Texas Treatment Network in League City, did not properly manage her medication and released her from the hospital when she was dangerously delusional. ‘We feel that Dr. Saeed’s actions of excessive, harmful treatment, and his lack of action to warn about the endangerment of the children, made him negligent in his duty to protect the children,’ states the complaint signed by Yates’ brothers, Brian and Andrew Kennedy, and her mother, Jutta Karin Kennedy.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Believe it or not, ‘Wichita Lineman’ is one of my all time favorite songs. I’m usually in tears by the end of it.”

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

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Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Discovery hearing on April 20, prelim set for May 18.
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. June 7: 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] Scientology continues to see the pandemic as a public relations opportunity
[TWO years ago] Scientology deception and financial fraud spelled out in incredible legal letter
[THREE years ago] Why Scientology has no business pontificating on mental health — a discussion
[FOUR years ago] Need a boost to your superpowers? Scientology has a (pricey) solution for that!
[FIVE years ago] Astra Woodcraft, ex-Scientology kid, wants you to read a short essay
[SIX years ago] How Scientology broke up Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers: The story you haven’t heard
[SEVEN years ago] Why is Scientology’s cruise ship caught up in a lawsuit about human slavery?
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Lavish Annual Party for Pampered Sci-Fi Writers, This Sunday!
[NINE years ago] This is How You Finance an “Ideal Org”

 
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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 2,269 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,773 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,293 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,313 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,204 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,511 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,379 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,153 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,483 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,957 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,273 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,839 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,758 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,926 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,507 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,768 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,806 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,519 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,044 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 399 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,574 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,125 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,274 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,594 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,449 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,568 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,924 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,227 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,333 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,735 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,607 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,190 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,685 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,939 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,048 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 12, 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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