Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Ten Days That Shook The (Scientology) World: Dave and Danny’s very bad predicament

[Stuck in a leaky boat together: Danny Masterson and David Miscavige]

Our loyal readers know what a daily slog it’s been for the last nine years at this website as we’ve covered Scientology as a daily news beat. You’ve been with us as remarkable stories about the church and its controversies have produced winners and losers, perpetrators and victims, and arcane questions about totalitarian policies in a modern world.

And over that time, few periods have been as gut-wrenching and thrilling as the last ten days. For posterity, we wanted to memorialize this fortnight so that we never forget what it’s been like.

Ten Days That Shook The (Scientology) World

1. Tuesday, May 18. Danny Masterson’s preliminary hearing on rape charges carrying a potential life sentence begins in Los Angeles. We’re sitting in the front row, just a few feet directly behind Masterson’s famous defense attorney, Tom Mesereau. On this first day, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller calls Jane Doe 1 to the witness stand, who delivers brutal testimony that she had felt drugged after a single drink at Masterson’s Hollywood home, and then woke to find him raping her in his bed. And it’s soon obvious that Scientology will be a big part of this proceeding as Mueller has Jane Doe 1 explain the consequences that a Scientologist faces when they admit to being victimized by another Scientologist. When Jane Doe 1 goes to her “Master-at-Arms,” a man named Julian Swartz, she says he told her, “If you’re going to say the word ‘rape,’ don’t say it. We don’t say that word here.” In his cross-examination of Jane Doe 1, Mesereau is repetitive and increasingly hostile as a strategy seems to emerge: He’s going to drag this thing out, perhaps beyond the four days it’s been scheduled for.

2. Wednesday, May 19. On the morning of the second day of the hearing, press reports of the previous day are savage. Even the Los Angeles Times, which never said a word about the nine-year Laura Decrescenzo lawsuit or the five-year Hanan Islam case that was happening in this same building, has one of the very best stories, highlighting how bad the preliminary hearing is for Scientology. In the story, Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw denies that the church looks down on law enforcement or encourages members not to report crimes. But once again, there’s testimony in this second day of the hearing to the exact opposite: Jane Doe 1 and the second witness, Christina B., explain that they were punished by Scientology for being victims of crime, and under no circumstances will they be able to report to law enforcement without consequences that Scientologists take very seriously. Meanwhile, if Mesereau thinks he can continue to draw things out like he did the previous day, Judge Charlaine Olmedo disabuses him of that notion almost right away, repeatedly admonishing him as the morning begins, telling him that a preliminary hearing is about probable cause, and not an opportunity for him to dig for discovery information. With Mesereau’s wings clipped, the hearing seems to get back on schedule.


3. Thursday, May 20. As Day 3 of the hearing begins, Mesereau is finishing up his cross-examination of Christina B. At the morning break, Mesereau has a subpoena served on us in the hallway, asking for documents we’ve gathered in the case. (Thanks, Tom.) After the lunch break, Scientology again takes center stage as Judge Olmedo learns that “wog” is Hubbardese for non-Scientologists, and she compares it to “muggle.” Mueller, meanwhile, borrows Mesereau’s copy of ‘Introduction to Scientology Ethics’ and demonstrates that it does, in fact, call law enforcement corrupt, after Mesereau had held up the book the day before to make the opposite point. After entering the book as a prosecution exhibit, Mueller hands it back to Mesereau with a polite “Thank you. It’s been very helpful.” We almost expected Mesereau’s famous Dutch-boy coif to go up in flames, it was such an exquisite burn. Jane Doe 2’s testimony begins, and she describes Masterson ignoring her repeated statements that she didn’t want to have sex by flipping her over and “pounding” her like a jackhammer. For three days in a row, media headlines will focus on these terrifying moments from the three women. At his blog, Mike Rinder has an important post today about the statements by Karin Pouw in the Los Angeles Times story from the day before, and at his Twitter feed Rinder points out to Times writer James Queally that he was lied to by Scientology’s spokeswoman.

4. Friday, May 21. With the testimony of witnesses finished, the final day of the hearing is given over to the advocates. Masterson’s co-counsel, Sharon Appelbaum, puts together a list of what she characterizes as inconsistencies in the stories of the three women, who have given interviews to law enforcement over several years. But when it’s his turn to rebut, prosecutor Mueller says that the things Appelbaum is pointing to are all peripheral — what Jane Doe 1 was wearing, or whether Masterson hit Christina B with an open hand or slightly closed fist. What matters, he explains, is that all three women have been completely consistent about not giving Masterson consent for sexual penetration. Judge Olmedo agrees, saying that she finds all three women credible, and holds Masterson to answer. He’ll face trial, and the first step is an arraignment scheduled for June 7. And the kicker: Judge Olmedo says that some of the inconsistencies in the stories of the women are directly related to their involvement in Scientology and its policies against reporting to the police. With Judge Olmedo also presiding over the trial, Scientology is now guaranteed to be a big part of it. Another round of media coverage explodes.

5. Saturday, May 22. Still stunned at what we had witnessed, we put together all of the key moments in the previous four days when Scientology had become a subject of the hearing. Meanwhile, at his blog, Mike Rinder noted that Scientology’s local spokeswoman in Clearwater, Florida, had given an invocation at that week’s city council meeting. He points out that she was at a disadvantage: “Scientologists don’t pray. They don’t have any set belief in God, and they certainly don’t ask God for things. It’s just not part of the Scientology ‘technology’.”

6. Sunday, May 23. The Daily Beast has us distill the four-day Masterson hearing in a piece it puts on its front page. We emphasized Scientology’s role in the hearing, naturally, but we also got the opportunity to chide news organizations that have been using the partial real names of the two Jane Doe victims in the case in a shocking betrayal of their own policies against naming sexual assault victims. What the hell?

7. Monday, May 24. Scientology’s exposure in the hearing was stunning for us to witness, but how did it look to someone who was actually an official in the church? We asked Chris Shelton to give us his perspective, and he gets high marks from readers for distilling the essence of what was revealed about Scientology and Danny Masterson in the courtroom. “It has been the hard working Sea Org members who have worked tirelessly to advance Scientology’s cause by covering up or destroying evidence, lying to law enforcement officials and the press, and further victimizing the women involved until they shut them up completely. Every one of those things were a ‘product’ that was produced by a Sea Org member, who then counted their product as a statistic on a piece of paper, moved on and then did that same kind of thing to someone else, someone we don’t even know right now.”

8. Tuesday, May 25. Another former Sea Org worker, and a woman, Sunny Pereira, also gives us her thoughts about the hearing testimony about Scientology. “Scientology and Scientologists all are indoctrinated that anything bad that happens to a person was ‘deserved.’ So, in a sense, Jane Doe 1 turning him in or trying to file a complaint on him is, actually, in simple terms, her admitting her own sin. Scientology does not and can not compute that someone could be a victim and need help, support and protection. Those do not exist in Scientology.”

9. Wednesday, May 26. After so much coverage of the Masterson hearing, we finally had time to catch up on the other Scientology legal disasters going on: The Spina brothers, New York chiropractors and longtime Scientology donors, asked for, and received, permission to visit Clearwater before they head to prison for Medicare fraud. Scientologist politician and snake-oil salesman Brent Jones is ordered by the federal government to shut down production of his “Real Water” which has sickened dozens of people and is blamed in at least one death. The Garcia appeal looks like it will be delayed even further, and the Statler family wins a pre-trial discovery battle in the wrongful death lawsuit of their son Brian, killed by police in a Scientology church in 2019.

10. Thursday, May 27. James Queally at the Los Angeles Times, after Mike Rinder’s encouragement, has another terrific piece, this time taking a close look at the Scientology parts of the Masterson hearing. It’s one thing when we do it here at the Underground Bunker, but with the LA Times also looking at the way Mueller slam-dunked Mesereau with the Scientology ethics book, it’s an absolute nightmare for David Miscavige and Scientology. Late in the morning we notice that Valerie Haney has petitioned the US Supreme Court in her derailed lawsuit over kidnapping and stalking, asking it to step in and review the constitutionality of forcing her to go through “religious arbitration” with a church she no longer belongs to. And then, a few hours later, the day’s biggest bombshell: We check the California Supreme Court docket and see that it has granted review to Danny Masterson’s accusers, who petitioned the court over the arbitration ruling in their own lawsuit against Masterson and Scientology. We can’t help noticing that the state supreme court had given itself until June 17 to make a ruling on the petition, but now just days after the horrifying testimony in the criminal hearing, all seven justices have signed off on a review of the harassment lawsuit.

It sure seems like there’s a connection. With major media paying better attention — even the Los Angeles Times, which is suddenly doing a great job — and with Masterson’s victims finally getting a chance to tell their stories in public, it certainly feels like we’ve reached a tipping point.

What a ten days.


Karen de la Carriere on Mythvision

Says Karen: “Why do people give money and pay and pay and pay? What is a Scientology high? Derek compares it to a drug high.”




Source Code

“Now, you’re a registrar and somebody is coming in, or you’re signing up PCs. (All of you have to wear a registrar’s hat at one time or another.) And you’re trying to get somebody to get some auditing, you’re a registrar, see? And there you are one fine day with a yow-yow-yow and a scream-scream-scream standing in front of your face: Seventy-five hours of auditing have been delivered — he feels terrible! He says, ‘Oh, I could kill everybody in the place,’ and he ought to go out and sue everybody, and he’s going to inform the government that so on and so on and so on and so on-yap, yap, yap, you never hear such a thing. Don’t worry too much about the threats, because the person totally lacks direction. Person will go halfway down the steps and change his mind and do something else, don’t you see? They’re incapable of carrying forward a program that has any cohesion or direction, see.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 28, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“GOOD NEWS: The Governor’s Office of Calif is commending us for the Narco-non and Drug Abuse Campaigns and our effectiveness in this field. This is a second official one only days apart evidently. Also the Gov of Calif’s son is reported planning to join the SO.” — The Commodore, May 28, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I’ve had most of this stuff, and it’s broadly all there. Remote viewing I do when I’m in the body, otherwise I go there in person, i.e., in spirit. I just go. I don’t pass through space or cross time or any of that stuff. It’s like I want to be somewhere I’m there. And yes, all that other bullshit, essentially tech below Buddha, isn’t going to do shit except make you feel a bit better. You’re not going to start to really know until you do PDC and the OT levels. Not that you couldn’t run into bits of it on other auditing, but no one on the Grades is going to run into this stuff by accident. It’s impossible.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Martin Ottmann posted a recent letter from the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America, a Scientology front group. “The atrocities being perpetrated on our nation’s children in the public school system are so bizarre and so covert that most people, even parents, cannot confront or recognize them. The creation of a society so totally influenced by psychiatry, as described in this letter, is designed to disguise itself from those it enslaves; few would volunteer, or offer up their children on the altar of the ‘workforce of the future’ if they knew the truth. Fewer still would believe that the freedoms taken for granted by our generation are being stripped away at this moment more thoroughly and with more dangerous consequences than have resulted from any armed conflict this planet has ever experienced. The increasing influence of psychiatry has always been cloaked by claims of ‘improving education,’ ‘meeting the needs of our future generation’ and ‘preventative mental health.’ Yet the end result is that psychiatrists and psychologists, whose expertise and image are in stark opposition to the reality of their actions, have been allowed to play with the minds of millions of children with devastation the only visible results. You can help by supporting our efforts financially. The majority of our supporters have contributed anywhere between $750.00 (providing books and materials for one local school) and $50,000.00 (providing books and materials for 70 local schools).”


Random Howdy

“I’m from S.F. and the Jonestown massacre happened on November 18, 1978 and the Moscone/Milk assassinations happened on November 27, 1978. So yeah, it was definitely a very strange and stressful time to be living in Frisco. It seemed like Armageddon. My father worked with a guy named Fred Lewis who lost 27 relatives at Jonestown. As far as a Jonestown-like event happening at Gold Base, I find it doubtful, but if the ‘perfect storm’ of mishaps, misadventures, miscommunications took place, like at Waco, it’s possible. I think Miscavige is more the mob boss type than the fanatical cult leader type. That’s a major factor.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Held to answer for trial, next arraignment set for June 7.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.

Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 18.

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 to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology has until June 25 to respond.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court grants review on May 26, asks Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration.
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.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] Scientology’s hammy Grant Cardone and the political operator: A significant connection?
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s happy promotions can’t hide the cancer eating away at its core
[THREE years ago] Joy Villa makes it back to the White House, but on a sour note
[FOUR years ago] Child deaths at a pop concert turn into the latest chance for Scientology to spread its propaganda
[FIVE years ago] Will Scientology’s celebrities heed the call and show up for today’s big media center opening?
[SIX years ago] Former Scientologist found guilty of defrauding other exes — ALSO: 1998 film re-release
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s drug rehab system hit with tenth federal fraud lawsuit by Las Vegas attorney
[EIGHT years ago] Garcias Answer Scientology’s Attempt to Disqualify Their Attorneys in Fraud Lawsuit


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 2,314 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,819 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,339 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,359 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,250 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,557 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,425 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,199 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,529 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,003 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,319 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,885 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,804 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,972 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,553 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,814 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,852 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,565 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,090 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 445 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,620 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,171 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,320 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,640 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,495 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,614 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,970 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,273 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,379 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,781 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,653 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,236 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,731 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,985 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,094 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 28, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email