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Danny Masterson accusers answer Scientology’s salvo at California appeals court

[Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and Danny Masterson]

[UPDATE: Laura Prepon follows Beck’s lead by mentioning in a People interview today that she’s been out of Scientology for five years. Given her association with Danny Masterson and past intimidation of one of his victims, she has more to explain. We’ve asked Leah Remini for her thoughts, but she’s taping six episodes of her game show today so it may be a while before we hear from her.]

“I changed my mind” is not a defense: That’s what Scientology told a California appeals court last month, asking the court to uphold an earlier decision that essentially killed a lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s rape accusers against the That ’70s Show actor and the Church of Scientology itself.

This is in regards to the civil lawsuit that Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and three more of Masterson’s accusers (and Chrissie’s husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala) filed against Masterson and the church, alleging that since the women came forward to the LAPD in 2016 they have been subjected to years of a coordinated harassment campaign. The lawsuit is over that harassment, not the rapes themselves, which are the subject of a separate criminal case.

Scientology’s attorneys, however, convinced a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Steven Kleifield, that four of the five plaintiffs, the ones who had been Scientologists, signed contracts while they were in the church which obligated them to submit their complaints not to civil court but to Scientology’s internal brand of “religious arbitration,” and Kleifield agreed that they didn’t deserve a day in court.

But then, just days after three of the women testified in May about their rape allegations in the criminal case, the California Supreme Court decided to grant a review of Kleifield’s ruling, and asked the state’s 2nd Appellate Division to handle it.

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Previously, we saw the statement from Scientology that a contract is a contract and it doesn’t matter that the former Scientologists no longer are a part of the church. Scientology does its best to divorce this litigation from the allegations by the women while focusing on legalistic definitions about arbitration and service contracts.

Now, attorney Bobby Thompson has filed a reply that we figured you’d want to see. He’s very much foregrounding the allegations by the women, which seems a smart bet after the way the state supreme court seemed to react to those allegations in the criminal case.

After Petitioners reported the sexual assaults to legal authorities in violation of Church dogma, all the Petitioners relevant to this Petition were all deemed “Suppressive Persons”—individuals who Defendants declare to be an enemy of Scientology. Scientology doctrine holds that reporting any crime by any member of the Church to police is considered a “high crime” in the faith and subject to punishment. (“Police and courts offer an open-armed opportunity to the vicious and corrupt to establish themselves in a position of safety while satisfying their strange appetites or perverted viciousness toward their fellow man.”). As a result of reporting and/or speaking out about the rapes, Petitioners were relentlessly terrorized, stalked, and harassed as part of a “Fair Game campaign” designed to “shudder [them] into silence,” “obliterate [them],”and “ruin [them] utterly.” Petitioners alleged these acts occurred both while they were in the religion and after they exited the religion. Defendants hired private investigators to surveil, follow, videorecord, and photograph Petitioners. Petitioners’ phones were illegally tapped, their emails and bank accounts hacked, home security systems breached, and property destroyed. As a result, Petitioners live in constant fear for their safety and that of their family members.

Judge Kleifield’s decision, however, not only denies these former Scientologists a day in court, it asks them to participate in an “arbitration” that Masterson himself has said he intends to participate in, which appears to be in violation of the criminal court’s protective order and Marsy’s Law.

Thompson’s document also advances the argument we’re seeing Valerie Haney make in the US Supreme Court, that it is a violation of the rights of these former Scientologists that a civil court judge would force them into a proceeding held by a religious organization they no longer belong to.

The plaintiffs here are hoping that there’s enough dispute between courts to motivate the appeals court to step in and provide some clarity.

Give the briefing a look and let us know what you think. It seems like a strong document to us, but it’s hard to know how such a review might come out.

 

Bixler v. Scientology: Repl… by Tony Ortega

 
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Scientology in Ottawa is really swinging

We received this field report from a Bunker reader and thought you’d want to see it…

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Last week my company sent me to our Ottawa office to assist them for a few days. While I was there I thought I would check out the Ottawa org and see what it looked like.

After looking up the address I found it was in a section of the city called Vanier which is located about 10 minutes (depending on traffic) east of Capitol Hill, beside the Bytown Market which is the center of nightlife in the city.

 

 
The “Life Improvement Center” itself is in an area that is run down. There is a lot of roadwork going on a few blocks in each direction of it, but the street in front is currently untouched, but it needs work. There were big pylons out front, so maybe it was scheduled but not yet started. Directly across the road is a strip mall that is about half empty and the other half is not doing well. Two doors down from that is a large bingo hall. All over the place are signs saying parking restricted to patrons of local place.

The org itself is in a multfunction building. There is one door on the front that is common to the org on the west side of the building, a business on the east side of the building and a staircase leading to what I assume are apartments above both businesses. On the west side, behind the org is another business which was a market for specialty foods, which tells me the org itself is fairly shallow to allow the other store behind it.

The only parking at the place was a small alley that accommodated two to three vehicles and space for another two to pull into for very short times. When I was there, it was being used by people in the market behind the org. There was no yellow van anywhere to be found. I walked up the street and checked out nearby lots and could not find it, so I do not think it exists.

The org’s front window was broken, fixed temporarily by tape. It did not look fresh so it may have been like that for a while. Inside were the various books on display. They did not look overly bleached from the sun so they may have recently been updated. There was a recording playing extolling the benefits of Scientology. I never stopped long enough to listen to hear specifics as it was obvious I was on camera. On the west corner of the building I saw two cameras. one facing down the alley, one down the main street. I also saw something dead center of the two windows.

 

 
I thought I got a picture of it, but apparently someone used their theta powers on me and switched the camera to a different mode so I lost it. I do not know if it was a listening device, or the speaker that was playing the recording. Either way I wanted to give them as little info about me as I could so I did not linger long. Basically it looked similar to a black lipstick tube, maybe a bit bigger, was horizontal to the ground about eight feet up under the top of the window and covered in spider webs.

The org was not dark, but I could not see a lot of light from inside either. I did not see anyone inside but again, I did not wait around all that long. While making my exit, there was someone who came out of the building’s main door. She saw me watching her, and I think she just lived in the apartments above because she looked ashamed to be seen. She did not stick around so I knew she was not following me. Admittedly I may have been a bit paranoid. Better safe than sorry.

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Overall the place felt dead. The area is not conducive to foot traffic. There were very few people on the street, but the road itself was fairly busy as it is a fairly major road that leads directly to Capitol Hill.

— Garumpf

 
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Leah Remini podcast: The Sea Org, with Hana Whitfield

Says Mike: “Hana Whitfield is such a pleasure to talk to. One of the nicest, kindest people I have had the pleasure of knowing, she is also one of the most interesting. She helped us on The Aftermath, appearing on the episode ‘The Life and Lies of L. Ron Hubbard’ (S2 E 13). Hana joined the Sea Org before it was the Sea Org (it was originally named the Sea Project) in 1967, and went on to Captain various Sea Org ships and bases. We do a deep dive into the early years of the formation of the SO, her recollections of Hubbard, his ‘Mission Into Time’ and much more.” Listen to the episode right here!

 
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Source Code

“I’ve been working on a clear cut statement of what are the beliefs of Scientology. It will be under survey. I am working on the Scientologists Hat. Without such a statement it is hard to get word of mouth. We are well into a Messianic period on Earth. Progress has been made on this. I can write, I think, a ‘Book of Fate.’ I have also made an advance in research on the character and handling of mental mass. Some weeks ago I conceived we did not know all there was to know about high and lo TAs and have suddenly made big progress. The answer was unexpectedly simple and includes auditing over out suppressed ruds that one doesn’t suspect are out! We just don’t pay enough attention to it. Big answers are very basic. So I feel cheerful.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 17, 1971

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“US DOLLAR: The Socialist planning for crashed finance goes along apace. Nixon has just announced the forthcoming devaluation of the dollar. Means it will buy less. We are safe enough at the moment. But this rapid deterioration of the existing US cultural scene pushes us. We have to get Europe viable fast fast fast. That means translations more and faster. That means a beefed up EULO. A special action is needed for AF. UK needs picking up quickly.” — The Commodore, August 17, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“The goal of Scientology is not to produce sensation. The goal of Scientology auditing is not to produce good feelings. Most Scientology haters say Scientology is a scam because the sensations they got faded away. But that’s just normal. It’s like when you graduate. You feel great, then you feel normal again, that doesn’t mean that your studies were worthless. But that’s the position that many haters seem to hold. The goal of Scientology is to increase knowledge, understanding, to help you regain awareness and increase ability in general. And it works, it does deliver.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1995: Helena Kobrin announced this week that the OT portion of the Fishman materials have been sealed by Judge Harry Hupp. “This order blocks access to the Advanced Technology filed by the defendants in that case, thus foreclosing unauthorized persons from mistakenly claiming any entitlement to copy and distribute any of those materials without the permission of Religious Technology Center (RTC), the exclusive copyright licensee and trade secret owner.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Hubbardese was definitely inspired by ‘Newspeak,’ in my opinion. All cults engage in it to some degree.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for November 10. Trial tentatively scheduled for February.
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 Sept 9.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30, 2020 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
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: Third 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 23. Appeal hearing scheduled for Aug 23-27.

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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THE PROSECUTION OF DANNY MASTERSON

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.

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 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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Brian Statler’s family wins right to police report and Scientology surveillance footage
[TWO years ago] ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ participants send in their tributes as series is set to end
[THREE years ago] The Garcias won’t go down without a fight: Filing appeal of Scientology’s ‘arbitration’ farce
[FOUR years ago] Celebrity battle lines: Michael Peña’s wife asks Scientologists to ‘Stand with Daniel Masterson’
[FIVE years ago] A rare gem from 1968: When the Daily Mail tracked down L. Ron Hubbard in Tunisia
[SIX years ago] Once shy about the Internet, Scientology is now oversharing on social media
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The apocalypse is here, and it is ideal
[EIGHT years ago] SCIENTOLOGY SUPER POWER IS COMING: OCTOBER 6!
[NINE years ago] Jason Beghe’s Letter to Scientology Attorneys: Yes, I’ll Settle Your $1 Million Lawsuit for $19K
[TEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone

 
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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 2,395 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,900 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,420 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,440 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,331 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,638 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,506 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,280 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,610 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,084 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,400 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,966 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,885 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,053 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,634 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,895 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,933 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,646 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,171 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 526 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,701 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,252 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,401 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,721 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,576 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,695 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,051 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,354 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,460 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,858 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,734 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,317 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,812 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,066 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,175 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on August 17, 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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