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What you aren’t going to hear at this week’s appeal of Scientology ‘religious arbitration’

[Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and Danny Masterson will both be represented by attorneys Tuesday]

On Tuesday, attorneys for Danny Masterson’s accusers will get the chance to argue to a California appellate court that a lower court ruling forcing them into Scientology’s “religious arbitration” and derailing the lawsuit they had filed against Masterson and the Church of Scientology is unfair and a violation of their rights.

Scientology and Danny Masterson’s attorneys will also get their turns to present their oral arguments supporting the ruling.

Fortunately for us, the court is putting the hearing online in a live stream that you will be able to listen to along with us and the rest of the news media. And despite the arcane nature of what’s going to be argued — dense legal concepts about arbitration and obscure references to case law — we expect a pretty big media interest in the proceeding.

And why not. If you’re a regular Underground Bunker reader, you know that Tuesday’s showdown has a deep background, and will pit Masterson’s accusers, who want to sue the actor in a real court of law and not take part in Scientology’s jackleg version of arbitration, against Masterson himself, who has already indicated that he plans to take part personally if an arbitration eventually takes place. And an added bonus: Masterson will be represented in Tuesday’s hearing by Andrew Brettler, the Me-Too specialist whose clients include Armie Hammer, Bryan Singer, and even Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

The plaintiffs seeking to overturn the arbitration ruling — Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and two women going by Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 — will be represented by constitutional scholar Marci Hamilton. (A fifth plaintiff, Bobette Riales, was never a Scientologist and so she was unaffected by the arbitration ruling. Her part of the lawsuit is on hold for now. Also, the criminal case that Masterson faces which accuses him of raping Carnell-Bixler and the two Jane Does is a completely separate matter: His criminal trial is tentatively scheduled for February, and if he’s convicted he is facing 45 years to life in prison.)

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An indication that Hamilton might have the wind at her back on Tuesday was suggested when we saw what the court requested of both sides in recent weeks.

The court asked both sides to discuss whether Scientology’s brand of arbitration — which requires an arbitrating panel made up of Scientologists in good standing — could be considered “neutral” under the law. In her letter, Hamilton said that of course stacking the panel with Scientologists was inherently unfair; Scientology’s attorneys countered that its internal procedures are protected by its religious First Amendment rights and the court should butt out.

We’re looking forward to Tuesday’s clash, and we’ll be excited to have you along with us listening live that morning.

But before that takes place, we thought we’d take a moment and remind everyone what’s not being discussed on Tuesday. And by that, we mean the point of the lawsuit itself.

In August 2019, Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and her fellow plaintiffs filed their lawsuit alleging that since they had come forward in late 2016 to the LAPD with allegations that Masterson had raped the women, they had been subjected to a coordinated and bewildering campaign of surveillance and harassment by Masterson and Scientology, and its leader David Miscavige. Masterson and the church denied that they were harassing the plaintiffs, and Miscavige claimed he was never served properly.

Using a tactic that had worked previously in lawsuits filed by other former Scientologists — Luis and Rocio Garcia in 2013, and Valerie Haney earlier in 2019 — Scientology argued that because the plaintiffs who had been Scientologists had signed service contracts obliging them to take any grievance to Scientology’s own brand of in-house arbitration, they had no right to sue. All three times, lower court judges agreed with Scientology. The Garcias appealed their ruling in 2018, oral arguments in that appeal were heard in July 2020, and they are still waiting for a ruling. Haney petitioned the California Supreme Court and even the US Supreme Court, but wasn’t granted review. We thought the odds were also very long when Chrissie asked the state supreme court to grant review, but it surprised us and did. (And we thought it was no accident that the supreme court’s decision came a few days after Chrissie and the Jane Does had provided horrific testimony about their rape allegations in a preliminary hearing of the criminal case in May.)

It was attorney Ray Jeffrey who has pointed out to us that Scientology’s preference in court is to argue the law, not facts, and they have certainly had their way in these cases. For the last several years, all of this litigation has been mired in arcane rulings and mountains of legal briefs to do with arbitration, arbitration, arbitration.

And that’s exactly the way Scientology likes it. Because what’s not being discussed are the fraud allegations made by the Garcias, the allegations of kidnapping and stalking and libel made by Valerie Haney, and in the current case, the years of surveillance and harassment that Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and the others say they’ve been subjected to.

And to help make that point, we wanted to focus today on just one particular piece of evidence of that harassment and sabotage by the Church of Scientology that will not be discussed in Tuesday’s hearing, and may never be discussed in the civil lawsuit if it continues to be forced into Scientology arbitration.

What we’re referring to is a rather amazing moment that happened during the cross-examination of Jane Doe 1 during the May preliminary hearing in Danny Masterson’s criminal case. It’s something that we really didn’t detail during our daily coverage of the event, and none of the other media have focused on it either, but it’s a potentially explosive statement that was made in court under oath.

To understand why we consider it such a stunning moment in court, we need to set it up a little. During his cross-examination of Jane Doe 1, Danny Masterson’s criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau began asking her about something called an “O/W Write-Up.”

This is a very familiar term to Scientologists, if a complete mystery to the rest of us. But what it refers to are confessions that Scientologists are required to write often during their careers in the church. In these confessions, they are required to reveal their various transgressions, which are referred to as “overts” (something akin to a sin) and “withholds” (secrets being held back), and the result is a list of bad acts revealed in writing, an “O/W Write-Up.”

According to his questioning, Mesereau claimed that he was in possession of a typewritten O/W Write-Up of Jane Doe 1’s various transgressions and revelations, and it was something that both sides had had in their possession for some time. (Mesereau referred to an LAPD detective going over it with Jane Doe 1.)

In their back and forth, and with a clearly annoyed Judge Charlaine Olmedo wondering where Mesereau was going with it, Mesereau tried to get Jane Doe 1 to agree that the document was a record of her coming clean about various things, including her thoughts about what had happened with Danny Masterson at his house in the April 2003 incident that is the subject of the criminal rape allegation.

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Repeatedly, Jane Doe 1 said in her testimony that although she recognized some of the material, she had never typewritten an O/W Write-up in her entire Scientology career: all of the ones she had produced were handwritten, and she had never seen the typewritten document before.

Now, we will pause here to remind you that Scientology is notorious for digging through the files of former members for damaging things they had written or said in confessional sessions and then smearing them with it in court cases or on anonymous websites. We’ve documented this very familiar Scientology practice numerous times in the past. And here, Jane Doe 1 appeared to be suggesting that the typewritten document might be a smear job, containing some things she had actually said in confidence, mixed with other things and then combined in a document she’d never seen before.

Mesereau’s questions about this document only took a few minutes in a very narrow preliminary hearing that lasted only four days, and resulted in Judge Olmedo binding Masterson over for trial. But when that trial takes place, it will last weeks, dive deep into many documents and witnesses, and we have a feeling that this “O/W Write-Up” will come up again.

And here’s why we think it has some potential to be an explosive piece of evidence, not only in the criminal trial, but also in the civil lawsuit, if Jane Doe 1 and the other plaintiffs ever get the chance to present evidence of their harassment.

Because when Mesereau stopped to ask Jane Doe 1 where the highly questionable document had come from, this was her stunning answer:

Jane Doe 1: “I believe one of the Church’s private investigators turned it over to your investigator.”

The more we think about that answer, the more it hits us like a ton of bricks.

What Jane Doe 1 was saying to Tom Mesereau in open court was that one of Scientology’s private investigators — who are notorious for their dirty tricks — had dropped off a doctored document that purported to be Jane Doe 1’s confessions about Danny Masterson, to the investigator working for Danny Masterson’s criminal defense attorney.

If that’s the case, this would be direct evidence that Scientology had used one of its oldest methods, fake documents and sabotage, in an attempt to affect the criminal prosecution of Danny Masterson, and to harass one of the women who is suing the church for that very reason.

If the courts would reject Scientology’s bogus arbitration gambit once and for all, Jane Doe 1’s attorneys might have the opportunity to enter this kind of evidence as Exhibit One of Scientology’s attempt to harass these women.

And they might also be able to tell the court that the harassment did not stop when the lawsuit was filed in 2019.

In fact, we have evidence that Danny Masterson’s rape accusers are continuing to undergo daily, frightening harassment and intimidation and they are told that nothing can be done about it.

Private investigators parked outside their houses with cameras all day long. Strangers going through their trash cans in the middle of the night. Their email and phones and home security systems hacked and hacked again.

Even a pile of human shit dropped on the driveway of one accuser.

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When one of the private investigators was confronted for sitting outside of one accuser’s house all day a few weeks ago, he told her to “suck my dick.”

The Los Angeles Police Department has been told about this. Evidence has been gathered. It’s exactly the thing that police ask for: Photographs, license plate numbers, notes of conversations.

Still, nothing is done. And in court on Tuesday, the ongoing harassment of these women won’t come up at all. Instead, you will see legal experts wringing their hands about federal and state arbitration laws, and how binding a contract is years after it is signed. Thrilling stuff, all of it.

In the meantime, the women wait for Masterson’s trial to occur, but they are nearly at a breaking point, and especially after the date of the criminal trial was moved back again, now from November to February, and we are told that May or even July is more realistic — at least until Masterson finds a way to delay it again.

Can we prove that the middle of the night visits, the cars broken into, the poisoned meat thrown over a fence that killed a pet dog, are being done at the hands of the Church of Scientology or Masterson? No, we can’t.

But we don’t have the investigative resources of the LAPD or FBI, or their ability to run license plate numbers.

We are in New York, and we can’t get in the face of a private investigator sitting outside the home of Chrissie Carnell Bixler or Jane Doe 1 or Jane Doe 2. We would if we could.

But isn’t there a single fucking cop in Los Angeles who can?

 
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Jon Atack on Hubbard and Christianity

 

 

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Chris Shelton on ‘apostates’

 

 
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Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.

Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.

 
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Source Code

“The Fifth Invader Force came in to use this area, and the name of this solar system is Space Station 33. They started to use this area without suspecting that the Fourth Invader Force had been there for God knows how many skillion years, had been sitting down, and they have their installations up on Mars, and they have a tremendous, screened operation…Now, as I say, this sounds science-fictiony. Well, don’t let it sound science-fictiony to you, because the truth be told, it’s not science fiction. In the first place, it’s not fiction, and it really isn’t very closely resembling what you read and call science fiction. Science fiction is just a very chimerical sort of a picture of it. Space is wild. There aren’t any writers down here and there’s no audience down here that could take real stuff about space. It’s wild!” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 30, 1952

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“The ship lately has been lying too much in the harbor, has not been at sea enough. This is usually very bad for a crew. A ship, by definition, is something that goes to sea. After a day or so, people who tend to get queasy get over it and on short jumps do not get a chance to do so. You will also notice that the first few days at sea, a crew tends to stand around and not work. But after it has been at sea for three or four days, they get their sea legs and work and routine go on as usual.” — The Commodore, October 30, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“I think that a Seck Check for all returnees (LRH or not LRH) must be a mandatory action.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1999: Bob Minton reported friends in Boston and New Hampshire, and his daughter’s schools have been sent packets from Scientology. “This past weekend I got calls from people in Boston who said they received a letter from Scientology that read as follows: ‘If you have any dealings with Bob Minton of 137 Fremont Rd., Sandown, New Hampshire, please be aware of his activities on the Internet.’ Attached to the unsigned note were 2 posts to a.r.s made by Diane Richardson on 29 Sept and 30 Sept which amounted to 7 pages attached to the letter. Diane’s messages were purported to be IRC logs in which I had allegedly used profanity. I received calls from 5 different people in Sandown, New Hampshire, from different parts of town, telling me of the same letter. So that is the second mailing to over 4,000 residents here. Today, the two schools that my daughters attend in Boston received the same letter, again mailed from Boston.”

 
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Random Howdy

“When people say they got some good out of Scientology, I think to myself, ‘Yeah, telling your problems, fantasies or opinions to anybody, including hookers and homeless people, makes everybody feel better…derp!.’ This blog is my ‘auditing’.”

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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 December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

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.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
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 November 2.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 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 June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.

 
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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] Riley Keough to outdo Elisabeth Moss for most hypocritical Scientologist?
[TWO years ago] SCIENTOLOGISTS FACE ADDITIONAL CHARGES IN NARCONON FRAUD CASE AHEAD OF TRIAL
[THREE years ago] Scientology hails study vindicating its rehab program — so we take a closer look
[FOUR years ago] Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard as a cop in Los Angeles: What’s the real truth?
[FIVE years ago] Scientology will go after your kids with its quack ideas on drugs — even at a Christian school
[SIX years ago] Leah Remini dishes on Scientology — Live-blogging the ABC 20/20 special
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology outside the official church: ‘I’m quite happy with the world the way it is’
[EIGHT years ago] Clearwater Tent Showdown: Scientology Reportedly Getting Ready for Events Next Week
[NINE years ago] Another Scientology Victory: Photos of Marc Headley’s Roof Being Repaired!

 
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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 2,469 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,974 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,494 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,514 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,405 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,712 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,580 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,354 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,684 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,158 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,474 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,040 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,959 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,127 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,708 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,969 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,005 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,720 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,245 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 600 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,775 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,326 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,475 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,795 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,650 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,769 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,125 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,428 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,534 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,932 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,808 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,391 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,886 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,140 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,249 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 30, 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

 

Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast

 

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