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We’re listening live to today’s oral arguments about Scientology’s ‘religious arbitration’

[Attorneys Marci Hamilton and Andrew Brettler will be speaking today]

Today at 9 am in Los Angeles (noon here in New York, 4 pm in London) we’ll be listening in to the livestream at California’s 2nd Appellate District as oral arguments are presented about Scientology’s “religious arbitration.”

What’s at stake is an appeal by Danny Masterson’s rape accusers, who want the court to overturn a lower court ruling that has denied them the right to sue Masterson and the Church of Scientology for what they claim is years of surveillance and harassment.

This is a complex case, and if you listen in, please keep in mind that pretty arcane points of law are going to be argued today, not rape allegations.

In late 2016 three women — Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, Jane Doe 1, and Jane Doe 2 — came forward to the Los Angeles Police Department with allegations that they had been raped by Danny Masterson years earlier when they were members of the Church of Scientology. They say they didn’t come forward sooner because they didn’t know about each other and because they were terrified of retaliation from the church.

After they did come forward, they say they have been subjected to constant surveillance and harassment. (Which, we pointed out Saturday, continues to the present day.) So, while they waited for the LAPD and the District Attorney’s department to charge Masterson criminally, in August 2019 they filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson, Scientology, and Scientology leader David Miscavige. The lawsuit is only about the harassment campaign, and not about the rape allegations.

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Joining them in the suit was Chrissie’s husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and a fourth woman, Bobette Riales, who had also joined the LAPD investigation with her own allegations of being raped by Masterson, but she was never a Scientologist.

In June 2020 the District Attorney’s office did charge Masterson for violently raping Chrissie, Jane Doe 1, and Jane Doe 2. His trial is tentatively scheduled for February, and if he’s convicted he’s facing 45 years to life in prison.

In December 2020, the civil lawsuit was derailed when LA Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield granted a motion by Scientology denying the plaintiffs right to trial. Kleifield had agreed with Scientology’s argument that as former Scientologists, four of the plaintiffs (except for Riales) had signed service contracts obliging them to take any grievance — even allegations of stalking and harassment occurring years after they were in the church — to Scientology’s own brand of “religious arbitration,” which requires an arbitrating panel of three Scientologists in good standing.

The plaintiffs petitioned the California Supreme Court, which granted review of the case in May. That’s resulted in today’s hearing at the 2nd Appellate District, where the two sides will be arguing about Kleifield’s ruling.

Again, they will not be arguing about the rape allegations or whether Danny Masterson has committed a crime. They won’t even be arguing over the civil lawsuit’s allegations of harassment. This hearing is strictly about Kleifield’s ruling which granted Scientology’s motion to force the case out of court and into its “religious arbitration.”

The appeals court asked both sides to submit letters about whether, with its all-Scientologist arbitrating panel, Scientology’s proceeding could be considered “neutral.” So we figure both sides will primarily be addressing that question today.

Here’s the lineup that is scheduled for today.

Constitutional scholar Marci Hamilton is representing the petitioners, and she’ll have 15 minutes.

Matthew Hinks is representing the Religious Technology Center (RTC), and he’ll have 5 minutes. RTC is the nominally controlling entity of the Scientology movement, and Miscavige is its “Chairman of the Board,” hence his nickname in Scientology, “C.O.B.”

Andrew Brettler is representing Masterson, and he’ll have 5 minutes. Brettler’s gained a lot of notoriety since it was revealed that he is now representing Prince Andrew in a lawsuit filed by a woman who says Jeffrey Epstein gave her to the Duke of York as an underage sexual treat.

William Forman is representing the Church of Scientology International and the Celebrity Centre International, and he’ll have 15 minutes.

Join us in the comments as we try to catch what’s being said and make sense of it. Help us out with that if you can! Here’s the link to join the livestream.

 
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Leah Remini’s podcast: Tory Christman

Says Mike: “Her story covers the gamut — OSA dirty tricks, disconnection, the Lisa McPherson Trust, being Fair Gamed and a whole lot more. It is one of those episodes that might have continued for many hours. She is such a bright, smart and kind person, especially in light of all she has been through.” Read our 2001 story about Tory’s escape from Scientology. And listen to the podcast right here!

 
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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

“I, one time, asked a bunch of mothers why they didn’t shorten the school hours and so forth and make it a little bit easier on the kids and so forth. And they were shocked. And I very carefully cross-questioned them and discovered that uniformly these ladies had no idea whatsoever of their child being educated — that there was any advantage whatsoever in learning how to read or write or do things in school, but boy, you sure had a lot of free time there with no kids underfoot! Now, that’s a brutal statement, but that’s why they put the kids in school; school is a wonderful method. These people, by the way, had children in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth grades. And they were — they were flabbergasted that I would be interested in whether or, what the child was being taught and what good it was doing the child.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 2, 1953

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

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“WEATHER: It was a lovely day yesterday. It was quite warm and sunny. A cable, however, came in from ‘Sublime Headquarters,’ very garbled. ‘You were supposed to move SOUTH not to the south SIDE of the island. On the (illegible) of (illegible) spread (blank) jellybeans.’ I put this through our code machine but could make nothing of it at all. It is very aggravating to be hit when we have already obeyed the order. Miscommunication or something. They haven’t got all the facts. On the other hand our own intelligence agents have uncovered a conspiracy campaign put out by Nelson Killafeller, Head Vulture of Smersh to knock out all the Duck beams and disrupt the entire migration. Killafeller originated the ‘Vultures for World Conquest’ movement. This evidently requires, according to a long, long report that came in on lines that all other birds must be stockaded and implanted to make the world safe for vultures. I don’t know but I don’t think Webspread ought to be off post at this time.” — The Commodore, November 2, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“Captain Bill said in his tech briefing number five, it’s on Youtube, that once you do ot3 and the solo stuff you will no longer be at affect of the implanters. I disagree because once someone has done that stuff they still have to breathe chemtrail air, they still have no idea what chemtrails are, they still can get tricked by a false flag like 9/11, they still can get abducted by an alien and get semen taken then have a false memory implanted as to what occurred during the abduction. I’m sure they’ve had great wins but I think what Captain Bill has said makes someone think they can become invincible just by doing the levels alone. I don’t think so.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1995: Jeff Jacobsen provided a summary of the Cult Awareness Network Conference held last week in White Plains, NY. “About 270 attended and about a dozen Scientologists hung around the hotel bugging people. Early Friday morning Snipe and I set up his computer in the book sale room and gave an Internet demonstration during the day. I think we made several converts to the net there. At supper CAN officials told that they have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy (this is to reorganize, not dissolve) in order to win time to appeal the Jason Scott decision against CAN. There is also a CAN lawsuit against Scientology and Bowles & Moxon I think on conspiracy charges based on the 46 lawsuits that Moxon apparently boilerplated against CAN.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Miscavige became Emperor through the Hubbard-approved Roman rules of ascension, which he achieved by his control of the Praetorian guard of the Sea Org, the CMO. Once becoming Caesar, how could he smash his name into the history books of his hermit kingdom? He can’t add to the ‘tech’ so all that is left for him to do is BUILD BUILD BUILD. It’s all about the ruinous runt’s ego.”

 

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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] Can Danny Masterson’s attorneys delay his arraignment on rape charges again today?
[TWO years ago] VIDEO LEAK: Late-stage Scientology is even more depressing than we thought
[THREE years ago] Freewinds, part 3: How the cruise ship fits Scientology’s methods of obfuscation and lies
[FOUR years ago] Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
[FIVE years ago] What the first trailer for Leah Remini’s Scientology series tells us about her show
[SIX years ago] Chapter by chapter, the best parts of Leah Remini’s book ‘Troublemaker’
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology is finger lickin’ good!
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack Answers The Question: How Do Smart People Fall for Scientology?
[NINE years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: The Final Dispatches
[TEN years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige Fed Gourmet Meals Every Few Hours: Australian TV
[TWELVE years ago] Proof that Scientology Works!

 
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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 2,472 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,977 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,497 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,517 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,408 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,715 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,583 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,357 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,687 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,161 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,477 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,043 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,962 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,130 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,711 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,972 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,008 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,723 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,248 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 603 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,778 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,329 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,478 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,798 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,653 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,772 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,128 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,431 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,537 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,935 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,811 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,394 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,889 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,143 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,252 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on November 2, 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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