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


Scientology intervenes at Danny Masterson hearing, judge refuses to dismiss rape charges

[Scientology attorney William Forman and Danny Masterson]

Today’s event in the criminal prosecution of Danny Masterson was scheduled to be a short hearing on a defense motion to dismiss, but it started out with a surprising appearance by attorneys for the Church of Scientology.

One of the biggest questions we’ve had since we first broke the news that the LAPD was investigating Masterson in 2017 was whether Scientology would continue to back him as he eventually faced charges for allegedly raping three women. (His trial is scheduled for August 29 and he’s facing 45 years to life in prison if he’s convicted.)

At times, we’ve observed that Masterson’s legal team has made some odd choices that suggested to us that they may be consulting with Scientology leader David Miscavige.

But Scientology’s role in Danny’s defense became a lot more visible when today’s hearing in the courtroom of Judge Ronald S. Coen began with an appearance by two attorneys for the church, William Forman and Vicki Podberesky.

Forman had apparently submitted an amicus brief to the court and had asked to address the judge.


Judge Coen noted how unusual it was. Forman had apparently said in his amicus brief that the church was not objecting to Olmedo’s ruling that bound Masterson over for trial, but that the church was concerned that Judge Olmedo had agreed with the prosecution that the text “Introduction to Scientology Ethics” does instruct Scientologists not to report crimes to law enforcement.

If you remember, last May when we were covering the preliminary hearing, we described how defense attorney Tom Mesereau had borrowed prosecutor Reinhold Mueller’s copy of Intro to Ethics in order to get Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, one of the three victims who were testifying, to read a page and admit there was nothing on it about not reporting to police. But later, Mueller brought the book up and showed that it did refer to not reporting a Scientologist to civil authorities in another chapter. It seemed to be a supremely unwise mistake by Mesereau, and we reported that he’d been encouraged to bring up the book by Vicki Podberesky, the Scientology lawyer.

Now it’s plain that Scientology is extremely freaked out by its “Ethics” book being used in a criminal rape case, and to prove that Scientologists are covering up crimes. So much so that the church took the extremely unusual step of having its attorneys show up at a motion to dismiss hearing.

Forman said the church wanted Judge Coen to find that it was improper for Olmedo to conclude what she did from the Ethics book, and asked him to overturn the finding that Scientology’s doctrine prevents Scientologists from reporting crimes to police.

Judge Coen explained that it wasn’t his role to examine Scientology doctrine and make that sort of determination. This was a “995” hearing, a motion to dismiss based on the idea that not enough evidence had been presented at the preliminary hearing to justify Judge Olmedo’s ruling to schedule a trial.

He denied the amicus brief and moved on.

For the 995 hearing itself, Masterson’s two new attorneys, Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen, took their seats at the defense table while the other two members of his defense team, Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum sat in the gallery. Cohen did the talking.

He questioned whether Judge Olmedo had relied on testimony in the hearing or had gone beyond her bounds to find that Masterson should stand trial. Cohen also brought up the Scientology Ethics book, and that it was improper for Judge Olmedo to use it as evidence.

When it was his turn, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller pointed out that it was Mesereau who brought up the Ethics book and pointed to a page and said there was nothing there about reporting to law enforcement. So Mueller had pointed to another chapter to show that it was, indeed there. But now, the defense is trying to say that the judge should never have relied on it at all.

It does seem ridiculous.

Ultimately, Judge Coen said his role at this kind of hearing was very simple, and he didn’t find that Judge Olmedo erred when she ruled on the evidence that had been presented to her.

The motion was dismissed, and the rape charges stand.

The two parties then walked down the hall to Judge Olmedo’s courtroom.

We had written previously about Danny Masterson’s new attorney, Shawn Holley, serving subpoenas that were remarkably like a previous set that had been quashed by Judge Olmedo last summer.


In court today, Holley claimed that she had not just sent out the same requests, but had tried to narrow their scope. She also asked to delay things so she could submit a response to Kelli Sager’s motion to quash that was filed yesterday for the production companies that filmed Leah Remini’s “Scientology and the Aftermath” series.

Judge Olmedo said no. She said that it wasn’t just that the original subpoenas were overbroad. There were other problems, and just because Danny brought in a new attorney, she doesn’t get the right to relitigate the same issue.

Judge Olmedo pointed out that the defense already has a huge amount of material to work with. And if they wanted to submit further subpoenas, they would have to submit them to the court for review first.

Holley was still trying to serve some of the victims and witnesses with subpoenas, but Judge Olmedo instructed her to submit them to the court.

She set the next pretrial conference for May 31.

The prospect of a criminal trial for Danny Masterson becomes even more real.


Leah Remini podcast: Aharon Friedman

Says Mike: “Aharon Friedman is a professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, a former scientologist and today serves on the Board of the Israeli Center for Cults’ Victims. Unlike L. Ron Hubbard, he really IS a nuclear physicist, his official title is Head – Schlesinger Knowledge Center for Accelerators and Radiation Sources. We talk about his experiences in scientology, what drove him to escape and his work helping victims of cults today.” Listen to the episode right here!


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.


Source Code

“You want to make a Clear Clear. You want to make somebody who won’t have any trouble with the Goals Problem Mass or any trouble with the bank from there on out, and all of his fondest hopes, and so forth. And of course, if you keep doing that in extremis and then straighten out the whole track, and take up all fragments of the Goals Problem Mass in their turn and handle all them, you’ll make an OT. You couldn’t help it. So you probably could make a Dynamic Clear or a Clear Clear, a stable, a very stable Clear by moving straight on through the Goals Problem Mass and getting these valences parked in their proper places on the track so they’re not troubling the pc, and so forth. And he’d stay that way. It’s taken trillennia to get these things assembled into a black sponge. And it’ll take him more trillennia to get them back together again because it’s quite accidental that they remain in that weirdly balanced balance. You mean somebody has got a package that comes from 10 trillion years ago, beautifully poised and balanced against a package that came from 110 trillion years ago, and he’s got a 100 trillion year loop in the Goals Problem Mass. And these two things are opposing each other gorgeously. How does he do it? I ask you. Thetans are skilled, but I never expected them to be that clever. But they actually can do it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 8, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“MIMEO FILES FB: DOUG LEWIS is removed as I/C and demoted in the same unit for being unable to handle people and neglecting to study the project or clarify intention. Robert Williamson is restored to Mimeo Files I/C with orders to get the files set up. Doug Lewis, Robert Williamson, Mort Smithberg and Richard Bunnell are affected by this order. It is noted that Smithberg, a speed typist, should never have been assigned to this unit and should be replaced soonest. The project has no typing or stencil cutting duties. Its sole duty is to set up and to file all loose mimeos on the ship NOW, NOW, NOW. I haven’t seen such an enmest mess for a long while!” — The Commodore, February 8, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientologists that are in the know, myself, likewise, a former exoplanet space-academy member. The more we know and the less the cabal withholds info, spiritual awareness, and their hidden agendas, the easier and faster it will become to get the general population woke to injustice, and knowledgeable or aware enough to want and demand more knowledge, including the knowledge and technology of the LRH Bridge. The Sea Org motto is ‘We Return.’ The old sea was Space, and now, once again, the new sea will be a return to Space.”



Past is Prologue

1996: Keith Spurgeon posted a liability write-up from an Internet-reading Scientology member. It included a description from the subject of the ethics order. “I was assigned a ‘condition of confusion’ in spring 1995 for reading material critical of Scientology. [keith’s note: including posts from this newsgroup] I worked my way up through ‘doubt’ and then to ‘liability.’ You then atone for the damage caused by your wavering or previous doubt by demonstrating renewed and strong commitment to the group. Since in my case I had been looking at the Internet and had met with apostates, it was suggested by my E/D [Executive Director] that I write letters to newspapers on behalf of the Task Force for Freedom and Responsibility on the Internet in order to deliver an effective blow against the enemies of the group. This ‘amends project’ was completed by the time the document below was written. The liability write-up (below) is essentially an application for readmission into the group of Scientologists, to be read by the persons you request to sign it. My friends are those Scientologists who act to help themselves and others progress toward the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. My friends are members of the group of Scientologists. By doing a Doubt condition, I decided that I was a member of this group, and to deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group I [w]rote 14 letters to newspaper editors in [names of cities deleted]. The letter was written for publication in the editorial sections, and covered the issue of copyright violations occurring on the Internet. I was writing on behalf of the Task Force for Responsibility and Freedom on the Internet, a Scientology organization. These were mailed 13 August.”


Random Howdy

Stan Lee, Forrest J Ackerman and Hugh Hefner are the Holy Trinity of my adolescence.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
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 March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Next hearing February 15.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
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: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] NARCONON SHRINKAGE: Scientology lists only five US locations as ‘Fresh Start’ is removed
[TWO years ago] War on wogs is hell: A peek inside Scientology right now, and it’s not pretty
[FOUR years ago] David Palter, 1952-2018: Remembering a Scientologist who became a steady critic
[FIVE years ago] Ron Miscavige on life at Scientology’s secretive Gold Base (and getting thrown in its lake)
[SEVEN years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s plan to consolidate his lawsuits against Scientology rehabs is denied
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack on Scientology’s methods of ‘thought stopping’
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Buys Its Way Out of Courtroom Nightmare
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Gag Reflex: The Church’s History of Enforcing a Vow of Silence


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 2,569 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,074 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,594 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,614 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,505 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,812 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,680 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,454 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,785 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,258 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,574 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,140 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,059 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,227 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,808 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,069 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,105 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,820 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,345 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 700 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,875 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,426 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,575 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,895 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,750 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,869 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,225 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,528 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,634 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,032 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,908 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,491 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,986 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,240 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,349 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 8, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email