SUPPORT THE
UNDERGROUND BUNKER
You can either make a one-time donation to the site via Paypal...

...or you can subscribe and get billed monthly:
FOLLOW ME ON
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR
E-MAIL LIST
To join our e-mail list & get daily updates on new stories, e-mail us at newstory@tonyortega.org.
RSS Feed
Click here to add The Underground Bunker to your RSS Reader

Categories

In Danny Masterson rape case, Scientology tried to put LA court through ‘Truth Rundown’

[Scientology attorney William Forman, and Danny Masterson]

On February 8 there was a hearing in Danny Masterson’s rape case, and it received substantial coverage from the news media. Masterson’s motion to have the charges against him thrown out was denied by Judge Ronald Coen. The parties then moved down the hall to the trial court of Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who quashed a new set of duplicative subpoenas by Masterson’s new attorney, Shawn Holley.

You no doubt saw plenty of coverage of this, and some of it was very good, describing how Masterson had lost out on another chance to kill the case, and now he’s facing a criminal trial beginning August 29 which has him facing 45 years to life in prison if he’s convicted.

But for some reason most of those news reports left out maybe the most remarkable thing that happened that morning.

We were here in New York and couldn’t attend the hearing. But when we heard from our sources there about what had taken place at the courthouse we were dumbfounded, and in our own story that day we highlighted what we considered a truly stunning development: The Church of Scientology’s bizarre attempt to intervene in the criminal case of its own celebrity, who is accused of being a violent serial rapist.

Now we’ve obtained the actual document that the church used to attempt its intervention, and it’s even more surprising than we realized.

Advertisement

What the Church of Scientology attempted that morning was no less than running its “Truth Rundown” on the Los Angeles Superior Court, and we think you’ll find it as newsworthy as we do when you see just how Scientology tried to pull it off.

To fully appreciate what we’re talking about, we need to set up a few things helping to explain a complex set of court cases. Briefly, there is a criminal prosecution of Danny Masterson taking place in the courtroom of Judge Charlaine Olmedo, where the trial is scheduled to take place beginning August 29. Danny is the only defendant in this case, and the Church of Scientology is not a party at all.

Danny and the Church of Scientology are both defendants in a separate civil lawsuit that was filed not only by the three women accusing him of rape in the criminal case, but also a husband of one of the victims and a fourth woman, who also alleges she was sexually assaulted by Masterson. But the civil lawsuit is not about the rape allegations: The five plaintiffs are suing Masterson and the church over what they claim is a campaign of harassment since the women came forward to the LAPD in 2016.

Because the Church is a defendant in that civil lawsuit, we’re very used to seeing its attorneys, including William Forman for the Church of Scientology International (CSI) appearing in court and submitting briefs.

What we’re not used to seeing is Forman showing up and submitting filings in the criminal case, where Scientology is not a defendant. But on February 8, that’s exactly what happened. Before the motion to dismiss could be heard that morning, Forman asked to be heard because he had filed an “amicus brief” with the court, attempting to intervene in the case.

Even without knowing what was in that filing, what the church tried to do that morning is pretty stunning all by itself. Why? Because one of the most frequent questions we get about the Danny Masterson prosecution is Scientology’s relationship to it.

Danny grew up in Scientology and was one of its more active celebrity members after he hit it big with his role as Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show. Now that he was being accused of violently raping multiple women, and had been charged under California’s harsh “One Strike” law that could potentially put him away for life, what would Scientology do? Many told us they expected Scientology leader David Miscavige to abandon Masterson as the case brought lots of bad press for the organization.

We predicted that Scientology would be an important part of the case, but even we were surprised how much Scientology became the subject of testimony in the case when a four-day preliminary hearing was held last May. This was a disaster for Scientology as its policies about not reporting crime to law enforcement was being examined by both the prosecution and the defense at the hearing.

And we’ve pointed out numerous times that it seemed pretty obvious Masterson’s defense team, led by famous attorney Tom Mesereau, was taking direction from Miscavige, leading to some pretty disastrous moments in court.

Far from dropping Danny, David Miscavige and Scientology seemed to be taking an active role in his defense, even though Scientology is not a party and its own attorneys are not involved.

Then, on February 8, Scientology’s attorneys did show up at the criminal courthouse, only emphasizing how much the church was part of the criminal case. And what they tried to do is simply astounding.

We can only compare it to Scientology’s most Orwellian of practices, what it calls the “Truth Rundown.” It’s a brutal set of interrogations meant to convince a Scientologist that they cannot trust what they saw with their own eyes, and implant ideas that the church wants them to accept.

Perhaps the most famous instance of Scientology inflicting its Truth Rundown on someone was when it was run on Leah Remini following the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

At the wedding, Leah was surprised to see that Tom’s best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there at the ceremony held in a castle near Rome but was without his wife, Shelly Miscavige. And not only was Dave there without his wife, but Leah was stunned to see Dave getting handsy with his “personal communicator,” Laurisse Stuckenbrock. When she asked Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis why Shelly wasn’t at the wedding, he told her she didn’t “have the fucking rank” to ask the question. Stunned by that response, Leah went back to her hotel room in Rome, called up a Scientologist friend in Los Angeles, and then hammered out a “Knowledge Report” writing up the entire incident. She ended up turning in the lot of them, including Miscavige, for what she felt was unethical behavior. In other words, she had turned in the Pope of Scientology to Scientology itself.

Advertisement

As punishment, the church ordered Leah to its Clearwater, Florida “spiritual mecca” where, for the next three or four months she was subjected to daily, bewildering interrogations — the Truth Rundown — which were intended to convince her that she could not trust her own eyes, and to disavow what she had written in her Knowledge Report. She could not leave until she agreed that she did not see David Miscavige engage in unethical conduct. Two plus two equals five.

Now, Scientology was going to try the same thing on the Los Angeles Superior Court.

We were sitting in the front row at the preliminary hearing in May when Judge Charlaine Olmedo heard testimony about Scientology’s policies regarding turning in fellow Scientologists to the police. But now, Scientology attorney William Forman’s job was to convince Judge Ronald Coen that what happened last May didn’t happen, that what Judge Olmedo and your proprietor heard and saw in open court did not occur, and that Scientology had been gravely harmed and the US Constitution and religious freedom in this country were on the line.

First, before we show you how Scientology and Forman attempted to do this, we need to remind you what actually happened last May in Judge Olmedo’s courtroom. We know, because we were there, we reported on it at the time, and we also have transcripts for all four days.

Here’s what actually occurred.

On the opening day, the Masterson accuser who is calling herself Jane Doe 1 testified that she had felt woozy after a drink Masterson gave her and after the actor had tossed her in his jacuzzi. Danny then insisted that he take her upstairs to get her to throw up, and after taking her to his bathroom, put a headband on her to hold her hair back and stuck his fingers down her throat and she vomited. She testified that she was in and out of consciousness and was surprised to find herself in the shower, with Masterson soaping up her breasts. When she later came to again, she was on his bed and Masterson was on top of her with his penis in her vagina. She fought to get him off of her, and he covered her face with a pillow as she lost consciousness again.

Later, she said, he had told her “don’t fucking move” when he thought someone was outside the door, and had brandished a pistol at her. She ended up crawling into a closet and curling into a fetal position.

When she later went to the Church of Scientology to report the incident, a “master-at-arms,” Julian Swartz, told her: “If you’re going to say the word ‘rape,’ don’t say it. We don’t say that word here.”

She testified that she’d never known about a Scientologist reporting another church member for a sexual assault, and that she knew it was against the rules.

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller asked her if she was under orders from Scientology not to report her rape to the LAPD, and she said yes, that she had received that instruction both verbally and in written form. She knew that doing so would be a “suppressive act,” in other words something that could get a Scientologist declared a “suppressive person,” another way of calling them an enemy of the church. Scientologists have equated it to a death sentence as all other Scientologists must cut off all contact with the “SP” or risk being declared suppressive themselves.

The judge then asked for a clarification.

Judge Olmedo: I’m sorry, so are you indicating that it would be considered a Suppressive Act to make a report of rape to law enforcement?
Jane Doe 1: Yes, if a member on a member.
Judge Olmedo: On a fellow member?

Advertisement
Jane Doe 1: Correct.

The defense had been fighting to keep Scientology out of the case, but Judge Olmedo had ruled that she would allow a limited look at its policies for the purpose of understanding the state of mind of these women and why they hadn’t come forward earlier.

But we also want to point out that the defense itself didn’t hesitate to bring in Scientology for its own purposes. Not long after this exchange, and still on the first day, after Tom Mesereau had begun his cross-examination of Jane Doe 1, he brought up a contentious document known as an “Overts and Withholds Write-up,” which then required testimony about what these terms meant in Scientology.

On day two, Jane Doe 3 took the stand. (She has used her actual name in the case, and was referred to as Christina B in the courtroom.) She testified about being in a relationship for several years with Masterson, but then being forced to have sex with him one night when she told him she didn’t want to. When she tried to fight him off, he hit her and spit on her, she testified.

Upset about it, she later went to her Scientology ethics master-at-arms, Miranda Skoggins. But Skoggins told her she couldn’t report it as a rape because they were in a relationship.

Also, Christina B testified, Miranda showed her the High Crimes policy in Scientology, one of which was reporting a fellow Scientologist to law enforcement. Christina B said she understood that she would be declared a suppressive person if she did.

On his cross-examination, Mesereau asked her, this idea that reporting another Scientologist to the police is a suppressive act, where does it say that?

She was not sure, but suggested it was in the book “Introduction to Scientology Ethics” by L. Ron Hubbard. She remembered reading it in a chapter about suppressive acts and high crimes.

The defense team just happened to have a copy of the book with them. At this point something really remarkable happened. Sitting in the front row right next to us was Scientology attorney Vicki Podberesky. Mesereau came over to her and they whispered something, while he held the book. Your proprietor couldn’t help overhearing what Podberesky was saying to him: “It’s not in there!” she said.

Mesereau then confronted Christina B: Does the book actually say that Scientologists cannot report other Scientologists to the police? She said she didn’t know. So Mesereau asked her to review one particular chapter from the book at the break.

After a recess, the cross-examination continued.

Mesereau: Ms. B, during the break, did you have a chance to review the book called Scientology ethics by L. Ron Hubbard?
Christina B: Yes.
Mesereau: Did you look at a chapter called Suppressive Acts, Suppression or Scientology and Scientologists?

Advertisement
Christina B: yes.
Mesereau: And did you see a list of specific suppressive acts that come under that definition?
Christina B: Yes, sir.
Mesereau: Did you see anything that said it’s a suppressive act to make a police report?
Christina B: No.

But then, on day three, came the moment we have said was the closest to a television drama.

Mueller, the prosecutor, asked to borrow the defense’s copy of the Introduction to Scientology Ethics book. He then directed Christina B’s attention to a different chapter than the one Mesereau had asked her to review. In this other chapter, “A New Hope for Justice,” Hubbard describes law enforcement as corrupt.

“They call it ‘wog law’,” Christina B explained, and Judge Olmedo asked for her to spell it.

Mueller asked Christina B what conclusions she drew after reviewing a chapter that had Hubbard calling law enforcement untrustworthy. “What, if any, impact did it have on you in terms of coming forward to law enforcement?” he asked.

“I did not trust, I cannot trust law enforcement or the criminal justice system,” she replied.

Mueller then walked over and handed the book back to Mesereau.

“Thank you. That’s been very helpful,” he said.

Mueller then pulled out a 1965 Hubbard policy letter that defined “Suppressive Acts” and asked Christina B if she had gone through it before. She indicated that she had. The policy describes that it is a suppressive act to cause another Scientologist’s spiritual progress to be impeded. And Christina B said that this was the reasoning for why she couldn’t turn in Masterson for raping her.

“I understood you cannot report a Scientologist to law enforcement. You just cannot,” she testified.

Advertisement

Mueller than had her look specifically at two lines from the policy that described what were considered suppressive acts.

— “Reporting or threatening to report Scientology or Scientologists to civil authorities in an effort to suppress Scientology or Scientologists from practicing or receiving standard Scientology.”

And…

— “Delivering up the person of a Scientologist without justifiable defense or lawful protest to the demands of civil or criminal law.”

Here, in black and white, were statements from Hubbard, which is considered scripture in Scientology, warning Scientologists about turning in their fellow church members.

Then it was Mesereau himself, on re-cross, who summed up everything neatly for the court.

Mesereau: So you, it was your understanding that reporting any Scientologist to the police was deemed a Suppressive Act? Is that correct?
Christina B: Yes. Yes, sir.

Christina B, while under oath — and every other former Scientologist we’ve ever talked to — said she was taught to believe, based on the ethics book and the Suppressive Acts policy, that she could not turn in a fellow Scientologist to police or sue a Scientologist. We have never heard otherwise from a former Scientologist.

When Judge Olmedo ruled that enough evidence had been presented over the four days to justify binding over Danny Masterson to stand trial, she cited this testimony.

As it relates to the facts in this case, I find that the testimony of [Jane Doe 1], Christina B., and [Jane Doe 2] is credible and I believe sufficient to support the charges for preliminary hearing purposes.

The defense has argued the lack of credibility due to inconsistenices, consensual actions, and financial interest on the part of the victims. The Court’s findings of credibility at the preliminary hearing stage is based both on its evaluation of the witnesses as they testified and the exhibits received, including People’s 5 — the Ethics Book — and People’s 6, the written ethics policies.

These exhibits indicate that the written doctrine of Scientology not only discourages but prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement. This expressly written doctrine sufficiently explains to this Court the hesitancy and lateness in reporting the crimes charged to law enforcement and also explains the inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony and the actions taken subsequent to the events that comprise the charges.

Thus, based on the testimony and exhibits presented, the Court finds there is sufficient evidence to bind Mr. Masterson over for jury trial. The defense motion to dismiss all charges is denied.

Advertisement

Later, Judge Olmedo set a date of August 29 for the criminal trial to begin, and Masterson’s legal team filed a “995” motion to dismiss. On February 8, Danny Masterson’s attorneys would be asking a different judge, Judge Ronald Coen, to dismiss the case on the idea that Judge Olmedo had erred and there really wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify holding a trial.

But what we also learned that day is that Scientology is boiling over Judge Olmedo’s words, and specifically her finding that Scientology’s “expressly written doctrine” discourages Scientologists from reporting crime to law enforcement.

Forman submitted an amicus brief, trying to impress on Judge Coen what a grave disservice has been done to Scientology, and how they wanted him to correct the record by having him strike her words about its policies.

But Judge Coen explained to Forman that his role was actually very limited: It was just to review whether Judge Olmedo had done her job, and he told Forman he was in no position to look at what the church wanted him to examine. He swatted away the Scientology attorneys and then quickly handled the matter before him, finding that Judge Olmedo had acted properly and denied Masterson’s motion to dismiss.

Now we have the actual document that Forman submitted. What strikes us is the attempt that Scientology makes to portray itself as grievously harmed by Olmedo’s words.

In order to do that, they completely rewrite what happened in court in May. Remember, it was the defense that brought the “Introduction to Scientology Ethics” book into the hearing, and Mueller had then used it and a policy letter to make three key points:

1. That Hubbard had written about law enforcement being corrupt, and that “wog law” couldn’t be trusted.
2. That it is a suppressive act to report a Scientologist to “civil authorities.”
3. That it is a suppressive act “Delivering up the person of a Scientologist without justifiable defense or lawful protest to the demands of civil or criminal law.”

And finally, Mesereau himself had put it so neatly, asking Christina B. whether she understood that turning in a fellow Scientologist was a suppressive act. She said yes.

Now, Forman will ignore almost all of that, and the actual testimony that we heard, and will focus almost entirely on point #3, and try to convince the court that this is a line which does not mean what it appears to mean.

It’s the Truth Rundown. Judge, you cannot believe your own eyes.

And Scientology is apparently making this a full campaign. It convinced its usual shills, such as USC’s the Rev. Dr. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, as well as other clergy members of the “International Multi-Faith Coalition” to sign an open letter denouncing Judge Olmedo’s interpretation of Scientology’s “religious doctrine.”

This is why we find this document so newsworthy. Not only for its Orwellian treatment of what actually happened in court last May, but for what it represents: a growing Fair Game campaign aimed at a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge who dared to take seriously what L. Ron Hubbard had written.

Advertisement

Instead of keeping itself out of Danny Masterson’s rape case, the Church of Scientology has declared war on Judge Charlaine Olmedo.

Read it yourself, and give us your thoughts. Here is the text of the amicus brief, with some legal citations removed for clarity.

 

————-

Amicus Curiae Brief

Amicus Curiae Church of Scientology International [CSI] submits this Brief in relation to the pending Motion to Set Aside Information Pursuant to Penal Code Section 995. The Motion challenges the Preliminary Hearing Court’s May 21, 2021 Order holding Mr. Masterson to answer for the charges against him. In the Order, the Preliminary Hearing Court improperly purported to declare the doctrine of the Church. The specific language at issue is:

These exhibits [i.e., certain Scientology literature] indicate that the written doctrine of Scientology not only discourages but prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement. This expressly written doctrine sufficiently explains to this Court the hesitancy and lateness in reporting the crimes charged to law enforcement and also explains the inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony and the actions taken subsequent to the events that comprise the charges.

(Transcript of May 21, 2021.)

While the Church is not addressing the merits of Mr. Masterson’s 995 Motion, this Brief explains why the Order’s pronouncement on Scientology doctrine was both improper and incorrect. The Brief (1) provides the legal authority demonstrating the violations of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article One, Section Four of the California Constitution, and (2) corrects the Order’s erroneous statements of supposed Church doctrine. This Court should find that the Preliminary Hearing Court’s purported findings of Church doctrine are improper as a matter of law and should not endorse such findings in its consideration of the Motion.

I. Introduction

The United States Constitution prohibits the government from interpreting or declaring the official doctrine of a religion. The California Constitution also prohibits state determination of questions of religious doctrine. Yet the recent ruling issued by the Preliminary Hearing Court did just that.

Despite this clear constitutional rule, the Prosecution elicited testimony at the Preliminary Hearing that Church doctrine supposedly forbade the complaining witnesses (all former Church members and admitted opponents of the Church) from timely reporting Mr. Masterson to law enforcement. When the Defense pointed out that no such prohibition existed in the scripture cited by the complaining witnesses, the Prosecution then proffered a different religious text that supposedly supported its position. The Preliminary Hearing Court noted its intent to interpret the scripture introduced by the Prosecution. “The Court will interpret the pages [of Exhibit 5 — ‘Introduction to Scientology Ethics’] that were just shown according to — the Court will review it at the time that I make my decision.” The Prosecution continued to advance its view of Church doctrine in its closing argument. In the Order, the Preliminary Hearing Court adopted the Prosecution’s misstatement of Scientology doctrine, purporting to find that “the written doctrine of Scientology not only discourages but prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement.”

The Court acted outside its role and power under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Under the First Amendment, and centuries of case law, only a church can interpret or declare its religious doctrine. Thus, when faced with the Prosecution’s argument about the supposed meaning of Church doctrine, the Court was constitutionally required to abstain from endorsing that misinterpretation (or making its own interpretation). The Court’s endorsement of the Prosecution’s position infringed on the Church’s exclusive right under the First Amendment to declare Church doctrine free from interference or competing interpretations from the state.

The Order’s attempt to interpret the official doctrine of the Church impermissibly treads on the religious liberties of the Church and its parishioners, and that is reason enough to correct it. But the interpretation is also wrong. The “expressly written” doctrine the Preliminary Hearing mentioned — that supposedly “prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement” — exists nowhere in the doctrine of the Church. Actual Scientology doctrine — as stated by CSI, Scientology’s Mother Church, and thus beyond question by this or any court as a matter of bedrock First Amendment principles — mandates Scientologists to report crimes to law enforcement, including encouraging parishioners to report themselves, even if the alleged perpetrator of the crime is a Scientologist. As a result, this Court should find that the Preliminary Court’s purported statement of the “expressly written doctrine” of the Church was outside of the scope of its authority and erroneous.

Advertisement

II. Factual Background

A. The Church of Scientology and the Scientology Religion.

CSI is a nonprofit religious corporation incorporated in the State of California, with its principal place of activity in Los Angeles, California. CSI is the “Mother Church” of Scientology. The United States recognizes CSI as a tax-exempt church.

CSI has been and is committed to the advancement and dissemination of the Scientology religion thorugh Scientology churches and missions under its ecclesiastical direction. There are Scientology churches, missions, and groups in more than 167 countries, including throughout the United States. As the Mother Church of the Scientology religion, CSI is the senior ecclesiastical management body within the Scientology hierarchy. It oversees the standard application of Scientology religious doctrine in Scientology churches and missions throughout the world. The Church is reponsible for preserving the integrity of the Scientology religion and its doctrine. As explained more fully in Section III below, the Church’s interpretation and determination of its articles of faith are binding on this Court. This Brief’s statements about the genuine faith and practices of the Scientology religion are made with the express authority of the Church.

B. The Preliminary Hearing and the Order.

The Court held the Preliminary Hearing between May 18 and May 21, 2021. At the end of the Preliminary Hearing, the Defense moved to dismiss the charges. The Defense argued, among other things, that the complaining witnesses lacked credibility, in part because of the delay in reporting the alleged crimes and in part because their allegations charged over time.

The Prosecution responded that Church doctrine prohibits alleged victims from reporting crimes by other Scientologists to the police. (“If you’ve got a member of the church who has been sexually assaulted by another member of the church… You do not report to law enforcement.”) (The Prosecution’s supposed statement of doctrine is pure invention and contradicts actual Church doctrine which has a “no tolerance” policy on sexual misconduct.) The Prosecution thus erroneously argued that Church doctrine required, or at least justified, the delayed and inconsistent claims made by the alleged victims. In closing argument, counsel for Mr. Masterson disputed the Prosecution’s interpretation of Church doctrine.

The Preliminary Hearing Court, however, denied the defendant’s motion, finding:

the written doctrine of Scientology not only discourages but prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement. This expressly written doctrine sufficiently explains to this court the hesitancy and lateness in reporting the crimes charged to law enforcement and also explains the inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony and the action taken subseuent to the events that comprise the charges.

(emphasis added)

As explained more fully at Section IV below, the Preliminary Hearing Court’s “interpretation” of Scientology doctrine could not be more wrong. The Preliminary Hearing Court does not cite to or quote from any Church doctrine for the simple reason that there is no “written doctrine” or “expressly written doctrine” in support of the Preliminary Hearing Court’s interpretation. The Preliminary Hearing Court stated it had reviewed two religious texts that the Prosecution submitted as exhibits, but those texts do not include any “expressly written doctrine” prohibiting Scientologists from reporting crimes “to outside law enforcement.”

As shown below, Church doctrine and practice encourage following the law and reporting crimes to secular authorities. The State of California — through the Preliminary Hearing Court and the Prosecution — thus have endorsed a false and bigoted invention of Church doctrine as a ground for holding a defendant to answer to criminal charges.

III. Legal Analysis

A. The Court’s Order Violated the Church’s First Amendment Rights.

Advertisement

Long standing United States Supreme Court authority holds that under the First Amendment, a religion has the sole authority to determine and interpret its doctrines of faith. As a corollary to this rule, the state — through its courts — may never declare religious doctrine and must instead defer to the religion’s statement of its faith.

The “religion clauses” of the First Amendment provide: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” For close to 150 years, the United States Supreme Court has held that the religion clauses prohibit courts from determining matters of religious doctrine…

This rule applies equally to Scientology. A recent decision from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that courts may not interpret Scientology religious doctrine or resolve disputes between parties as to the meaning of Scientology doctrine…

California state courts likewise recognize and apply these principles….

Here, however, the Preliminary Hearing Court claimed to interpret the “expressly written doctrine” of the Church, and therefore spefically and unlawfully endorsed one interpretation of doctrine as correct. This was not some inadvertent statement by the Preliminary Hearing Court, as earlier in the Hearing it announced its intent to “interpret” Scientology Scripture “at the time I make my decision.” It was not only a mistake for the Prelimlinary Hearing Court to adjudicate a matter of Church doctrine — a power ultimately reserved to the Church — the Preliminary Hearing Court’s Order also violated the First Amendment because it favored one alleged interpretation of Church doctrine — the Prosecution’s — over another and thus constituted an impermissible “endorsement.”

B. The First Amendment’s Prohibition on Judical Interpretation of Religious Doctrine Applies in All Cases and Does Not Depend on “Interchurch Disputes.”

Contrary to the argument in the opposition, the Supreme Court has never limited the First Amendment’s protection so cases involving interchurch disputes. Rather, as recently as last term, the Supreme Court held that, “[a]mong other things, the Religion Clauses protect the right of churches and other religious institutions to decide matters of faith and doctrine without government intrusion. State interference in that sphere would obviouly violate the free exercise of religion, and any attempt by government to dictate or even to influence such matters would constitute one of the central attributes of an establishment of religion. The First Amendment outlaws such intrusion.” (Our Lady of Guadalupe Sch. v. Morrissey-Berru) The Supreme Court placed no “interchurch dispute” limitation on this broad statement of First Amendment rights in Morrissey-Berru — or indeed, in any of its First Amendment jurisprudence. Indeed, Morrissey-Berru had nothing to do with “interchurch” disputes.

California cases interpreting the state constitution are in accord…In short, both the federal and state constitutions prohibit courts from endorsing a disputed interpretation of faith to adjudicate a dispute…But that is precisely what the Prosecution did here: to buttress the charges against Mr. Masterson, the Prosecution proffered a misinterpretation of Scientology doctrine that supposedly explained the complainants’ delay in reporting the alleged crimes. The Preliminary Hearing Court was barred from even considering this argument under both the United States and California Constitutuions. Because “Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation” and because the Church’s interpretation of its own faith is “conclusive,” the Preliminary Hearing Court’s foray into Church doctrine violated the First Amendment.

C. The Preliminary Hearing Court Did Not Apply Neutral Principles of Law

The Prosecution also argued that the Preliminary Hearing Court applied “neutral principles of law” without inquiry into religious doctrine” and thus “did not engage in determining the orthodoxy or truth of Scientology doctrines, the religious validity of their application, or who is ‘right’ in an intra-religious dispute.” It suggests that the Preliminary Heariing Court instead merely gauged witness credibility. The record shows otherwise. The Preliminary Hearing Court held that the Prosecution’s proffered interpretation of Scientology doctrine was correct, and rejected the competing interpretation offered by the Defense. The Preliminary Hearing Court even announced its intent to “interpret” Scientology doctrine in making its final decision. The Opposition seeks to avoid these statements by quoting selectively from the transcript: although the Preliminary Hearing Court’s purported finding of religious doctrine is found on page 57, lines 3 through 12, the Opposition does not cite these lines. Instead the Opposition cites language appearing directly before and after the Preliminary Hearing Court’s holding. Such selective citation does not cure the Constitutional error.

The Prosecution contends that the Preliminary Hearing Court could lawfully “examine the dogma of a religious organization, taking the tenets at face value, to determine pertinent legal issues.” The Preliminary Hearing Court, however, did not examine tenets “at face value,” but instead gave its own misinterpretation. The “face value” of the Church’s doctrine has an entirely different meaning than that arrived at by the Preliminary Hearing Court and the Church rejects the Court’s misinterpretation. Furthermore, there is no “face value” exception to the First Amendment that permits a court to adjudicate and determine questions of religious doctrine. Rather, as its proffered authorities show, the Prosecution has the law exactly backwards.

IV. The Preliminary Hearing Court’s Interpretation of Scientology Doctrine is Wrong, Damaging to Scientologists Worldwide, and Warrants the Church Correcting the Record on the True Doctrine of Scientology.

The preceding authority decides the issue: The Court’s intrusion on the Church’s authority to expound on Church doctrine violated the Church’s First Amendment rights and constituted an impermissible endorsement by the Court of the state’s own theory of Scientology doctrine.

It is patently absurd for a court to undertake to interpret a religion’s doctrine by reading just a few passages of scripture, particularly given that written and recorded spoken words of L. Ron Hubbard (the Founder of Scientology) comprising the Scripture of Scientology include tens of millions of words, including 25 books, some 100 encyclopedic volumes, scores of films, and more than 2,500 recorded lectures.

Advertisement

Moreover, the Court’s statement of Scientology doctrine is flat-out wrong. Because of the irreparable harm caused by the Preliminary Hearing Court’s Order in improperly and incorrectly stating Church doctrine, the Church, through its counsel, states and shows for the record its actual doctrine on these issues and how damaging the Preliminary Hearing Court’s Order is to Scientologists worldwide.

The Preliminary Hearing Court stated that “the expressly written doctrine” of the Church “prohibits one Scientologist from reporting another Scientologist in good standing to outside law enforcement.” The Preliminary Hearing Court did not cite to any “expressly written doctrine” for this proposition, and it could not: the so-called “expressly written doctrine” does not appear anywhere in the doctrine of the Church. The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting the criminal conduct of Scientologists — or of anyone — to law enforcement. Indeed, Church doctrine explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land, including criminal law. As stated in Preliminary Hearing People’s Exhibit 6 itself:

“Nothing in this policy letter shall ever or under any circumstances justify any violation of the laws of the land or intentional legal wrongs. Any such offense shall subject the offender to penalties prescribed by law as well as to ethics and justice actions.”

(emphasis added)

See also, People’s exhibit 5:

“Crimes may result in suspension of certificates, classifications or awards, reduction of post, or even dismissal or arrest when the Crime clearly warrants it.”

(emphasis added)

The Church doctrine leaves no question that what are considered secular crimes are likewise considered crimes in Scientology:

It is a “Suppressive Act” (i.e., prohibited act) to commit “Any felony (such as murder, arson, etc.) against person or property.”

(People’s exhibit 5, emphasis added)

In fact, while Scientologists are overwhelmingly law-abiding, the Church and its parishioners do report to law enforcement Scientologists engaged in criminal conduct. There is even a published California Court of Appeal decision that involved a Scientologist confessing a murder to another Scientologist, who then told him he would call the police if the offending Scientologist did not turn himself in. People v. Thompson, 133 Cal, App. 3d 420 (1982). To reiterate, the Preliminary Hearing Court’s ruling as it pertains to Church doctrine is flat-out wrong.

The Prosecution argued that the following Scientology text — which sets forth conduct considered to be “suppressive acts” — supported its interpretation of Church doctrine as barring reports to law enforcement:

“Delivering up the person of a Scientologist without justifiable defense or lawful protest to the demands of civil or criminal law.”

(People’s exhibit 5)

Advertisement

Mr. Hubbard wrote this doctrine on the same day as the doctrine discussed above providing that “crimes” may subject a Scientologist to “arrest” and it plainly does not provide that a Scientologist may not report other Scientologists for committing crimes. The proffered “interpretation” alters, distorts, and ignores the plain language and meaning of the doctrine in question. The Court, after the argument of the Prosecution, disregarded the actual language of the text. The text reads, “Delivering up the person of a Scientologist.” The Preliminary Hearing Court cited the scripture as a prohibition on “reporting another Scientologist in good standing.” Those are different word and mean entirely different things. L. Ron Hubbard did not write, “reporting another Scientologist in good standing” or even “delivering up a Scientologist…” He wrote, “Delivering up the person of of a Scientologist.” The phrase “the person of” has a specific definition. It means “in the character of, as representing.” “Delivering up the person of a Scientologist” means one who is delivered up simply because he is a Scientologist for the “offense” of being a Scientologist or practicing Scientology.

The correct meaning of the doctrine thus is easily understood by inserting the word Jew, Mormon, Catholic, or Christian in place of Scientologist. The act of “delivering up the perso of a Jew” in Vichy France during World War II means something quite different than merely reporting a crime committed by a Jewish person to lawful authorities. Accordingly, the doctrine provides that delivering up a person to civil or criminal authorities for the mere fact of being a member of the Scientology faith and/or practicing Scientology is a suppressive act.

That is precisely and only what the doctrine means. The doctrine was written in 1965 in response to oppressive and outrageous persecution of Scientologists in Australia, where the Parliament of Victoria had issued a ban on Scientology and enacted legislation making it a crime to be a Scientologist. Bans by the states of South Australia and Western Australia followed.

While Scientology was vindicated long ago in Australia, there still remain repressive nations that do not recognize or respect freedom of religion. For example, five Scientologists in St. Petersburg, Russia, have been detained in prison and on trial for over a year for charges related to practicing Scientology. On October 1, 2021, the Russian Ministry of Justice listed two Scientology-related entities a “undesirable” thus making participation in those organizations a crime. The European Court of Human Rights recently awarded damages to a Scientologist who was detained by the Russian government solely for being a Scientologist.

Thus, of course, “Delivering up the person of a Scientologist without justifiable defense or lawful protest to the demands of civil or criminal law” is considered a suppressive act in Scientology. When members of the religion are persecuted and prosecuted for their religion, the Church has a moral obligation and rightfully stands up and defends “the person of a Scientologist.” This is what the doctrine says and means in the Church.

History has recorded the atrocities that can be committed against members of a religion whose doctrines are misinterpreted and its followers delivered up without justifiable defense or lawful protest. The Prosecution’s and Preliminary Hearing Court’s improper interpretation of Scientology doctrine is all the more egregious in that it transposes a concept understood by members of any religion who have suffered persecution with a misinterpretation that turns L. Ron Hubbard’s writings on their head by giving a nefarious meaning to and criminalizing a doctrine clearly intended for the protection of the religion and its members from religious persecution.

V. Conclusion

The incorrect characterization of Scientology text incorporated into the Preliminary Hearing Court’s ruling at the Prosecution’s urging does and will have the effect of marginalizing the Scientology religion and harming all Scientologists. A judicial decision with all the power and might of the State that makes such an offensive finding about the religion is highly concerning. This misinterpretation is a consequence of treading on forbidden gorund since any interpretation of religious doctrine is prohibited. The Prosecution should not have directed the Preliminary Hearing Court down this path, and the Preliminary Hearing Court should not have accepted the invitation to proceed into unconstitutional territory. This Court should address and correct this constituational error.

Along with Scientology, religious leaders from multiple faiths recognize the extraordinary danger posed by the Preliminary Hearing Court’s Order and how it impermissibly violates the separation of Church and State.

This Court should determine that the “findings” of Church doctrine arising from the Preliminary Hearing were legally impermissible and cannot be relied on for any purpose.

William H. Forman
Margaret E. Dayton

Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Church of Scientology International

 

Advertisement
——————–

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

“There’s a very simple way of making somebody’s arthritis turn on with violence. And you just walk up to ’em like this and wiggle your hands in front of his face. And of course by giving him this confusion outside of his body, he holds harder onto the body and that is what arthritis is, it’s a solid hold. All right. Now, you take an arthritic and you start to say hello and OK to this arthritic leg or joint, or something of this character, you are actually attempting to as-is or knock out of existence my communication, a lot of actual calcium. So it isn’t going to work. Not well or easily. But you take slight little somatics, little conditions, or fears of things, and run two way communication on them and you get some fabulous results.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 26, 1957

 
——————–

Avast, Ye Mateys

“If you think we are losing ground, according to a head count to date, three major enemies and the three biggest enemy names are finished. Cecil King lost his directorship in the Bank of England and his newspaper claim which included the Daily Mail. Sir William Carr has also lost his directorship in the Bank of England and has been ousted from his papers and was last seen trying to unite with ‘Truth’ newspapers of Australia, owned by Murdoch. Kenneth Robinson, ex-Minister of Health UK has been ousted and is in disgrace with his group. All three were also directors of the ‘National Association for Mental Health’ of the UK. Three scalps. Any more candidates for our ‘coupstick’?” — The Commodore, February 26, 1969

 
——————–

Overheard in the FreeZone

Advertisement

“In session I’ve taken an exterior viewpoint to this universe – is it still called a thetan when operating exterior to a universe? Is it still called a thetan when it can create a universe separate from other universes?”

 
——————–

Past is Prologue

2000: Medical Examiner Joan Wood has changed her opinion of the manner of Lisa McPherson’s death. It has been changed from “undetermined” to “accidental.” From the St. Petersburg Times: “Scientology’s top executives, clearly pleased Tuesday, called the switch ‘extremely significant and a huge development that dramatically affects the state’s case.’ They said it supports their view that McPherson’s death while in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater was sudden, unpredictable, ‘undiagnosable’ and not the church’s fault. Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow, the lead prosecutor in the case, called the change ‘something of major significance we need to review.’ He declined to discuss how the case might be affected, adding: ‘We really need to evaluate that, and we’ll take some time to do that.’ Wood’s decision came after church officials and their lawyers spent months plying the veteran medical examiner with expert information that revealed the lengths to which Scientology has gone to defend itself. There were scientific studies on a body substance known as ketone, an elaborate accident reconstruction, even a report by an ‘anthropometric’ specialist who studied McPherson’s physical stature.”

 
——————–

Random Howdy

“For the last time it’s a genderless demon eating a turkey leg.”

 
——————–

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. 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 April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

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.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
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.

 
——————–

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?

 
——————–
THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Appellate court halts Scientology ‘arbitration’ as it considers petition by Masterson accusers
[TWO years ago] SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
[THREE years ago] Jenna Elfman’s career finds new life in the zombie apocalypse
[FOUR years ago] What happened when we had a scientist look at L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘science’ of life in the womb
[FIVE years ago] Florida attempts sensible change to mental health law — so Scientology goes on attack
[SIX years ago] The shocking space opera secret that is guiding Scientology litigation
[SEVEN years ago] Can you help solve this odd Scientology financial mystery?
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton files another lawsuit against Scientology’s Nevada drug rehab facility
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s “Disconnection” Policy: Music Lovers, This One Will Break Your Heart
[TEN years ago] Scientology and Nation of Islam Exposed in Florida School Takeover

 
——————–

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 2,587 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,092 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,612 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,632 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,523 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,830 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,698 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,472 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,803 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,276 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,592 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,158 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,077 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,245 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,826 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,087 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,123 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,838 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,363 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 718 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,893 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,444 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,593 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,913 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,768 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,887 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,243 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,546 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,652 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,050 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,926 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,509 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,004 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,258 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,367 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on February 26, 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
ADVERTISEMENT