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Scientology under scrutiny? A stunning new document in the Danny Masterson case

[Danny and Dave]

Sometimes, we just have to ask the question and see where it takes us.

For more than five years now we’ve been reporting on the LAPD’s investigation, and later the LA District Attorney’s prosecution, of Scientology celebrity and That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson.

If you’ve been following our coverage, you know that the latest news is that after dumping his defense attorneys Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum and promoting his other two lawyers, Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen, Masterson managed to buy himself a short six-week delay, moving his criminal trial back from August 29 to October 11. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo said at last week’s hearing that she was reluctant to move the trial start date at all, but she gave Holley and Cohen the additional time to switch from writing motions for Masterson to becoming his trial attorneys.

She also asked if Holley and Cohen were prepared to see the case through and they said they were, but our legal experts tell us that Masterson could, conceivably, try this trick again and dump his attorneys in order to delay the trial another time.

And there’s no question that Danny Masterson wants to delay or dismiss the looming trial. We’ve watched as he’s filed motions and petitions at every juncture, including some that surprised our legal experts. Danny is burning through a mountain of cash with his high-priced legal team and its many motions. Most recently, his petition to the California state supreme court was denied; he has one more motion (to dismiss the case of victim Jane Doe 1) that Judge Olmedo said she will rule on by June 30.

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When the trial finally does begin, prosecutor Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller will be trying to convince a jury that Masterson forcibly raped three women who were all Scientologists at the time of the incidents, which occurred between 2001 and 2003. The three women testified last year at Masterson’s preliminary hearing, detailing harrowing attacks that seemed to have a lot in common, with suspiciously powerful alcoholic drinks, the women feeling semiconscious, and Masterson allegedly committing violent sexual attacks. For his part Masterson has maintained his innocence, and his attorneys have questioned the credibility of the three women. If Masterson is convicted of all three rapes at trial, he’s facing 45 years to life in prison.

From the beginning, we have kept you abreast of other developments related to the criminal charges. There’s a civil lawsuit, for example, that was filed in 2019, before Masterson was criminally charged, and it was filed by the same three women from the criminal case. The lawsuit, Bixler et al. v. Church of Scientology et al., carries the name of Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, who felt forced to use her real name after she was identified by Masterson’s publicist in 2017. (The other two women are going by the names Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.) In the civil suit, Carnell-Bixler’s husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, is also a plaintiff, as well as a fourth woman who also claims she was attacked by Masterson, Bobette Riales. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the five plaintiffs in the Bixler lawsuit are suing Scientology and Masterson for what they say has been a years-long campaign of harassment since they first came forward to the LAPD, and they are not suing over the rape allegations themselves. (At least not yet. If Masterson is convicted in a criminal trial, California law would give his victims a year to file lawsuits against him for raping them.)

When former DA Jackie Lacey filed charges against Masterson in 2020, she revealed that she had considered the allegations of five women before filing charges on behalf of three of them. One of the cases she didn’t file on was Riales, as well as a fifth woman whose allegations against Masterson go all the way back to 1996, when Danny was only 20 years old. We previously reported that the LAPD had also talked to two other women about their own allegations against the actor.

Considered together, the civil lawsuit and the criminal case allege that Danny Masterson not only terrorized numerous women over a number of years, but that he is part of an organization that has tried to prevent those women from coming forward to civil authorities, and then has tried to make them pay for doing so with stalking, libelous online attacks, and intimidation. There have also been allegations that the LAPD, or at least some parts of it, have been compromised by Scientology’s influence, endangering the investigations into these allegations at numerous points in time.

We knew, going into last year’s preliminary hearing, that Scientology was an inextricable element in these court cases, but even we were stunned at how much Scientology and its policies became a central part of the criminal proceedings. So much so that the church itself took the incredible step of trying to intervene in Masterson’s criminal case in order to chastise Judge Olmedo for “interpreting” its “scripture.”

The four-day preliminary hearing last year was a disaster for Scientology, and we expect that this will only be magnified in a criminal trial that is estimated to last four weeks.

But still, we can’t help thinking that there is far more going on with this case than has emerged so far.

Allegations of the LAPD being compromised, of Scientologists bombarding the police investigation with questionable affidavits, with letters and other documents involving even the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige himself. Will we ever learn if the Danny Masterson rape case is going to lead to a larger investigation of Scientology by additional agencies?

We’ll explain why we’re asking this question now.

In October 2020 we told you that Danny Masterson filed a document asking for a stay in the civil lawsuit. He wanted it put on hold while the criminal case was developing, which is certainly understandable. But what surprised us wasn’t the motion he had filed itself, but what he had attached to it. Masterson attached a request from Jane Doe 1, who had tried to haul him in for a sworn deposition. He ignored her request, but he wanted the court to see her deposition demand, which included an intriguing request for documents. Jane Doe 1 asked Masterson to turn over any documents related to “Grand Jury proceedings” and also any information about other law enforcement agencies besides the LAPD and District Attorney’s office.

Maybe it’s not that surprising that Jane Doe 1, in the civil lawsuit, wanted to know if Masterson knew about witnesses being hauled in by a grand jury at some point.

However, another document filed with the court just three months later, in January 2021, now has us wondering what’s really going on.

We just recently got a copy of the January 2021 document, which was a discovery request filed by Masterson’s defense team in his criminal case. In it, Masterson’s attorneys ask Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller if he has any documents regarding “Any and all Grand Jury minutes.”

So now we have documentary evidence that both Jane Doe 1 and Danny Masterson’s legal team are asking what a grand jury might be looking into regarding this mess.

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Is there a state grand jury looking at Scientology? A federal grand jury? Is there an obstruction of justice case being built that will become more obvious after Masterson’s criminal case is completed?

We don’t know. But we’d like to know. And if you have any information about what a grand jury or other law enforcement agencies might be asking about Danny Masterson, David Miscavige, the LAPD, or Scientology’s attempts to silence crime victims, we want to hear about it.

We’ll add one more eye-opener from that January 2021 discovery request from Danny Masterson’s legal team. Another of the things it asked the prosecution to turn over was, “Any and all copies of the attempted search warrant on the Church of Scientology from April 27, 2018.”

Oh really? An attempted search of the Church of Scientology?

We submitted an official request under state law to the LAPD for any records of this apparently failed attempt to seize Scientology’s records, but a few days later received notice that we weren’t going to get anything. We don’t even know if it was the LAPD that tried to serve the warrant.

So we’ll add that question as well. Can anyone tell us what happened with someone trying to serve a search warrant on the Church of Scientology on April 27, 2018?

Please drop us a line.

 
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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

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“If you don’t administer a good, tough Security Check, and if you don’t keep that Security Check good and keep it whole, you’re just setting it up for PCs not only to not be cleared but actually to start feeling miserable. Oddly enough, feeling miserable, they’re better off than they were being irresponsible. You got the idea? And they’ll tell you so, too. But you just peg them. You peg their processing gain. It isn’t that you do something overt that forces their case down; you peg their processing gain. And it’ll peg right up to the point where they become responsible for some overt act in the past. And there the case will hang. And that’s it. They’ve had it from there on. And you won’t get any further advance out of that case. So one of your rules is, is when a person ceases to advance rapidly, you just pick up Mr. Joburg and start in at the beginning and run through to the end. And you all of a sudden will find out why.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 6, 1961

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“Running on entheta rumours without verifying them, not studying stats before action are deadly sins. Anyone who manages that way is really in treason. What really happened was NY staff apparently had some mutineers on it and former EC NY must have had them held down. The staff played ‘My Boss is an SP.’ So ECUS unwittingly listened to false reports, supported the mutiny, shot down the EC and crashed the org. The story is obvious from the stats.” — The Commodore, June 6, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

There is the idiotic consideration that auditing alone will set you free, an easy and lazy way to see life. So I’ll just pay some schmuck to audit me and I will become an OT. Or I will do LXX and fix all my problems. As if life was this easy. Co-audit should be the only way to go. You train and you co-audit. No ‘come to Flag and leave home OT in 6 months’ BS. It’s the effort you put in that counts, not the money. Our religion has become more of a business than a spiritual path over the years. I co-audit and plan to do so for all of my Bridge, with the odd session with a highly-trained auditor for repairs and fancy RDs.”

 
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Past is Prologue

2001: Keith Henson was released from a Canadian jail this week. He had been arrested for allegedly entering Canada without disclosing a conviction in California for interfering with a religion, Scientology. Now Magazine published an article on Keith prior to his release. “It’s an unshaven and frazzled-looking Keith Henson who shuffles into the converted jail cell used as a hearing room Thursday morning at the Metro West Detention Centre. He’s in broad-rims, jail-issue orange jumpsuit and blue canvas runners that he’s wearing like flip-flops because they’re too small for his feet. A flap of grey hair is swooshed over a bald spot on the top of his head. He looks like he should be out in a backyard somewhere pruning roses, but it turns out that Henson is on the lam, wanted for failing to show for a sentencing hearing in his native California back on May 16. He was convicted on a charge of ‘making threats to interfere with freedom to enjoy a constitutional privilege’ i.e., the right of Scientologists to practise their religion. A misdemeanour.”

 

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Random Howdy

“Scientologists, like vaLLarrr for example, have told me that it doesn’t matter if LRH was nuts or a criminal, and they love to use Issac Newton as an example of someone who was supposedly psychotic and believed in alchemy, but his law of universal gravitation ‘tech’ is observed to be true.”

 
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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 pretrial conference June 30. Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference June 9 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 2.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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.

 
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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] When going OT was the bomb: Testimonials about Scientology in its heyday
[TWO years ago] Scientology mega-donor ABCMouse family is more complicated than we realized
[THREE years ago] ‘Scientology is Security for South Africa’: How L. Ron Hubbard sought to prop up apartheid
[FOUR years ago] EXCLUSIVE: The rise and fall of the ‘Pope of Scientology’ — in his own words
[FIVE years ago] Designer Rebecca Minkoff’s involvement in a Scientology front is pretty perfectly bad timing
[SIX years ago] Chick Corea’s glib revelation to the New York Times about Scientology’s ‘Maiden Voyage’
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack: The ‘Getting Clear’ conference and L. Ron Hubbard’s lies about his life
[EIGHT years ago] Where is Scientology keeping Samantha Sterne?
[NINE years ago] Dianetics Has No Patience for ESP or Telepathy — That’s Pseudoscience!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology: Christmas Comes Early with TWO New Books on Hubbard’s Wacky Cabal

 
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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 2,687 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,192 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,742 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,732 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,623 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,929 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,798 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,572 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,903 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,376 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,692 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,258 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,177 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,345 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,925 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,187 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,223 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,938 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,463 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 818 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,993 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,544 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,693 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,013 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,868 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,987 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,343 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,646 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,752 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,150 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,026 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,609 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,104 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,358 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,467 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on June 6, 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

 

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