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Scientologist chiro gets 5 years probation for fraud after settling sex harassment suit

In 2018 we first noted that Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton of South Carolina was a real piece of work.

The Columbia chiropractor was accused in a lawsuit filed by a former employee at his clinic, Midlands Physical Medicine, that he was a downright creep. A few accusations:

“Barton told Doe that through his practice of Scientology, he could sense emotional disturbances in people and could sense that Doe had suffered emotional trauma…this ‘help’ included Barton’s offer to send Doe to a facility outside of South Carolina which could help her overcome her inner issues…Although Barton never provided Doe with the name of this facility, Barton informed Doe that his intention was to convert her into a Scientologist.”

“After Doe received the first $1,700 bonus check, Barton told Doe if she wanted to keep receiving bonuses and be employed at MPM she would either have to give him oral sex or to show Barton her naked breasts.”


“Barton requested that Doe not wear panties to work.”

“Barton sexually harassed Doe…by texting her…’You ever do a black guy?’…’Just making sure. I don’t like banging chicks that screw blacks.’”

Only the most ethical people, right? As Jeffrey Augustine explained at his blog, that lawsuit eventually went to arbitration (the independent kind, not Scientology ‘arbitration’), and Doe was awarded $75,000. She then had to haul Barton into court again when he failed to pay her the full amount.

But as Jeffrey pointed out, that lawsuit was only the beginning of his troubles as Barton was then indicted for Medicare fraud last year. The Department of Justice accused him of submitting claims fraudulently, claiming, for example, that work had been done in his clinic by a practitioner who was actually in Florida at the time.

In September Barton pleaded guilty, and last month he was sentenced. Barton got 5 years probation and was ordered to pay $194,000 in restitution. He was facing up to 10 years in prison, so he should probably be relieved that he only got probation and his reputation torn to tatters.

Meanwhile, another Scientologist chiropractor convicted of Medicare fraud, Jay Spina, continues to serve his 9 year sentence in prison. His brother, Jeff Spina, is still awaiting sentencing for his part in the scams run out of their Middletown, New York clinic. (We assume that Jeff’s sentence won’t be as long as Jay’s, and so Judge Karras isn’t in a hurry to put him away, and several times in the last year he has approved Jeff’s ability to travel overseas to visit his son in college.)

In other legal news, we did finally get an answer as to why Valerie Haney’s lawsuit got a new judge.

If you remember, of the several judges who have dealt with the Scientology “arbitration” issue, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Burdge, who has handled Valerie’s case, was just about the most dismissive about the unfairness of Scientology’s “justice” procedures. He has twice denied Valerie’s motions to reconsider his decision to put her case into limbo.

But then, suddenly, we learned that Valerie’s case was moved from Judge Burdge’s court to that of Judge Gail Killefer. Why? We talked with a court clerk this week who said that Judge Burdge has simply moved to a different court, and so his cases have been dispersed to other courtrooms.

Judge Killefer has not had a chance to do anything with the case yet, so we don’t yet know if the change will affect Valerie’s case much.


Claire Headley on ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Speaking of Scientology creeps, Claire posted this remarkable statement at Facebook yesterday about Hollywood’s most famous deadbeat dad…




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Source Code

“We follow the rule — if it’s out out there it begun by being out on Flag. In getting it in on Flag we know how to get it in out there. That’s why management orgs must never be separate from a service org — separated, management goes unreal. You can’t say that about Flag. We really get our hands dirty. Unlike the housewife who criticizes the neighbors while her own living room is mountained with garbage, we clean it up at home first. Then we’re in a position to tell others how to do so. See, ma! Clean hands!” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 10, 1971


Avast, Ye Mateys

“DRESS: Dear All, regarding our uniforms and dress — we looked a rather mottled lot on the dock yesterday and it was necessary to delay the Port Captain’s arrival to prevent him seeing us all in that state. Please remember we are an important ship round these ports so we must look that way. Please improve your dress and smarten up to fit. PORT: The Port Captain came aboard for drinks — he has invited Liz and I out for a meal and wants to return with his wife so she can see the ship. PRO in this port is cool.” — Lt. Barry Watson PO/Port Captain, June 10, 1970



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Legally, you have no grounds to stand on regarding the defamation of our organization and its members. Human rights trump Scientology. Libel is libel and I have informed you and this group now on where I stand. Further comm is not necessary….One way or another, these posts will come down. We can go the amicable route or another route. The choice is yours.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The Edmonton Journal reports that Scientology has launched an attack on Stephen Kent, a professor at the University of Alberta and a critic of Scientology. “Sociology professor Stephen Kent was the subject of a scathing article in a 16-page Church of Scientology supplement entitled Freedom that was distributed with the Globe and Mail newspaper Friday. In the two-page article, Kent is compared to well-known neo-Nazi hatemonger Ernst Zundel and is referred to ‘as the academic point man for the voices of hate against new religions.’ The article also questions the validity of Kent’s academic research and suggests he should be disqualified from receiving any more government research grants. The attack appears to be related to Kent’s work as an expert witness for a German parliamentary committee. Kent traveled to Germany three times last summer to speak to German legislators and mainstream church groups about Scientology practices, including forced labour and a form of brainwashing. ‘Scientology has policies, which are public and well known, to undertake character assassination against their perceived enemies and this article is simply a demonstration of that Scientology policy,’ said Kent, adding that he was never interviewed for the article, and that it doesn’t quote from any of his published work. ‘They can’t quote anything from my work that would suggest I propagate hate against new religious groups because I never have.”


Random Howdy

“I think it was John Brousseau who said that he heard C.O.B. demean his father by calling him a ‘theetie-weetie thetan.’ LRH used the term in a lecture, I do believe.”



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 September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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.



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] Danny Masterson’s odds? Juries really don’t like Scientology, Wise Beard Man reminds us
[TWO years ago] Singing for L. Ron Hubbard in the Sea Org: New videos about the Scientology experience
[THREE years ago] YouTube runs interference for Scientology and its Nation of Islam bigot problem
[FOUR years ago] Scientology working its grift on a continent where it’s the last thing they need
[FIVE years ago] Who’s the most powerful elected Scientologist in the land? We have a candidate.
[SIX years ago] Tonight, Cathy Schenkelberg takes her Scientology cans to the Hollywood Fringe
[SEVEN years ago] Garcias file notice of appeal with the Eleventh Circuit, take on two more specialist attorneys
[EIGHT years ago] About that ‘threesome’ with L. Ron Hubbard and the Heinleins
[NINE years ago] Scientology Goes After Critics With Legal Threat Letters Following Strange Infiltration
[TEN years ago] Scientology Book Bonanza! Jeff Hawkins Delivers, and More Reasons for Librarians to Hide


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 2,691 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,196 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,746 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,736 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,627 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,933 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,802 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,576 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,907 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,380 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,696 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,262 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,181 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,349 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,929 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,191 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,227 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,942 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,467 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 822 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,997 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,548 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,697 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,017 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,872 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,991 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,347 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,650 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,756 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,154 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,030 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,613 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,108 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,362 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,471 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 10, 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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