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How a major Scientology donor family is caught up in the Danny Masterson case

[The $10 million couple: Steve Fabos and Peggy Oppenheim-Fabos]

In court on Monday, Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller described to Judge Charlaine Olmedo one of the witnesses the prosecution plans to call in Danny Masterson’s criminal rape trial, which starts Tuesday.

Masterson is accused of forcibly raping three women between 2001 and 2003, and if he’s convicted of all three counts faces 45 years to life in prison.

The That ‘70s Show actor is a Scientology celebrity, and the three alleged victims were Scientologists when the incidents occurred, but they are no longer involved in the church today. At last year’s preliminary hearing it became clear how much Scientology would be a part of the case when Judge Olmedo allowed the women to testify that Scientology’s policies and their fear of retaliation from the church prevented them from coming forward sooner. (On Friday, we posted lengthy excerpts from her decision to allow Scientology in the trial as well.)

But there are other ways that Scientology is intertwined in the case, and today we have another example for you.

Mueller on Monday was arguing for being allowed to include what are known as “fresh complaint witnesses” in the trial, which is expected to last about a month. Fresh complaint witnesses are brought in because they would have been told about an assault by a victim around the time it happened. Their testimony would otherwise be considered hearsay, but under California law it can come into sexual assault cases under certain circumstances.


Mueller went into some interesting detail about the first of the witnesses he wants to include, and what one of the victims, known as Jane Doe 1 in the case, told the witness about a month after her attack, which she alleges occurred at Masterson’s house in the early morning hours of April 25, 2003.

Based on what Jane Doe 1 testified to at the preliminary hearing last year, and what Mueller said in court on Monday, we can piece together some interesting things about this witness and his connection to some major Scientology donors.

At the preliminary hearing, which took place in May last year, Jane Doe 1 testified that after the night of her attack, she reported the incident to the church. When she tried to describe what had happened to a Scientology “ethics” officer named Julian Swartz, he stopped her.

Jane Doe 1: I started to tell him what happened. I said, “Julian, something really bad happened. I have to talk to you.” He closed the door to a room. And I said, “I got covered in bruising. I got hurt.” All of this stuff I started to tell him, and he said, “If you’re going to say the word ‘rape,’ don’t say it now. We don’t use that word.”

All three of the alleged victims testified last year that in Scientology, it’s against policy to turn in fellow Scientologists even for serious crimes. They said they knew they would be in serious trouble if they went to the police with accusations about Masterson.

Scientology’s solution for Jane Doe 1 was to put her through about $15,000 of past-life counseling in order to find out what evil things she had done in previous incarnations that had made her a victim in this lifetime.

But then, in June 2004, she decided to defy Scientology policy and she reported the incident to the LAPD. At the prelim, she testified that when she made that report to the police, she said that the first person she told about the attack was a friend named Shaun Fabos.

“Shaun Fabos was a friend of mine, also my mother’s assistant. But I would say mostly my friend,” she testified last year.

On Monday, Mueller revealed a little more about that conversation, which occurred a few weeks after the April 2003 incident with Masterson.

Mueller: She was giving Mr. Fabos some details about the events that were occurring. She did not use the word “rape” but was giving some details about what happened. Mr. Fabos had gotten upset, got angry, because he was starting to understand what had occurred, and then said some things about — that he wanted to go and settle this with Mr. Masterson because of what he had done to her. When she started — when [Jane Doe 1] started to recognize he’s getting real upset and thinking things might escalate, she said, “Then you know what, let it be. I’m just kind of making this up.” But it was literally to de-escalate his anger at the time. That was a statement — that was a conversation that they had.

Mueller then revealed that after the new LAPD investigation began in 2016, Jane Doe 1 was instructed to make a “pretext call” to Fabos to find out what he remembered from that conversation, and to record it for the police.

Mueller: Subsequently — 2017, I want to say — there was a pretext call where she was talking to Mr. Fabos and said, “Hey, do you kind of remember when I talked to you about what happened?” and he acknowledged, “Yes, I do.” and she said, “What do you remember?” And he kind of laid it out. “I remember you coming to me. I remember you saying that, you know, you ended up going to his house and just having one drink, got in the jacuzzi.” I think he mentions all of those details in that pretext.

On Monday, Mueller informed Judge Olmedo that the prosecution intends to call Fabos to the witness stand to ask him about this.

On Tuesday, Judge Olmedo said she wanted the fresh complaint witnesses to come in only under narrow circumstances, and she indicated that there may be more discussion about them in the coming days.


Meanwhile, we find it interesting who Shaun Fabos is. He’s the son of Steve Fabos, and the two of them operate a North Hollywood music studio Shaun built that they call Fab Factory.


[Steve and Shaun Fabos at their studio]

Steve Fabos and his wife Peggy Oppenheim-Fabos are also known as major donors in Scientology.

Scientology celebrates its biggest donors with trophies and appearances in Impact magazine, and we do our best to document them and track their progress.

That’s how we can tell you that Steve and Peggy went from “Gold Meritorious With Honors” ($1.5 million) in 2017 to “Patron Laureate” ($10 million) in 2022, a very fast rise.

Meanwhile, Steve and Peggy have popped up in a lot of Scientology’s fundraising flyers recently, showing them giving dozens of “humanitarian” grants (at $100,000 each) for new “Ideal Org” projects around the country.

The couple (who are often in costume) have become so ubiquitous at fundraising events for building projects in places like Hawaii, Philadelphia, Long Island, and Battle Creek, Scientology has dubbed them the “Fabos Factor.”


We briefly reached out to Shaun Fabos in 2017, but he never got back to us. We’re still interested to learn how he feels about the situation.

The prosecution wants to put on a witness who talked to Jane Doe 1 shortly after the alleged 2003 attack, and who also happens to the be the son of one of Scientology’s biggest current donors.

That has to make Scientology leader David Miscavige uncomfortable.



Again! Scientology has seriously lost it over Mike Rinder, Valeska Paris court documents

[Valeska Paris and Mike Rinder]

Two weeks ago, we told you the situation with the labor trafficking lawsuit in Tampa federal court, and how Judge Thomas Barber told Scientology he didn’t need more briefing while he considered its latest motions intended to derail the case. Settle down, he seemed to tell them, he had everything he needed to make an informed decision.

But this is Scientology. You think they’re going to take a hint from a judge?

The lawsuit was first filed on April 28 and alleges that Valeska Paris and Gawain and Laura Baxter, all residents of Australia, were forced into the Sea Org as children, suffered neglect and harsh punishments as children and adults, and served as virtual prisoners aboard the ship.

Scientology responded by filing motions to compel arbitration, a strategy that has largely been a successful one for the church in recent years. The church says that Valeska and the Baxters signed contracts between 2003 and 2015 that obliged them not to sue but to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal form of arbitration.

Valeska and the Baxters responded with well-written briefs that included declarations by Valeska and the Baxters saying they had signed those contracts in the Sea Org under duress.

They also submitted a declaration from an expert on trafficking, Florence Burke. And maybe most irritating to the church, they filed a declaration from former spokesman Mike Rinder describing Scientology’s control of its Sea Org minions.

Scientology (or rather, church leader David Miscavige) was livid that the declarations had been attached (Mike Rinder tends to trigger them like nothing else), and they asked Judge Barber for permission to file a whole new set of replies in order to counter the declarations.

Judge Barber, essentially, told them to sit down.

“Defendants’ motions for leave to file replies are denied. If necessary to resolve the pending motions, the Court will direct the parties to file supplemental memoranda or set a hearing to further address the legal issues and arguments in this case,” he ruled.

Since then, he did set a hearing for oral arguments that both sides had asked for. It’s scheduled for November 17.


One of our legal friends, TX Lawyer, who specializes in appeals, told us that Judge Barber’s instruction to Scientology not to submit more documents might be a sign that he’s actually leaning their way and might be preparing to find for the motions to compel arbitration.

There’s a reason to suspect that might be the case: A 2013 lawsuit filed by two former Scientologists, Luis and Rocio Garcia, was forced into arbitration in the same Tampa courtroom, and it was upheld on appeal by the federal Eleventh Circuit. That seems like a fairly heavy precedent that the Baxter lawsuit must overcome.

We really don’t know what Judge Barber is going to do, but with the Garcia precedent hanging over the Tampa courthouse, and Barber telling Scientology that he had what he needed and that if he needed more information he’d ask for it, you’d think Scientology would just sit tight and prepare for the November 17 hearing, right?

Nope. Dave is clearly still seriously triggered about Mike Rinder’s entry into the case and the declarations by the others, and this week his attorneys bombed the court with seventeen new filings totaling more than 250 pages, and all aimed at striking the five declarations from the record.

And some of this stuff is just classic David Miscavige spleen.

By his own admission, Michael Rinder left the Church of Scientology in 2007, fifteen (15) years ago. Therefore, he has no personal knowledge of many of the “facts” he asserts in his declaration concerning the current organizational structure and practices of the Church. For instance, Mr. Rinder purports to describe the chain of command within the Church, but then describes his so-called experiences from 1982 to 2007. Mr. Rinder claims that RTC and Mr. Miscavige have offices in the Flag Building but provide no basis for this claim. Nor could he. The Flag building was not opened until 2013 – years after Mr. Rinder left the Church…

Since his departure from Scientology in 2007, Mr. Rinder has devoted his life to falsely and publicly attacking the Church for opportunistic ends. He has served as the co-host of an anti-Scientology cable television program and maintains a blog and, at times, a podcast for the exclusive purpose of spreading false propaganda and attacking the Scientology religion, its leadership, and adherents. In his podcast, and other media, he has referred to the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, David Miscavige, as “Kim Jong,” “Hitler,” “Stalin,” and “the emotional equivalent of Jeffrey Dahmer,” among other highly offensive, malicious and defamatory insults. He has also referred to Scientologists as “rabid vermin,” “cornered rats,” “dumbass extremises [sic, extremists],” “will lie [liars],” “brainwashed,” “perniciously evil” and “Kool Aide drinking bubble-dwellers.”

Stop, stop, Dave. Yer killing us.

From the motion to strike Valeska’s declaration, this is the paragraph that should be enshrined in the Scientology hypocrisy hall of fame:

Multiple paragraphs of the Paris Declaration must be stricken because they are improper opinion testimony regarding the doctrines, practices, and beliefs of the Scientology religion. Ms. Paris is not qualified to opine on such matters. Ms. Paris is a non-believer who has left the faith. She offers no foundation for her opinion testimony regarding the religion and its practices. For instance, she is not a religious scholar and does not claim to have held any doctrinal position when she was a member of the Sea Org.

OK, just so we’re clear, Dave: Valeska’s opinion about Scientology’s practices are not valid because she’s left the church, but that contract you forced her to sign is still valid, right?


Anyway, for all we know Judge Barber might not mind being paper-bombed with this dreck when he explicitly told them not to file replies, and in the end it might make no difference to what he ultimately rules.

But we still find the thought of Miscavige throwing a fit over Mike Rinder entertaining as hell.


Here are the motions to strike (the rest of the filings were joinders from the various defendants saying, essentially, “us too!”, and we’re not going to post them).

Motion to strike Mike Rinder’s declaration.
Motion to strike Valeska Paris’s declaration.
Motion to strike Gawain Baxter’s declaration.
Motion to strike Laura Baxter’s declaration.
Motion to strike Florence Burke’s declaration.


Technology Cocktail

“People, by the way, will tell you, ‘Oh, I’m not PTS.’ ‘But your father is suing the org.’ ‘Oh yes, I know, but it doesn’t bother me. Besides my illness is from something I ate last year. And I rollercoaster because I don’t like the Examiner. But I’m not PTS.’ The mystery is solved when you find they haven’t a clue what the letters mean or what the condition is, so give them a copy of HCO PL 5 Apr 72 and let them read it. If they still want to know more give them HCO PL 23 Dec 65. (Remembering it has to be Word Cleared Method 4 or he won’t have a clue even if he reads it.) We are on no campaign to rid the world of suppressives when we are handling a PTS pc. But facts are facts and tech is tech.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1972


Programming note: Beginning tomorrow, new stories will post at 9 am Eastern (6 am Pacific, 2 pm in London)




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 as trial begins and Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4

— The Underground Bunker Podcast on YouTube


[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley


Source Code

“Anderson, Q.C., Melbourne inquiry. Complete gibbering psychotic idiot. Up to the gills with R-6. ‘Scientology must be wrong, because we cannot explain where all the new bodies come from. All the new spirits. Where would all the new spirits come from if everybody had a spirit, why, where would all the new spirits come from, huh?’ Actually, what he didn’t realize, this silly ass — he was disproving Catholicism. Catholicism claims there’s one spirit per body, so he was asking some silly little kid question that is asked of his own religion, Catholicism. And yet he was busy hanging Scientology because it couldn’t… You get the irrationality of it? The man occupies a perfectly valid position. He’s looked on. He’s a Queens’ consulate. Actually he’s just a gibbering idiot. You probably couldn’t even catch him to get a straight jacket on him.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 9, 1968


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SECURE THE PORT: We are very popular in this port. Were publicized heavily before arrival. Snap up the PR. Get out your white uniforms for watches and good clothes for the beach. Make a splash here. We’ll be here 3-4 days and will push to make it heavy PR.” — The Commodore, October 9, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I did some paranormal abilities training before knowing about Scientology. I remember one of the first paranormal detections I did many times about Scientology: I detected that it would degrade and degenerate; but I didn’t expect it would happen so soon. I’m glad that even though the Church of Scientology has been degraded, there are people outside the church doing sane and good Scientology.”



Past is Prologue

2000: “M” reported that Scientologists protesting at his workplace attempted to be hit by his car as a set-up for him to be arrested. “I came driving my vehicle around the corner, and as I pulled into the driveway, at the last minute, I saw this guy just standing there. I had to brake really hard to avoid hitting him, and my tires ‘chirped’ as I did this. He then stepped out of the way, and I proceeded to park and go into the office. He and another Scientologist were hanging around the office, handing out some of their negative literature. I then went outside and videotaped the two of them. I told them that it wasn’t a good idea to be standing in driveways, that it was dangerous. The second Scientologist made a remark to his friend that essentially expressed that he was disappointed that I hadn’t hit him. The Scientologists then called the Tampa Police. An officer came and spoke with them, and also with me. I told the officer ‘my side’ of the story, after he had talked with the complainant. I also showed the officer my videotape and gave him a copy for evidence. This only included tape of the conversation I had with the Scientologists, after the ‘incident’ in the driveway. The officer pointed out the remark made on the tape, but it didn’t immediately register to me what relevance it held.”


Random Howdy

“This place is nuts, but not half as nuts as YouTube. It’s just a little bit more serious and astute and friendly.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Jury selection scheduled to begin October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing scheduled November 17 to argue the arbitration motions.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25.
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.



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] He was Scientology ‘I/C’ — ‘in charge’ — of Paulette Cooper’s harassment. And now he’s dead.
[TWO years ago] SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS, Episode 10: Bryan Seymour wraps up his series axed by Seven News
[THREE years ago] CLEARWATER APOCALYPSE! No, not really. But let’s help Scientology run its new board
[FOUR years ago] What it was like last night at Scientology’s Los Angeles TV ‘season’ premiere party
[FIVE years ago] BLOCKBUSTER EXCLUSIVE: It turns out the National Enquirer is blowing smoke again
[SIX years ago] EXCLUSIVE: Recent deaths of Scientology rehab staffers points to ongoing problem
[SEVEN years ago] The Scientology-Ireland connection that propelled Cathriona White to Hollywood
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton files two more federal lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab network
[NINE years ago] Anonymous and Craigslist: Proof that Scientology Knows It’s Under Attack


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 2,812 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,317 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,867 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,857 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,748 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,053 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,923 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,028 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,501 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,817 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,383 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,302 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,470 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,050 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,312 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,348 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,063 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,628 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 943 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,118 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,669 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,800 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,138 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,993 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,112 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,468 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,771 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,877 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,275 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,151 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,734 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,229 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,483 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,592 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 9, 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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