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Judge sets Jan 20 hearing for motion to serve Scientology leader in trafficking case

[Attorney Neil Glazer is still trying to serve Scientology leader David Miscavige]

Now this is the showdown we were telling you just the other day that we’d like to see!

After Scientology leader David Miscavige finally had a lawyer appear for him in the Tampa federal labor trafficking lawsuit (and simply in order to keep him out of the case), Neil Glazer, the attorney for the former Sea Org workers suing the church, asked the court for a hearing to present his arguments for why Miscavige should be declared served and an official defendant in the case.

As a result, the court has set a hearing for arguments on January 20 at 2 pm, and on Zoom before Magistrate Judge Julie Sneed. We will see if we can’t log in, because we’d love to see Glazer take on Miscavige’s attorney, Florida Bar past president William Schifino.

In April, Valeska Paris and two other former Sea Org workers, Gawain and Laura Baxter, filed the lawsuit against Scientology and Miscavige, alleging that they had been trafficked as children and adults, forced to do labor and treated horribly on Scientology’s floating cathedral, the cruise ship Freewinds.


Scientology is attempting to derail the lawsuit the way it usually does in this kind of litigation, by arguing that contracts these former Scientologists signed while they were members obliged them not to sue but to take their grievances to Scientology’s own brand of “religious arbitration.”

A hearing on that question was held on November 17, and we are awaiting a ruling from federal Judge Thomas Barber, who at the hearing seemed to indicate some skepticism about Scientology’s claims.

In the meantime, Valeska and the Baxters have struggled to get Scientology leader David Miscavige officially named a defendant in the case, and they have made numerous filings alleging that Miscavige is purposely evading service. The other defendants, institutional Scientology subsidiaries, all accepted service and are fighting the lawsuit with a high-priced army of lawyers. But until last week no attorneys had appeared for Miscavige and at the November 17 hearing Judge Barber expressed that he’d never seen anything quite like it.

Then, on Wednesday last week, Schifino filed his appearance, making it clear that he was only representing Miscavige in a very limited way, and in order to argue that Miscavige not be served.

Some readers pointed out to us that this is not unusual on its own as a legal strategy. And we were aware of it: In fact, Miscavige used a similar strategy to keep himself out of a lawsuit that Monique Rathbun filed in Texas in 2013.

But he did that almost right away after that lawsuit was filed. What was different this time is that Miscavige had spent more than seven months completely evading service and not sending an attorney down to the court, to the point that even the judge remarked that he’d never seen anything like it.

But now, Schifino is representing Miscavige for the purpose of keeping him out of the case, and we’ll get to see him go up against Glazer on January 20. We just hope the court allows us to join the Zoom.


Continuing our year in review: The stories of February 2022

We welcomed another great contributor as Louise Shekter began sending us a number of really well-written pieces about her time in Scientology, beginning with what it was like to arrive at the yacht Apollo to begin sailing with founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1969.

Scientology was still reeling over its loss in appellate court in January that restored the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s accusers. We marveled at the whiny language in the petition they filed for a rehearing. There’s nothing like Scientology attorneys in a high dudgeon.

In Louise Shekter’s second piece, she described the stress when a family is dealing with serious medical considerations while being stalked by Scientology’s goons.


February 8 was one of the strangest days in the Danny Masterson legal saga. At a hearing in Danny’s criminal case, one of Scientology’s attorneys showed up, carping about something Judge Charlaine Olmedo had said about the church. It was a bizarre moment in a case where Scientology wasn’t actually a party. Later in the month, we provided even more detail on this bizarre day in court.

The next day, another big development in the Masterson mess: We revealed that Jane Doe 1 had dropped the vaunted Philly legal team for Brad Edwards, an attorney known for taking on Jeffrey Epstein.

We noted the passing of Ned McCrink, a man we were happy to have gotten to know. He had become disillusioned with Scientology after helping to finance its new “Ideal Org” in Orange County.

You know about Joy Villa and Chill EB, but now we got to learn about Scientology’s new superstar, Wicked Witch!

Once again, Scientology’s Super Bowl ad was a mystery sandwich, this time titled “We Are Giants.”

Bruce Hines gave us another superbly written narrative about his time in Scientology, and this one about the death of his sister. It was one of his most devastating pieces.

Louise Shekter’s third item for us gave us a glimpse about the choice she faced in Morocco: Taking a chance on a romance, or staying with the Sea Org? And later, what it was like to survive a hurricane with Hubbard.

On February 24, we dug into a controversy kicked up by blogger Stefani Hutchinson that showed pretty definitively what the Dutch government really thinks about Scientology’s cruise ship.

And finally, we noted the passing of former Narconon International president and longtime Scientology figure Clark Carr at 75.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2021: Investigative proof that Balance of Nature has a tight relationship with Scientology. New York investor and Scientologist David Gentile charged for running $1.8 billion Ponzi scheme. Scientology’s Narconon drug rehab network down to only 5 clinics in the US. The world lost jazz great and Scientology celeb Chick Corea. Exposing a Scientology dirty tricks operator, Russ Andrews. And another OT suicide.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2020: Forced to arbitration, Valerie Haney considered her options. An OT dentist in Maryland was unmasked as a sadistic medical disaster. Bobette Riales blamed Scientology for the near-fatal poisoning of her dog Jet. Scientology’s celebrity Narconon in Ojai got the drone treatment. An L. Ron Hubbard racist lecture in South Africa was unearthed. Last Ideal Org opened before the pandemic in Ventura, and we got the drone flyover.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2019: NFL great Marshall Faulk used another Super Bowl to shill for Scientology’s anti-drug front group. Chief Slaughter denied that Clearwater PD genuflects to David Miscavige. USC revealed that a letter from a prominent faculty member endorsing Scientology was a fake. The National Enquirer falsely claimed that Shelly Miscavige had been spotted on a cruise ship.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2018: David Mayo died, and we revealed that we’d been talking to him over the years. Scientology’s new Super Bowl ad, ‘Curious?’ was a hoot. Chris Owen dived into the notorious ‘brainwashing’ manual. And Sands Hall published her delightful memoir, ‘Flunk. Start.’

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2017: The new Super Bowl ad was another mystery sandwich. Phil and Willie Jones put up another ‘Call Me’ billboard, this time right on Sunset Boulevard. Clay Irwin toured Tom Cruise’s penthouse. We profiled the ‘celebrity whisperer,’ Quailynn McDaniel.


A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2016: News broke that Monique Rathbun had fired her entire legal team. Ross and Carrie began their trip inside the church. Defector Paul Burkhart estimated fewer than 20,000 active members left in the church worldwide. And a 1940 L. Ron Hubbard short story turned out to have a lot of precursor ideas for Scientology.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2015: The horrifying story of a mentally ill woman held in an Arkansas basement by a Scientologist, Mark Ebner found that Narconon International ditched its offices, we fact-checked Danny Masterson, and R.M. Seibert dug up L. Ron Hubbard’s high school record.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2014: The Master actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died in New York, we wrote an essay complaining about the way the media talks about Scientology and celebrities, and we provided some context to the first official Scientology wedding in England.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2013: Jenna Miscavige Hill’s memoir, Beyond Belief, was published. Harlan Ellison helped us document a Hubbard legend. And former Narconon executive Eric Tenorio cam forward.


Technology Cocktail

“In the process of running Opening Procedure by Duplication hypnotism very often comes off of the bank. Here we have an example of unhypnotizing. The process of hypnotism is a monotony and a central fixation on some one object. Opening Procedure by Duplication, using two objects and using an alert and aware procedure, contacting and examining these two objects alternately, tends to unfix a person from points in the past.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1954



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 Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.



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 [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— 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 on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen


Source Code

“Why do you think it is that simply looking at something will make it vanish as far as a thetan is concerned? We know that this will take place. All right, that’s because he goes into communication with it and it is a mismanaged communication. To be an it, to be a something, we must have had a mismanaged communication of one kind or another. That’s why we say ‘God built this universe.’ Now that is a mismanaged communication, per se, it is right there. God did not build this universe. And so that is mismanaged so there is the wrong point of origin, see, some point of origin is mocked-up, and so on.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 22, 1954



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Peter Church, FEBC student and Sharon West were married at sea by Captain W.B. Robertson at 2151 hours 21 Dec 1970. The marriage will be recorded at the nearest consul under Maritime Law and the Laws of Panama. The entry has been duly recorded in the ship’s log. Peter Church is from Delta Meters, Los Angeles. They will have a brief honeymoon in the nextport. They have the good wishes of the officers and crew of the Apollo and my own.” — The Commodore, December 22, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I think there is different levels of beingness and as you advance up you always look at the people below you and think that they are insane, but you think you’re sane, then you progress and then you think about how you used to be and you think you were insane, so it’s all a gradient scale, and earthlings on average are not advanced so therefore we are all insane.”


Past is Prologue

1997: The Sonora, California Union Democrat reports that Scientology is developing an abandoned mine there for use as a storage vault. “The Church of Spiritual Technology has been blasting at the Lady Washington Mine, 18749 First Avenue, for several weeks and recently finished gunniting about 108 feet of tunnel. Plans filed with the Tuolumne County Building Department show a 15-foot-wide, 250-foot-long-tunnel. The first 98 feet from the entrance are improved, with a 10.5-foot domed ceiling. At the end of the 98 feet is a 10-foot-long storage room. The plans show the rest of the tunnel to be unimproved. The value of the finished project, according to the building permit, is $210,000. The church has also applied for a permit to build a generator building, but that permit has not yet been approved. The Lady Washington Mine and two houses on 26.23 acres were purchased in 1988 by William and Donna Daniels. They bought six parcels in all. Part of the land was sold by William Trimmer, and the rest by Drew Reeves. In 1988, the Daniels gave the property to Norman Starkey, trustee of ‘Author’s Family Trust.’ Starkey gave the property to the Church of Spiritual Technology in 1993.”


Random Howdy

“Dude, we don’t get ‘in comm’ with people around here, we talk to them.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Status conference scheduled January 10, retrial scheduled March 27.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Plea deadline scheduled for December 16.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to time served with three years supervised release, restitution of $9.7 million.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial hearing December 9.
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 November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
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 at least through February 7.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
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] Scientology’s 2021 was a leaky one, including new data about its dirty tricks
[TWO years ago] ‘Tears of joy’: Scientology boasts that leader David Miscavige attended Clearwater event
[THREE years ago] Scientology Santa: The church built on Jesus as a hoax once again co-opts Christmas
[FOUR years ago] Checking in on a Scientology ‘ideal’ Christmas as we continue our year in review
[FIVE years ago] Scientology donor Joy Villa aiming for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Miami congressional district
[SIX years ago] February made us shiver, but it was another Astounding month here in the Bunker
[SEVEN years ago] The Scientologist who sold a hot dinosaur skull to Nicolas Cage
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: In chilly February, Hambo began his onslaught
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology sends us a letter!
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s 2012 In Review: Debbie Cook Starts January Off With a BANG!


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 2,886 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,391 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,941 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,931 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,822 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,127 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,997 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,102 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,575 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,891 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,457 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,376 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,544 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,125 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,386 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,422 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,137 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,702 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,017 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,192 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,743 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,874 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,212 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,067 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,186 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,542 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,845 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,951 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,349 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,225 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,808 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,303 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,557 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,666 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 22, 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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