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Court today: Masterson victims want to resume lawsuit, Scientology wants it kept on ice

[Scientology attorney William Forman and Danny Masterson]

Danny Masterson’s victims are expecting their civil lawsuit against him and against the Church of Scientology to resume today after Masterson’s September 7 sentencing, but Scientology’s attorneys are arguing that the lawsuit be kept in limbo. We’ll have someone there at Los Angeles Superior Court to let us know what happens.

The lawsuit, Bixler v. Scientology, was filed even before Masterson was charged criminally, and it’s a harassment lawsuit that alleges stalking and intimidation, not rape. The plaintiffs (the three Jane Does from the criminal case and one more, and one of their husbands) filed the lawsuit in August 2019 saying that since they had come forward to the LAPD in 2016 they had been subjected to hacking, surveillance, and even the poisoning of their pets.

The lawsuit has been on hold while the criminal case was proceeding, and so we’ve been anticipating that it will get going again once Masterson was finally sentenced. On September 7 he was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after he was convicted on two counts of forcible rape.

Yesterday, however, when both sides submitted a joint status report to the court, Scientology’s attorneys indicated that they don’t think the lawsuit should proceed at this point. They argue that a stay should continue as long as the LAPD is looking into their claims that detectives in the case had lied in testimony about Scientology harassing the victims.

Yes, you may remember that during the second trial, it was revealed that back in 2021 or 2022, when Masterson was still represented by Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum, a large portion of the prosecution’s evidence in the case was leaked to the Church of Scientology’s attorney, Vicki Podberesky. Judge Charlaine Olmedo found that Mesereau and Appelbaum had shared that material against court orders and sanctioned them. (They briefly appealed but then dropped those appeals.)


Podberesky in turn used that material to make a case to the LAPD that detectives Esther Reyes and Javier Vargas were testifying in court that the victims were being subjected to Scientology harassment when they knew that this wasn’t the case. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller indicated in court that the LAPD is actually taking this seriously, and is investigating the detectives.

So while that’s going on, Scientology argues, the civil lawsuit should wait. They also argue that they believe the plaintiffs are preparing an amended complaint and they want to wait to see what it contains. And Danny Masterson’s attorney is also arguing that because the third count in the criminal case, after a hung jury, was not dismissed with prejudice, that he cannot participate in discovery as long as the case might be brought back against him.

So, a lot for the judge to consider as the Masterson victims ask for the lawsuit to get going again so they can begin deposing people and bringing evidence into the courtroom.

We’ll have someone there to let us know how Judge Upinder Kalra reacts.


Technology Cocktail

“The way a being is hung with persistent masses is the mechanism of getting him to believe certain things are undesirable. These, he cannot then have. He can only combat or ignore them. Either way, they are not as-ised. Thus they persist. Only undesirable characteristics tend to persist. Therefore the least desirabl valences or traits of valences persist.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1962



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?

[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

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“You could teach people quite a bit about just any one of these Security Checks, you see. Like the children’s check. Teaching them how to use a children’s check. That’s quite interesting. You, of course, mustn’t ask a question which the child can’t understand because you will have an immediate ARC break. He thinks he’s being accused of something; he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. So you have to rephrase all of the questions in the child’s Security Check, you see, so as to reach the comprehension level of a child.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 26, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys


“PARTY: That was a great party. The actors in the skits were marvelous. Bill’s Apollo Elastic Band was surprisingly competent. Didn’t know we had that many real musicians and Bill has been hiding a very low and dirty clarinet.” — The Commodore, September 26, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“In case it’s not clear to everyone, Scientologists have a clear advantage over non-Scientologists in almost every way. Let me be even more bold about that. Scientologists are superior to non-Scientologists with regard to a huge number of issues. This is simply a fact.”


Past is Prologue

1996: The British TV show aired a segment on Scientology featuring a.r.s’ Martin Poulter. “Well what I’ve done is collect together the information that scientology doesn’t want people to read. I’ve collected many first-hand accounts from ex-scientologists, many documents from legal cases, several documents that were seized by the FBI when they raided Scientology headquarters and many of the postings from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. It’s a big fight in cyberspace really. There are some pro-scientology posters. Some who seem to be authorised by the church, and there’s many people who are protesting. Many ex-scientologists who are speaking about their experiences. Many people who’ve joined in the debate because of concerns about civil rights.” Rachael Ryerson [Scientologist]: “I’d like to say that Scientologists actually do feel threatened by confidential materials, scriptures from the church, being put on the Internet, because it’s part of our core religious beliefs that these scriptures do need to be kept confidential until a person is at the required spiritual and ethical level to be invited to participate with those scriptures.” Greg Ryerson: “There’s actually millions of scientologists whose deep seated religious beliefs they feel are being violated by this. You know they also should have some consideration taken of their belief.” Rachael Ryerson: “I obviously think scientology will get more popular in cyberspace, and as people do become aware of the issues, you know, and copyright law does adapt to this new medium that we have, the Internet, you know, Intelligent people will assess and they will see that, you know, what we’re saying on the copyright is just a portion of freedom of speech.”


Random Howdy

“Vallarrr use to blather on about how if someone had an irrational fear of spiders and they did some auditing and that fear was gone that was proof of auditing working.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, first hearing set for Dec 4.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 sentencing of Masterson on Sep 7. Next hearing set for Sept 26.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing Nov 6.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Watching Scientology lie to foreigners about ‘religious’ visas: A very personal account
[TWO years ago] Russia’s latest strategy to curb Scientology: Shut down the money pipeline
[THREE years ago] Scientology ex-Sea Orger with ties to dark secrets running for city council in Oregon
[FOUR years ago] City councilman demonstrates why Scientology puts so much effort into its front groups
[FIVE years ago] A conversation with Nathan Rich about the unique Scientology hellscape he survived
[SIX years ago] To help you through withdrawals tonight, take our poll on Leah Remini’s Season Two so far
[SEVEN years ago] SCIENTOLOGY’S TOP 20 CELEBRITIES — in order of those most likely to defect
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Darth Xander’ files motion challenging Scientology’s anti-protesting injunction
[NINE years ago] Scientology prepares for its big party in England, Maureen Bolstad on the Purification Rundown
[TEN years ago] Shut-Down Scientology Drug Rehab Claiming It’s Full, Says Mother of Insurance Fraud Victim
[TWELVE years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 3: Marty Rathbun


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 3,164 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,679 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,229 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,219 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,100 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,404 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,275 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,380 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,827 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,169 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,735 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,654 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,821 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,403 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,664 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,700 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,416 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,980 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,295 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,470 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,021 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,152 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,490 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,345 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,464 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,820 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,123 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,229 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,627 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,503 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,068 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,581 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,835 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,944 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 6, 2023 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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