Author Topic: Scientology and Rape  (Read 4306 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Scientology and Rape
« on: May 28, 2021, 02:10:30 pm »
Most know it's a crazy cult, but this isn't too well known. One more reason to stay away from them.

Scientology's secrets spill into open in Danny Masterson rape case
James Queally
Thu, May 27, 2021, 11:00 AM·

The Church of Scientology works hard to keep its inner workings out of the public eye.

It has hired private detectives to keep tabs on straying members, and experts say its lawyers vigorously defend against legal incursions, arguing to judges that Scientology’s beliefs are not courtroom fodder.

But at a hearing last week in the rape case against actor Danny Masterson, church officials were unable to stop their practices from being debated in open court.

Three women took the stand to recount sexual assaults allegedly committed by the celebrity Scientologist, and each told similar stories of how church officials tried to stop them from reporting Masterson to police.

One woman testified that a church official instructed her to write a statement showing she would “take responsibility” for a 2001 assault, in which she alleges Masterson raped her while she was unconscious.

Another woman, who was born into Scientology and planned to report Masterson to police in 2004, a year after she said he raped her at his Hollywood mansion, recounted how a Scientology attorney showed up at her family’s home. The lawyer, according to the woman, warned that she would be expelled from the church if she went to authorities.

“We’re going to work out how you can not lose your daughter,” the attorney told the woman’s father, according to her testimony.

The focus on Scientology during the preliminary hearing, which stretched over four days and included lengthy discussions of internal church texts and doctrine, wasn’t lost on Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo.

In ruling that there was sufficient evidence against Masterson to allow the case to proceed toward trial, Olmedo concluded that Scientology has “an expressly written doctrine” that “not only discourages, but prohibits” its members from reporting one another to law enforcement. The policy explained why several of the women did not report Masterson’s alleged crimes to the police for more than a decade, the judge found.

It was a type of public dissection that is unusual for the insular, enigmatic institution. The church, which counts a number of high-profile actors among its parishioners and operates a “Celebrity Centre” in the heart of Hollywood, has long been accused of going to extraordinary lengths to keep criminal allegations and other claims of wrongdoing in-house, experts said.

“The activities of Scientology have been so much a part of the evidence that’s being put forth as to why these women were not immediately going to law enforcement ... that it’s sort of brought the dirty laundry out into public view, which is exactly what Scientology does not want to have happen,” said Mike Rinder, the church’s former top spokesman, who left the faith in 2007.

In statements to The Times, the church denied it has a policy that dissuades members from reporting crimes, despite repeated references to Scientology texts during the hearing that appeared to include the directive. Karin Pouw, the church’s top spokeswoman, said Olmedo’s comments were “flat-out wrong” and dismissed the allegations against Masterson as “nothing more than a money shakedown” by women who are also engaged in a civil suit against him.

The women, Pouw claimed without evidence, are parroting comments made by Leah Remini, an actress who became an outspoken critic of Scientology after breaking with it in 2013. Rinder is a co-executive producer with Remini of an A&E series about Scientology.

“Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land, including the reporting of crimes. This is blatantly clear in the documents we understand were put before the Court — and many others,” Pouw wrote, repeatedly noting the church is not a party in the criminal case. “The Court either did not read them in full or ignored them. It should have done neither. Interpretation of Church doctrine by the courts is prohibited and the ruling is evidence of why.”

The case against Masterson, who starred in the 2000s sitcom “That ’70s Show,” is a relatively rare example of a Scientologist facing criminal charges based on accusations from other church members, Rinder said.

The church’s doctrine generally dismisses government institutions like courts as invalid and directs members to deal with complaints internally, said Rinder, who described himself as having worked closely with L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction author who founded the church. Knowing that contacting law enforcement can lead to excommunication and being cut off from family and friends who remain in the church, members often remain silent, according to Rinder and testimony delivered in court last week.

The case against Masterson, Rinder added, is also unusual for the outsize role the inner workings and rules of Scientology played at the preliminary hearing — a likely preview of what is to come if the case goes to trial. For the most part, Rinder said, cases involving the church have played out in civil court, where lawyers for Scientology have largely been successful in convincing judges that its practices are irrelevant.

"Scientology had managed to persuade courts … that you can’t inquire into our religious practices and beliefs and have managed to dissuade much discussion about Scientology," Rinder said.

In a 2019 trial, lawyers for Scientology failed to shield the church from court scrutiny when defense attorneys for a man accused of beating his sister-in-law and her husband to death in Prescott, Ariz., argued that his belief in the religion drove him to commit the crime, according to a report in the Arizona Republic. In that case, a jury found Kenneth Wayne Thompson carried out the slayings to protect his nephew from receiving psychiatric treatment, which his attorneys argued is barred by the church's doctrines.

Jurors heard testimony about the church's origins, and how members use a polygraph-like "E-meter" during a process meant to lead to spiritual clarity. Both prosecutors and church lawyers opposed the strategy to involve Scientology in the case, but a judge allowed it. Attempts to subpoena church records and call former Scientologists to testify, including Remini, were unsuccessful, however.

Testimony at Masterson’s preliminary hearing at times was as much an explanation of the church’s processes and cryptic vocabulary as an accounting of the actor’s alleged sexual abuse.

One woman testified that she wrote a letter to an “International Justice Chief,” whom she described as the church’s ultimate authority on disputes between Scientologists, seeking permission to sue Masterson and report him to police. References were made in court to “knowledge reports,” “Things That Shouldn’t Be reports,” and “O.W. write-ups.” A prosecutor repeatedly evoked books and letters written by Hubbard.

When a woman explained during her testimony that “wog-law” is the church’s disdainful term for police and courts, Olmedo asked if Scientologists refer to nonmembers as “wogs,” much like wizards in the fictional universe of “Harry Potter” call non-magical people “muggles.”

“I suppose,” the woman responded. “It’s not a nice thing.”

The three women who have accused Masterson of rape were identified in court by their first names and initials of their last names. The Times generally does not name victims of alleged sexual assault unless they choose to fully identify themselves.

Masterson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, initially tried to minimize Scientology’s place in the case, asking Olmedo to issue an order limiting mentions of the church or its practices in court. He argued the restrictions were needed because of “religious bias” that investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department and Masterson’s accusers harbored against Scientology.

Olmedo slapped down the request, saying she found it “interesting” that Mesereau argued Scientology should have little to do with the case, but also referred to the church “88 times in a 29-page brief.”

As the hearing wore on, Mesereau appeared to change tactics, introducing church documents as evidence in an attempt to undercut the credibility of Masterson’s accusers.

While cross-examining one woman, he read from an “O.W. write-up” and suggested the church document amounted to an admission by the woman that her encounter with Masterson had been consensual and driven by her promiscuity. She fired back that the document had been written by church officials, who took comments she’d made to a Scientology counselor out of context and repurposed them to defend Masterson.

Mesereau also brought out a copy of “Introduction to Scientology Ethics,” a 528-page tome written by Hubbard, as he cross-examined another alleged victim.

When it was his turn to question the woman, Deputy Dist. Atty. Reinhold Mueller took the book from Mesereau and had it admitted into the court record. He and the woman read aloud passages that she said she understood were official church doctrine that discourages Scientologists from reporting fellow parishioners to law enforcement.

As he finished his questioning, Mueller handed the book back to Mesereau and thanked him, saying it was “very helpful.”

One of the women who testified at the hearing said that when she reported the alleged rape to church officials, she was told to read the chapter of "Introduction to Scientology Ethics" that instructs members not to go to police in such cases. In a one-on-one meeting, a church "ethics officer" told her "not to use the ‘R-word'" and said it would be a “high crime” to report another Scientologist to law enforcement, the woman testified.

She also said she was required to complete an "ethics course" because she had done "something to ... deserve what [Masterson] did to me.”

Rinder said that in recent years, the church's responses to media inquiries had become "hermit-like." The fact that the church issued a detailed defense of its practices to The Times is a sign the Masterson case has become a significant problem for the church, he said.

“The fact that it's Danny Masterson from 'That '70s Show' … it’s not just local media reporting on a local case, it blows it up way bigger. It becomes part of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein," he said, referring to the #MeToo movement, which has identified several celebrities as sexual predators. "That instantly puts it into a different zone. Within Scientology, this becomes panic stations, high alert.”

Offline Sparks

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Re: Scientology and Rape — Actor Danny Masterson
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2021, 08:08:05 pm »
“The fact that it's Danny Masterson from 'That '70s Show' … it’s not just local media reporting on a local case, it blows it up way bigger.

This case is reflected on Danny Masterson's Wikipedia entry:

Daniel Peter Masterson (born March 13, 1976)[1] is an American actor, comedian, and disc jockey.[2] Masterson played the roles of Steven Hyde in That '70s Show (1998–2006) and Jameson "Rooster" Bennett in The Ranch (2016–2018). On June 17, 2020, he was arrested and charged in connection with three rape allegations.[3][4]
Personal life
Masterson is a Scientologist.[21][22] He started dating Bijou Phillips in 2004,[23] they became engaged in 2009,[24] and married on October 18, 2011.[25] Their daughter, Fianna Francis Masterson, was born on February 14, 2014.[26][27][28]

Sexual assault allegations and criminal trial
In March 2017, four women filed sexual assault allegations against Masterson, prompting a Los Angeles Police Department investigation.[2] Masterson, through his agent, has denied the allegations. In response to the accusations, Netflix fired Masterson from its comedy series The Ranch on December 5, 2017, saying in a statement, "Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him." Masterson stated that he is "obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write my character off of The Ranch."[29] A fifth woman who dated Masterson made similar rape accusations in December 2017.[30] He was dropped as a client by United Talent Agency.[31][32][33]

A planned 2019 episode of Leah Remini's show Aftermath, focusing on the Masterson rape allegations, was delayed due to what one of Masterson's accusers characterized as pressure from the Church of Scientology.[34] The episode eventually aired on August 27, 2019.[35]

Cedric Bixler-Zavala, singer for the bands The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In, alleged that Masterson sexually assaulted his wife Chrissie Carnell Bixler, and stated At the Drive-In's song "Incurably Innocent" (from the 2017 album In•ter a•li•a) is about the incident.[36][37][38]

In August 2019, four women filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology for stalking and harassment, stemming from their rape allegations. One plaintiff claimed her dog died from (unexplained) traumatic injuries to its trachea and esophagus, also alleging that church members chased her as she drove her car, filmed her without permission, harassed her online and posted ads to social media sites soliciting sex in her name. Another plaintiff stated that she and her neighbors observed a man snapping pictures from her driveway and later that night someone broke a window in her 13-year-old daughter's bedroom.[39][40][33] Such stalking and harassment claims are indicative of a Scientology policy titled Fair Game, which the Church claims was cancelled by L. Ron Hubbard in 1968, yet the plaintiffs' lawyers claim it continues still against any detractors and ex-church-members, through 'outsourcing' to private investigators and off duty police officers.[41][42] Masterson has since responded to one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, claiming: "I'm not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she's been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court—and look forward to it because the public will finally be able to learn the truth and see how I've been railroaded by this woman... and once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family." He did not address the stalking or harassment claims.[39][33]

On January 22, 2020, Bixler-Zavala reported that a second of his family pets had to be put down due to being fed rat poison wrapped inside a rolled-up piece of raw meat, alleging this was done by Scientologists in response to his repeated public statements alleging Masterson raped his wife (who was one of the four women who filed suit against Masterson). Masterson has yet to directly respond to any of Bixler-Zavala's claims or his prior rape allegations made by Chrissie Carnell Bixler with the closest acknowledgment being Masterson's wife Bijou Phillips making an Instagram post mocking Carnell Bixler's court papers against Masterson.[43][44][45][46]

On June 17, 2020, Masterson was charged with raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in early 2003 and a 23-year-old woman in late 2003. The three counts come after a three-year investigation beginning in 2017. If convicted, Masterson faces up to 45 years in prison.[47][48]

On January 21, 2021, Masterson pleaded not guilty.[49] A four-day preliminary hearing began on May 18, 2021. [50] On May 21, 2021, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo ordered that Masterson be bound over for trial on three counts of rape by force or fear and that he surrender his passport at his next arraignment, which was set for June 7, 2021.[51][52]

I quoted the "Personal Life" paragraph in full, since it is constantly being revised, as can be seen from the "Revision History" page:

The anonymous IP address responsible for several changes has been blocked:

This IP address is currently blocked. The latest block log entry is provided below for reference:
13:07, 27 May 2021 Bbb23 talk contribs blocked 2601:447:4080:10::/64 talk with an expiration time of 6 months (anon. only, account creation blocked) (Abusing multiple accounts: Please see: w:en:Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/JoeScarce)