Scientology is waging its own war on the “#MeToo” movement demanding, in Los Angeles Superior Court, that sitcom star Danny Masterson and his accusers face “religious arbitration” over allegations that the star and the Church stalked and invaded the privacy of at least four women rather than a jury.
Four women, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Marie Riales and two Jane Does, filed suit against Masterson in the Los Angeles Superior Court back in August, claiming that Masterson stalked and harassed them after they went public with rape allegations against him, and that the Chuch of Scientology, a co-defendant in the case, conspired with Masterson to cover up the incidents, as well as other possible sexual crimes according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Masterson is alleged to have sexually assaulted each of the four women but he has never faced charges. The women say the reason the Los Angeles Police Department and other law enforcement agencies refused to pursue Masterson is because Masterson is a Scientologist and the church intervened in his case, impeding the investigation by filing “50 affidavits from Scientologists who denied the woman’s account,” per USA Today.
After they came forward, during the #MeToo wave in 2018, they say Scientology engaged in a concerted effort “to silence and intimidate them.”
Masterson, for his part, says the women are engaged in their own conspiracy: “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 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 said back in August when the initial complaint was filed.
Now, Scientology says that even if Masterson is guilty, he should be subject to Scientology’s disciplinary process, not the state’s, and the state had no business entertaining the women’s claims. They also say that the state should not force it and Masterson into arbitration — something the California court system requires before both parties go to trial.
“Under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the United States and California Constitutions the Church may establish its own rules governing its relationship with its members exempt from civil law,” Scientology’s motion says, demanding “religious arbitration,” rather than disposition through the California court system. “This Court may not interfere with this condition by imposing civil rules for arbitration. The Church’s arbitration agreements, as written and agreed to, must be enforced.”
Scientology contends that Federal law applies because the womens’ claims affect “interstate commerce” raising them to the Federal level, rather than the state level.
Scientology also says the women, who they claim are also Scientologists, signed away their right to take their claims to law enforcement. The organization says the four women gave “consent to be bound exclusively by the discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the Scientology religion in all matters relating to Scientology Religious Services.”
The plaintiffs, of course, say they were pressured by the church in all aspects of the situation.
The case is ongoing in California and could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.