The four women who accused “That 70’s Show” star Danny Masterson of rape, also brought charges of stalking and intimidation against the actor and the Church of Scientology.
Agents of the church reportedly harassed the women after they made the accusations against the actor, which is the type of behavior that the church is notorious for.
Any critics of the church or its members quickly find themselves the target of harassment and intimidation by the agents of the church.
Now, a judge has ruled that the victims must settle privately with the Church of Scientology, since all of the victims, except for one, were also members of the church.
The ruling comes just days before Masterson’s scheduled arraignment on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003. In early November, that hearing was set for Jan 6.
3 of the 4 women who have accused Danny Masterson of rape & Scientology of harassing them in a suit have been dealt a blow by a judge
The women, who were Scientology members, will have to resolve this in religious arbitration. Who will the arbitrator be? A Scientologist pic.twitter.com/pHW7LGd5CU
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) December 31, 2020
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled that the harassment complaint from Chrissie Carnell Bixler, her husband, musician Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Marie Bobette Riales, and two Jane Does must be settled by the Church in “religious arbitration,” since an arbitration agreement already exists between the parties that compels disputes to be handled by the Church of Scientology, according to NBC News.
The August 2019 lawsuit says that the women were stalked and intimidated by members of the church after going public with their allegations against Masterson. Agents of the church reportedly went so far as to poison one of the victim’s dogs.
Masterson’s attorney Andrew Brettler said, “This was absolutely the correct result. We look forward to arbitrating the claims, as the Court directed.”
In March 2017, four women filed sexual assault allegations against Masterson, sparking an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Through his agent, Masterson 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.”
A fifth woman who dated Masterson made similar rape accusations in December 2017.
He was dropped as a client by United Talent Agency.
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. The episode eventually aired on August 27, 2019.
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.