Mar 6, 2017

Church of Scientology accused of covering up sexual assault allegations against That 70's Show's Danny Masterson

Danny Masterson
Sadaf Ahsan
National Post
March 6, 2017

Danny Masterson, who previously starred as Hyde on That 70’s Show and now stars in The Ranch on Netflix, just happens to be a Scientologist. Why is this relevant? Because over the weekend, the actor was accused of sexual assault, and the Church of Scientology was also accused of covering it up to protect the actor.

Los Angeles police have been investigating Masterson and the assault allegations, though have not addressed the church’s possible involvement.

A statement from the LAPD read, “The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson. Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000’s.”

The allegations first came to light by former Village Voice writer and current Scientology reporter Tony Ortega on his website The Underground Bunker on Friday.

Based on his findings, including multiple photocopied police reports, Ortega claims Masterson is being investigated for “at least three alleged cases of rape or sodomy of women who were also Scientologists and who claim they were pressured by the Church of Scientology not to contact police or go public with their accusations.”

Ortega says actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini and her A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath are the reasons these alleged victims felt encouraged to now come forward.

In her show, Remini explained that the Church will often go to great lengths to protect its celebrity followers, while former members she spoke to explained numerous instances of sexual, physical and verbal abuse they experienced from fellow members or Church leaders in their time there.

Ortega says Remini spoke directly with the victims after they confided in her, and she encouraged them to file police reports. However, several months went by without action causing victims to feel as though the LAPD did not pursue the case adequately. In a letter to the head of the police department, one of the victims said that she felt the police had been “compromised” by the church.

She explained that when she spoke to church officials about what had happened, they instructed her not to go to the police and “punished” her for pursuing it.

“They threatened me that if I ever told anyone or reported him to the police that I would be declared a ‘suppressive person’ and lose everything and everyone,” she wrote in her message, according to The Underground Bunker. “Then they put me on a massive ethics program as punishment. My rapist was not punished at all. They didn’t even call him to talk about it.”

As news of the allegations began to circulate over the weekend, Masterson’s rep sent out a statement, not only naming the alleged victim but directly accusing Remini of pushing “false allegations.”

The statement reads:

“We are aware of (the alleged victim’s) 16-year-old allegations. It was only after (the alleged victim) was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson. The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their 6 year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend. Significantly, during their long relationship she made numerous inconsistent claims that she was previously raped by at least 3 other famous actors and musicians.

When Danny ended the relationship she continued to pursue him, even making threats to beat up his current wife Bijou Phillips unless she left him. In fact, we are informed by the Church that the only demand (the alleged victim) made of the Church after Danny broke up with her was asking for their help to intervene so the breakup would not be permanent.

We are aware also that approximately 14 years ago a woman referred to in the blog made allegations of sexual assault that the LADP interviewed numerous witnesses and determined the claim had no merit. Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since (the alleged victim) only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.”

Both Remini and the church have yet to comment on the allegations.

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