Four former Church of Scientology female members who claim they were harassed and abused by the secretive church after bringing forward rape claims against actor Danny Masterson are fighting for their case to be heard in public court, not religious arbitration.

After the California Supreme Court ordered appeals judges to reconsider their decision to allow the church to rule on their claims, the 2nd District Court of Appeal reopened the case Tuesday.  

The church is accused of employing people to follow the women, photograph them, tap their phones, and hack their email and security systems. One woman claims the church left rat poison wrapped in meat on her lawn and that it killed her dog.

A judge had previously stated that Scientology has an “expressly written doctrine” that ‘not just discourages but prohibits’ people coming forward with claims of assault. This policy likely kept women silent for many years and called into question the integrity or internal process.

According to the Los Angeles Times: The civil harassment lawsuit was filed by the four women and the husband of one in 2019. However, the church claims they signed agreements to settle any claims they might have before a panel comprised of Scientologists. 

Actor Danny Masterson, 45, has been accused of rape by five women. Four have filed a civil lawsuit accusing him and the Church of Scientology of harassing them for coming forward

Five women were accused of raping Danny Masterson (45), in a civil lawsuit. Four women have filed a civil suit against him and the Church of Scientology accusing them of harassing them for coming forward

One of the women, Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, says the church killed two of her pets. In January 2020, her husband shared photos of what he said was rat poison in raw meat left in his yard

Chrissie Carnell Bixler claims that two of her pets were killed by the church. In January 2020, her husband shared photos showing what he believed to be rat poison in raw food left in his yard. 

Ex-girlfriend Bobette Riales tweeted in 2017: 'Danny Masterson repeatedly raped me. All I seek is justice and to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else as it has for some time'

In 2017, Bobette Riales, ex-girlfriend, tweeted that Dany Masterson had repeatedly raped her. All I want is justice and to stop this from ever happening again to anyone else, as it has for some while.

Masterson, who starred as a star in That 70s Show’s hit TV comedy, has been accused of rape. The civil harassment lawsuit involves four women, while three of the victims are part of a criminal trial in which Masterson faces 45 years imprisonment.

In January, a judge in a trial court ruled that the women had to submit their harassment claims to the panel of Scientologists because their arbitration agreement was final.

The appeals court sided for the trial court. However, the California Supreme Court ordered the appeals board to reconsider.

The appeals court questioned the church about its process on Tuesday and seemed to be willing to allow it to take root. One member of the appeals court suggested that plaintiffs could sue if they feel the process was biased.

Marci Hamilton, Marci’s lawyer for women, argued that the religious panel would conduct a probe’solely in accordance with Scientology cannon. 

She also stated that women are no longer part of the church and should not have to follow its rules.

According to WBRZ, Hamilton stated that “This would be traumatizing my clients.” 

A court is now deciding whether a harassment case filed by four women should proceed in public court or in private religious arbitration within the church, above in Los Angeles

A court is now deciding if a harassment case brought by four women should be tried in public court or private religious arbitration in the church.

The women say the church and Masterson, of That 70s Show fame, hired people to follow them, photograph them, tap their phones and hack their emails and home security systems

According to the women, Masterson of That 70s Show fame and the church hired people to follow them and photograph them, tap their phones, and hack their email and home security systems.

‘It would be against their First Amendment, absolute rights to believe and practice any religion they choose and to escape from the religion they do NOT want to be a member of. 

William Forman, a Scientology representative, says that a Scientology justice officer decides what evidence can go to arbitration. However, the decision can be appealed by the arbitrators who are members in good standing of the church, according to the LA Times. 

He also stated that the women in the suit are not considered’subversive’. 

The civil complaint was filed in August 2019, by Chrissie Carpenter-Bixler; Cedric Bixler Zavala, husband of Mars Volta frontman; and three women.

The harassment lawsuit, which also includes Masterson, is independent of the ongoing criminal case against Masterson. 

The actor in disgrace – who is married to actress and model Bijou Philips since 2011, is charged with raping an actress of 23 years old between January and Dec 2001, raping an actress of 28 years old in April 2003, and raping another woman of 23 years between October and December 2003. 

Much of the abuse is said to have taken place in his Hollywood Hills home

According to reports, a lot of the abuse took place in his Hollywood Hills home.

According to Indiewire Masterson was fired by Netflix’s The Ranch, where his character Ashton Kutcher was a star of That 70s Show, during the third season.

Masterson, 45 was also accused in two other cases of sexual assault, but the DA’s office said they declined charges on those for insufficient evidence or the statute of limitations. 

Scientology is famous for its high-profile celebrity members. L Ron Hubbard was interested in this. It has several ‘Celebrity Centres’, including one in Hollywood.

Bixler-Zavala (the husband of Carnell-Bixler) posted an Instagram image of raw meat that he claimed had been contaminated by rat poison and was being placed in his yard by church employees.

He said that his dog had died a day later.

‘This is the 2nd dog we’ve had to put down due to the harassment from private investigators and Scientologists. This makes us stronger. My boys named her biscuit. They still don’t understand what’s happening. We said goodbye to her, and she went peacefully. 

Carnell Bixler, who is part both of the criminal and civil proceedings, claims that Scientology officials dismissed her after she accused Masterson with anally raping Carnell.

In May, she said to the court that Masterson had been having sex in November 2001.

Accuser Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala say the church has killed pets by leaving poison wrapped in food on their lawn

Accuser Chrissie Carnell-Bixler and her husband Cedric Bixler-Zavala say the church has killed pets by leaving poison wrapped in food on their lawn

“I decided not to have sex. I fought him and told them to stop. He became angry and began to push all his weight onto my body. Carnell-Bixler replied, “I tried to push he off.”

“He refused to stop so I did something that I knew would make his furious, I pulled his hair. He has these rules….he has this thing about his hair …..and I know that if I pulled it really hard he would get off me.’

Masterson reacted violently to her words. “He hit me,” she said to the court, indicating that the man had pushed her in the cheek with an “open fist”.

Carnell-Bixler said that he finally got off her. “He stood over me, spit on my face, and called me white trash.”

She continued to describe another incident, which occurred a month later, in December 2001. This involved her and Masterson going to dinner at a restaurant. Masterson said she had drunk ‘a glass or two’ wine.

“The last thing I can remember about that night was getting up to leave. I don’t recall anything else.

Masterson has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011.  She has defended Masterson as well as her father, John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, against rape accusations

Masterson is married to Bijou Phillips, actress since 2011.  She has defended Masterson as well as her father, John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, against rape accusations

Phillips, a model and socialite in the early 2000s, mocked one of Masterson's alleged victims

Phillips, a model, and socialite in 2000, mocked Masterson.

“When I woke up the next day, I had no memories of the night before. I was confused because I didn’t have any clothes on.

“The first thing that I noticed was that my entire body and my back hurt. My rectal area was the injury. There was some blood, and I felt torn. It hurt to sit down, and it hurt to go the bathroom.

Masterson was confronted, and she said. “I asked him about last night. I don’t have any memory and my bottom has been injured.

“He laughed at me, and he said that he had sex there (the rear). I said. “Was he unconscious the whole time?” I replied.

Masterson recruited Carnell-Bixler into the Church of Scientology. She said that she reported the alleged anal-rape to Church of Scientology officials Miranda, Chris Scoggins and others.

‘I told Miranda “He raped me.” She told me, “You can’t rape someone you’re in a relationship with.” “Don’t use the word rape in any other context.”

Carnell Bixler claimed that Scientology officials told Carnell Bixler to keep the incident to herself from outsiders, making her afraid that she could be considered a’suppressive’ person.

“That means that other Scientologists could lie to them or trick them, and eventually destroy them.”

Another victim, named only as N. Trout, said the Scientologist actor ‘commanded’ her to come to his Hollywood Hills home where he allegedly raped her in the shower, then moved to his bed where he sexually ‘pounded’ her from behind, ‘like a jackhammer.’

“I started to vomit… I get ravaged, almost like a ragdoll. It was very rough sex. I was not in charge of all my faculties…I was spent.’

The church, known for courting known members, has a 'Celebrity Centre' in Hollywood, above

The church is well-known for its reputation for courting famous members.

One of the actor's accusers says she was 'ravaged, like a rag doll' by his 'very rough sex'

One of the actor’s accusers said that she was ‘ravaged, as a rag doll’ from his’very rough’ sex.

She said Masterson ejaculated on her stomach then, ‘trying to act like a gentleman,’ wiped it off with a wet towel.

Trout ran into Masterson at an event five years later and when she said hi, he didn’t respond. “He was staring at my with a death stare. He seemed to want to kill me.

She said she did not report the alleged sexual assault to the Church of Scientology. ‘Because I knew I would be in trouble……I had been told previously that you don’t report another Scientologist.

‘You mustn’t do that or you will lose everything…You are excommunicated and you will lose everything.’ 

Michael A. Helfand, a religious arbitration expert and law professor, told the LA Times that the appeals court appeared to be inclined to send the harassment case to religious arbitration again.

He stated that ‘I believe the court has an intuitive sense that something is wrong with this arbitration’. The court was not able, however, to distinguish this form of arbitration from other forms of permissible arbitration because the plaintiffs’ attorneys ‘didn’t provide an adequate way for the court.

He stated that the arbitration agreement is ambiguous because members must be in good standing’ with church. This vague description can be interpreted in many different ways. 

Phillips has stood by Masterson amid the many rape allegations. Phillips even took to Instagram for ridicule of Carnell-Bixler’s claims Scientologists had her dogs shot.

Phillips also supported her father, John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, against incest and sexual abuse claims by her sister Mackenzie Phillips.