A judge has ruled that four of five allegations of stalking and intimidation filed again Danny Masterson must be mediated within the Church of Scientology.
The case was filed last summer, alleging that Masterson and the Church of Scientology threatened and harassed four women and one of their husbands who had publicly accused the disgraced That ’70s Show actor of sexual assault. Because four of the complainants — Chrissie Carnell Bixler; her husband, At the Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala; and two Jane Does — were previously members of Scientology and signed an arbitration agreement with the Church, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled those charges must mediated by Scientology officials.
A fourth woman, Marie Bobette Riales, was never a member of the Church, and thus her suit could still go to court. The judge did not make a decision regarding that specific claim.
“This was absolutely the correct result,” said Masterson’s attorney Andrew Brettler (via NBC News). “We look forward to arbitrating the claims, as the Court directed.”
This means that Carnell Bixler, Bixler-Zavala, and the two Jane Does’ accusations will have to be heard by the very organization they’re claiming harassed them. All say “agents” of Masterson and the Church attempted to intimidate them with harassing phone calls, threats of violence, and property damage. The Bixlers in particular say individuals working for the Church of Scientology tapped the family’s cellphones and computers, poisoned their dog, slashed their cars’ tires, and threatened to release nude photos of Carnell Bixler.
The ruling arrives just days before a January 6th hearing during which Masterson is set to be arraigned on three charges of rape. The alleged assaults took place between 2001 and 2003 when the women were between the ages of 23 and 28. Masterson faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison if convicted.