Judge rules Danny Masterson stalking and intimidation cases must go through Scientology mediation

A judge has ruled that the stalking and intimidation cases brought by three women and one man against That 70s Show actor Danny Masterson must go through mediation within the Church of Scientology.

This is because the accusers, when members of the Church, signed an agreement that requires disputes to be handled by the Church, not the courts, Variety reported.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield said on Wednesday that the agreement is binding and, therefore, the complaints have to go into ‘religious arbitration.’ 

The women claim that, after they went to the police between late 2016 and early 2017 accusing Masterson of sexual assault, ‘agents’ of the Church terrorized them with harassing phone calls, property damage and threats of violence. 

It comes just days before Masterson’s scheduled arraignment on January 6 on three charges of rape from January 2001 to April 2003. 

A lawsuit was brought against actor Danny Masterson by Chrissie Carnell-Bixler; her husband, Cedric Bixler-Zavala; Marie Bobette Riales; and two Jane Does. Pictured: Masterson at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

A lawsuit was brought against actor Danny Masterson by Chrissie Carnell-Bixler; her husband, Cedric Bixler-Zavala; Marie Bobette Riales; and two Jane Does. Pictured: Masterson at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

A lawsuit was brought against actor Danny Masterson by Chrissie Carnell-Bixler; her husband, Cedric Bixler-Zavala; Marie Bobette Riales; and two Jane Does. Pictured: Masterson at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

The women say they were harassed by 'agents' of the Church of Scientology after they filed police reports accusing Masterson of rape. Pictured; Masterson (right) and Carnell-Bixler when they were dating in the early 2000s

The women say they were harassed by 'agents' of the Church of Scientology after they filed police reports accusing Masterson of rape. Pictured; Masterson (right) and Carnell-Bixler when they were dating in the early 2000s

The women say they were harassed by ‘agents’ of the Church of Scientology after they filed police reports accusing Masterson of rape. Pictured; Masterson (right) and Carnell-Bixler when they were dating in the early 2000s

Carnell-Bixler and her husband claim their dogs were poisoned while the two Jane Does allege stalking and destroying property. Pictured: Masterson (left) and Riales at Entertainment Weekly's 2nd Annual It List Party in New York, June 2003

Carnell-Bixler and her husband claim their dogs were poisoned while the two Jane Does allege stalking and destroying property. Pictured: Masterson (left) and Riales at Entertainment Weekly's 2nd Annual It List Party in New York, June 2003

Carnell-Bixler and her husband claim their dogs were poisoned while the two Jane Does allege stalking and destroying property. Pictured: Masterson (left) and Riales at Entertainment Weekly’s 2nd Annual It List Party in New York, June 2003

The civil complaint was filed in August 2019 by Chrissie Carnell-Bixler; her husband, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, frontman of Mars Volta; and two Jane Does.

Carnell-Bixler accused Masterson of sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions between 2001 and 2002, while they were dating.

After she went to the police with her allegations, she and her husband claim agents of the Church and Masterson repeatedly tried to terrify them.

Among the methods they allegedly used include assaulting them with cars, harassing them on he phone and poisoning their dogs.

‘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,’ Masterson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

‘I will beat her in court – and look forward to it because the public will finally be able [to] learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman.’

The first Jane Doe says that after she reported her rape to police, the agents threatened her with violence and damaged her property.

The second Jane Doe alleges stalking and emotional distress after filing a report of her sexual assault. 

Masterson’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, praised the judge’s decision, in a statement.  

‘This was absolutely the correct result. We look forward to arbitrating the claims, as the Court directed,’ he said, according to Variety. 

The court’s decision did not impact claims made by Marie Bobette Riales, who is part of the August 2019 lawsuit, because she was not a member of the Church and is therefore not subject to the arbitration agreement. 

A judge will decide at a later date if her claims warrant a trial.   

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the cases brought by the Bixlers and Jane Does must go through 'religious arbitration' within the Church of Scientology. Pictured:  Masterson (left) stands with his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, during an arraignment at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the cases brought by the Bixlers and Jane Does must go through 'religious arbitration' within the Church of Scientology. Pictured:  Masterson (left) stands with his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, during an arraignment at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that the cases brought by the Bixlers and Jane Does must go through ‘religious arbitration’ within the Church of Scientology. Pictured:  Masterson (left) stands with his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, during an arraignment at Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2020

This is because, when members of the Church, they signed an agreement hat requires disputes to be handled by the Church, not the courts. Pictured: Masterson, September 2017

This is because, when members of the Church, they signed an agreement hat requires disputes to be handled by the Church, not the courts. Pictured: Masterson, September 2017

The judge's ruling does not affect Riales, who was never a member of the Church, and the court will decide at a later date if her case should go to trial. Pictured: Masterson, May 2017

The judge's ruling does not affect Riales, who was never a member of the Church, and the court will decide at a later date if her case should go to trial. Pictured: Masterson, May 2017

This is because, when members of the Church, they signed an agreement hat requires disputes to be handled by the Church, not the courts. The judge’s ruling does not affect Riales, who was never a member of the Church, and the court will decide at a later date if her case should go to trial. Pictured, left and right: Masterson

Masterson's will still face an arraignment on January 6 on three separate charges of rape alleged to have occurred from January 2001 to April 2003. Pictured; Masterson as Hyde on That 70s Show

Masterson's will still face an arraignment on January 6 on three separate charges of rape alleged to have occurred from January 2001 to April 2003. Pictured; Masterson as Hyde on That 70s Show

Masterson’s will still face an arraignment on January 6 on three separate charges of rape alleged to have occurred from January 2001 to April 2003. Pictured; Masterson as Hyde on That 70s Show

Additionally, the ruling does not affect Masterson’s charges of criminal rape by force or fear brought by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey earlier this year.

He is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001 and another 23-year-old women in 2003 as well as a 28-year-old woman the same year.  

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division says all three women allege the rapes occurred in Masterson’s home in Hollywood Hills.

After the accusations were made public in 2017, Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch. 

If convicted, Masterson faces a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison, according to an official release.

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