A Los Angeles judge has made a ruling on the forum in which Danny Masterson‘s rape accusers can be heard — and it sounds like things are going to stick very closely to the Church of Scientology.
On Wednesday, December 30, a Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that the woman who have accused the former sitcom star of rape are bound by their written agreement to resolve disputes fully within the bounds of the church. And it could seriously affect the future of their accusations and how they’re handled going forward.
According to TMZ, the new court order centers on a written agreement that accuser Chrissie Carnell Bixler and her husband, Mars Volta singer Cedrick Bixler-Zavala along with another accuser had long since entered with the Church of Scientology. The written agreement requires that “any dispute, claim, or controversy” that arises must be resolved by the church and within the church, instead of by the courts.
The blow to the accusers comes from the LA County court, which has now ruled that this agreement is binding, and they must resolve their dispute with Masterson within the bounds of the church. That means, according to the document itself, that the accusations require them to “use Scientology internal Ethics, Justice, and binding religious arbitration procedures” to resolve the accusations, rather than a (public) American court of law.
Further, the arbitration clause in the document they all apparently signed goes on to add that these issues will be resolved via (below):
“…application to senior ecclesiastical bodies, including, as necessary, final submission of the dispute to the international justice Chief of the Mother Church of the Scientology religion.”
Obviously, for accusers hoping to get a third-party look at the case, being legally bound to resolve it only within church grounds is a serious blow. As TMZ has reported, Bixler and at least three other women who have alleged Masterson sexually assaulted them all have also claimed that the Church of Scientology has attempted to follow and silence them after the fact.
The women first filed their suit in August 2019, and for a while it looked as though it was going to go to court — at least, right up until this decision.
It’s interesting, too; while Masterson continues to repeatedly deny the rape allegations against him, TMZ reports the recent court order says he has agreed to the church’s arbitration… yeah, of course!
[Image via DJDM/WENN]