Danny Masterson, Church of Scientology Sued for Stalking, Conspiracy to Cover Up Sexual Assaults
Four women say they were stalked and harassed after filing reports with the LAPD. Masterson says his ex-girlfriend is "railroading him" and he'll sue anyone who jumps on her bandwagon.
Four women have sued Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology claiming they were stalked and intimidated after they filed reports.
Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Marie Riales and two Jane Does on Wednesday filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming the defendants harassed them and their families in an effort to silence and intimidate them. (Bixler's husband is also a plaintiff.)
The actor was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch and dropped by UTA in 2017 after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating sexual assault allegations from multiple women. At the time, he denied the allegations and asserted that any sexual encounters were consensual.
On Wednesday, Masterson sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in response to the lawsuit calling it "beyond ridiculous."
“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," he said, presumably of Bixler. "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. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”
According to the complaint, Scientology forbids its members from contacting police to report a crime committed by any of its other members. The plaintiffs also allege that the phones in certain church facilities are incapable of dialing 911, and victims are generally blamed for any sexual assaults.
"Historically, when a member has complained of suffering sexual abuse, this disclosure has resulted in the member being forced to confront or apologize to his or her abuser and undergo a program to identify what 'pulled in' the abuse," states the complaint.
Bixler claims she met Masterson at a party in 1996, and they started dating and eventually moved into a house together with the actor's younger siblings. She says he would regularly force her to have sex with him and became violent if she refused. Bixler says she joined the church under his orders and was told it was part of her job as his girlfriend "to give him sex whenever he wants it." About six years later, Bixler reported to the church that Masterson had sex with her while she was unconscious and she was told not to use the word "rape" because "you can't be raped by someone you are in a consensual relationship with." Bixler says she broke up with Masterson in 2002 and was forced to sign a document saying she would never speak publicly about their relationship or sue him. She left the church in 2016 and filed a sexual assault report with the LAPD. Afterward, she claims her car was broken into, people parked in vans outside her home and filmed her family and her security system was hacked multiple times. Bixler also says people have targeted her on social media, subjected her to fraudulent credit schemes, posted ads on Craigslist soliciting sex and threatened to release nude photos of her.
Jane Doe #1 says in 2002 and 2003 she was assaulted by Masterson multiple times while intoxicated and unable to consent to having sex. She says someone else witnessed part of the assault and reported it to the church. After she reported it personally, she was told it was a high crime to report anything criminal about a fellow Scientologist and later was forced to sit in a room alone with Masterson to "clear the air." She says she reported the rape to the LAPD in 2004. Her accounts of surveillance and stalking began after she met Bixler and reported the assault to the police a second time.
Riales claims she and Masterson began dating in 2002, but she never joined Scientology. She alleges she would often black out after he served her drinks and she believes he drugged her in order to sexually assault her. Riales filed a report with the LAPD in 2017 and says her food truck was vandalized, a window in her home was shattered in the middle of the night, she witnessed strangers taking photos of her and someone threatened to murder her.
Jane Doe #2 says she was served a drink, became intoxicated "at a far faster rate than she had ever experienced" and was assaulted by Masterson while unable to consent to sex. She had been a member of the church since childhood, but left in 2004. She filed a report with the LAPD in 2017 and says she was harassed on social media, her car was vandalized and fraudulent purchases were made from her bank accounts.
The women say they feared for their safety and suffered substantial emotional distress because they were placed under surveillance and harassed after filing reports with the LAPD.
William Forman, litigation counsel to The Church of Scientology, on Wednesday night sent THR this statement in response to the lawsuit: "From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It's a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam."
THR reported that the accusations against Masterson, including footage of interviews with two of the accusers, will be included in the two-hour series finale special for Remini's Scientology and the Aftermath.
Aug. 14 8:17 p.m. Updated with a statement from The Church of Scientology.
Aug. 15 6:30 a.m. Updated with Aftermath details.