(UnitedVoice.com) – The Church of Scientology is facing a new lawsuit from multiple women who say they were assaulted by actor Danny Masterson, a prominent member of the controversial religion. The plaintiffs aren’t just going after Masterson, though; they have the whole organization in their sights. According to their lawsuit, the “church” is actually a criminal enterprise that should be subjected to a RICO investigation.
On May 31 of last year, Masterson, who starred in “That 70s Show,” was convicted of two out of three charges of forcible rape and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. Since then, several more women have come forward to accuse the actor — but his membership of the Church of Scientology has also come under the spotlight.
Last June, a Los Angeles judge sanctioned Masterson’s defense attorneys, after it emerged that they’d passed confidential evidence to lawyers representing Scientology in a civil case. That evidence included the home addresses of Masterson’s victims, exposing them to potential intimidation by Scientology, which has a grim track record of bullying anyone who criticizes it or accuses its senior members of a crime.
In the new lawsuit, six women — all of whom say they were abused by Masterson between 1994 and 1996 — name the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, as defendants. The filing says Scientology, “While presenting itself outwardly as a respectable organization,” has a deliberate policy of dissuading members from reporting crimes to law enforcement — and, if any defy that policy, of “terrorizing victims [and witnesses] of its crimes… into keeping Scientology’s crimes secret.”
Scientology has been regularly accused of harassing critics for more than 60 years; founder L Ron Hubbard even allegedly ordered members to kill opponents. The current lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles District Court on December 27, names Miscavige as “the undisputed and unquestioned leader of this criminal enterprise” and accuses Scientology of covering up for Masterson despite knowing he was a rapist. The suit goes on to call for RICO charges against the organization; that might be a level of scrutiny the religion couldn’t survive.
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