Rape accuser silenced by Scientology’s Danny Masterson, court hears
The Church of Scientology is accused of silencing Danny Masterson’s alleged victims by saying they would be excommunicated by the organization for reporting his alleged crimes to police, a Los Angeles court said Tuesday.
At the opening of Masterson’s trial, prosecutors outlined his three accusers’ versions of events, including claims that Scientology officials discouraged them from going to the police.
Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors one of the victims – also a Scientologist at the time – told senior church members how 46-year-old Masterson allegedly raped her at his home in 2001, but was told to keep quiet.
Using her court-appointed name to hide her true identity, he said: “One of the things that Christina B. understood was that she couldn’t report Mr. Masterson because he was an ‘upstat’ – someone who who contributes much to the Church.”
“She believed in Scientology. She genuinely believed she ‘collected’ it and it wasn’t rape… She trusted the church.”
In Scientology, the term “drawn in” refers to a bad thing that happens to someone as a result of something they did in a previous life.
The prosecutor added that Christina B. was also told Masterson was her “2D” or “Second Dynamic” — a Scientology term meaning there was a personal relationship between the two — and therefore the incident was “hers.” fault” and would not be considered rape.
Mueller said a senior member of the church told the alleged victim, “You can’t rape your 2D…Never say that again!”
Mueller said the other two alleged victims – known as “Jen B” and “N. Trout,” and then Scientologists as well — were told not to report the sexual assaults or they would be labeled “suppressive persons” or someone who was excommunicated from the church.
None of the alleged victims knew each other until yearda after their relationship with Masterson.
During jury selection, Judge Charlaine Olmedo made it clear that Scientology was not on trial and that the focus should be whether Masterson committed rape. However, she has allowed evidence about religion to be presented to explain the context, and religion figured prominently on the first day of the trial.
Mueller told the jury he would show during the trial that the reason for each defendant’s actions and inactions was his belief system, which differed greatly from other religious practices.
Defense attorney Philip Cohen was quick to rebut the charges, immediately questioning the motive and character of the alleged victims and claiming details of their stories have changed over the years.
Cohen said despite repeated warnings from investigators, the three accusers – who have all since left Scientology – had spoken to each other and had already “contaminated” the case.
“This is what you will hear after being directed, directed and admonished by the Los Angeles Police Department [LAPD]these women were talking to each other, talking to other witnesses,” Cohen said.
“I think you’re going to hear through these conversations that these ‘issues’ are starting to take place.”
The defense attorney also tried to poke holes in the women’s stories. He said alleged victim Christina B., Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, never told investigators he allegedly drew a gun on her when she was raped — key evidence to bring the case to court.
Masterson, dressed in a light blue blazer and tie, remained calm throughout the day’s testimony.
A few feet behind him sat his family, including wife and actress Bijou Phillips, his brothers “Malcom In The Middle” star Christopher and Jordan Masterson.
Cohen also said alleged accuser Jen B. threatened to sue Masterson, noting how she previously accepted a settlement and signed a non-disclosure agreement with him.
Jen B., the first witness to take the stand, said she knew Masterson from church and that her former best friend Brie Shaffer worked for the actor.
She added that she grew up around Masterson and other Scientologists, including Luke Watson, Lisa Marie Presley and actor Giovanni Ribisi.
“Growing up in Scientology, there are policies about non-Scientologists,” said Jen B.
“The goal of Scientology is to cleanse the planet. You can be reported for fraternizing with wogs [non-Church members].”
She then described how she had a few drinks at a bar with Masterson one night, but suddenly began to drift in and out of consciousness when they returned to his home in September 2002.
Jen B. cried and sometimes struggled to speak as she recounted the moment she claimed Masterson penetrated her anally while she was barely conscious.
“I didn’t realize he was doing this until it happened,” Jen B said.
“I responded to the pain. I had never done that before. I didn’t think it would hurt so much. Why would anyone do that?
“I yelled ‘no’ out loud. … I fell asleep and curled up in a ball. I don’t really remember much, but I woke up the next morning. … with a terrible headache. I checked to see if condoms were used. I was worried.”
According to her testimony, the jury was released for the day.
At this point, Cohen filed a mistrial motion, alleging that the prosecutor’s line of questioning analyzed Scientology beyond the scope of what the court allowed.
Judge Olmedo denied the motion, noting that Cohen himself had addressed Scientology in his opening statement, saying it was the big “elephant in the room,” but also saying prosecutors had “pushed the boundaries of what.” they would allow discussion in terms of religiosity.
Scientology has previously said it was “inappropriate to comment on a pending criminal case” in the Masterson case.
The church has also said that it has “no policy prohibiting or preventing members from reporting criminal behavior by Scientologists — or anyone — to law enforcement… Church policies specifically require that Scientologists comply with all laws of the country.” including reporting crimes.”
Masterson has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he faces a life sentence of 45 years. The process goes on.