Danny Masterson rape accusers silenced by Scientology, court hears
The Church of Scientology is accused of silencing Danny Masterson’s alleged victims by saying they would be ex-communicated from the organization for reporting his alleged crimes to police, a Los Angeles Court was told Tuesday.
At the opening of the trial against Masterson, prosecutors outlined his three accusers’ versions of events, including claims Scientology officials dissuaded them from going to police.
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors one of the victims – who was also a Scientologist at the time — had told senior members of the Church how Masterson, 46, allegedly raped her in 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 Christina B. understood was she couldn’t report Mr. Masterson because he was an ‘Upstat’— someone who contributes a lot to the Church.”
“She believed in Scientology. She truly believed she ‘pulled it in’ and it was not rape … She trusted the Church.”
In Scientology, the term ‘pulled it in’ refers to a bad thing which happens to someone as a result of something they did in a past life.
The prosecutor added Christina B. also was told Masterson was her “2D,” or “Second Dynamic” — a Scientology term meaning there was a personal relationship between the two — and because of that the incident was “her fault” and would not be considered rape.
Mueller said a higher ranking Church member told the alleged victim: “You can’t rape your 2D … Don’t ever say that again!”
Mueller said the two other alleged victims – known as “Jen B” and “N. Trout” and also Scientologists at the time — were told not to report the sexual assaults or they would be labeled “suppressive persons,” or someone who is ex-communicated from the Church.
None of the alleged victims knew each other until yearda after their relationships with Masterson.
During jury selection Judge Charlaine Olmedo had made clear Scientology was not on trial and the focus had to remain on whether Masterson had committed rape. However she has allowed evidence about the religion to be presented to explain context and the religion loomed large over the first day of proceedings.
Mueller told the jury he would show during the trial that the reason for each defendant’s actions and inactions were because of their system of beliefs, which differ grealty to other religious practices.
Defense attorney Philip Cohen quickly rebutted the prosecution, immediately questioning the motive and character of the alleged victims, and claiming details of their stories had changed over the years.
Cohen said despite repeated warnings from investigators, the three accusers — who have all now left Scientology — had spoken with one another and already “contaminated” the case.
“You’re going to hear that after they were ordered, instructed and admonished by Los Angeles Police Department [LAPD], these women spoke to each other, spoke to other witnesses,” Cohen said.
“I think you will hear through those conversations that these ‘themes’ start to take place.”
The defense attorney also attempted to poke holes into each of the women’s stories. He said alleged victim Christina B., Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, never told investigators about him allegedly pulling a gun on her as she was being raped – a key piece of evidence in bringing the case to trial.
Masterson, dressed in a light blue blazer and tie, remained quiet 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. had threatened to sue Masterson and noted how she had 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 the Church and her former best friend, Brie Shaffer, had worked for the actor.
She added she had grown 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-Scientologist,” Jen B. said.
“The goal of Scientology is to clear the planet. You can be reported for fraternizing with “wogs” [non-Church members].”
She then described how she had a couple of drinks at a bar with Masterson one night but suddenly started drifting in and out of consciousness when they went back to his house on September 2002.
Jen B. cried and at times struggled to speak as she recounted the moment she alleged Masterson anally penetrated her while she was barely conscious.
“I didn’t realize that’s what he was doing until the moment it happened,” Jen B. said.
“I reacted to the pain. I had never done that before. I didn’t think it would hurt so bad. Why would someone do that?
“I screamed, ‘No’ out loud. … I fell asleep and curled into a ball. I don’t remember really much but I woke up the next morning. … with a horrible headache. I was looking to see if there were condoms used. I was worried.”
After her testimony, jurors were dismissed for the day.
At that point Cohen made a motion for a mistrial claiming the prosecution’s line of questioning analyzed Scientology beyond the scope of what was allowed by court.
Judge Olmedo denied the request and pointed out Cohen himself had brought up Scientology during his opening statement, saying it was the big “elephant in the room,” but also said the Prosecution had “pushed the boundaries” of what she would allow regarding the religious discussion.
Scientology has previously said it is “inappropriate to comment on a pending criminal matter” regarding the Masterson case.
The church has also said it “has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of Scientologists – or of anyone — to law enforcement … Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land, including the reporting of crimes.”
Masterson has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He faces a prison sentence of 45 years to life if convicted. The trial continues.