How the Church of Scientology Went After Danny Masterson’s Rape Accusers
The Daily Beast has obtained two letters from the mother of one of the actor’s rape accusers sent to Scientology officials that detail what her daughter allegedly went through.
In March 2017, journalist Tony Ortega reported that the actor and Scientologist Danny Masterson was being investigated by the LAPD on multiple counts of sexual assault.
Ortega’s bombshell story referenced a Victim B, who filed a report with the LAPD in 2004 claiming that Masterson sexually assaulted her in 2003. A copy of Victim B’s report alleges that, “The victim woke up while the suspect was having sex with her and struggled with him. The suspect choked the victim until she passed out.” Masterson has vehemently denied the allegations.
While Masterson was eventually fired from Netflix’s The Ranch in response to the sexual-assault allegations and subsequent controversy, the case against him is ongoing. In a November 2017 report, Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali wrote that the investigation “has inexplicably stalled.” Citing five sources “inside and outside the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office,” Ali reported that there were four accusers involved in the case, and that, “At least three of the women who have accused him of rape were also Scientologists and reported the incidents to the Church of Scientology at the time.”
“One of Masterson’s accusers filed a police report in 2004 saying that she was raped in 2003, but the case didn’t move forward after the Church of Scientology intervened and submitted over 50 affidavits from Scientologists who denied the woman’s account,” Ali continued, seemingly referring to Victim B. “In April 2017, police referred the case to the district attorney. Since then, the district attorney’s office has examined the evidence turned over by LAPD and conducted its own investigation. Despite compelling―what one law enforcement source described as ‘overwhelming’—evidence, the charges have not been approved for filing. The evidence includes audiotapes, emails sent to and from Scientology officers at the time the alleged rapes happened, forensic computer evidence and a threatening handwritten letter Masterson sent to one of the alleged victims.”
The Daily Beast has obtained copies of two of these letters addressed to Scientology officials, which were written by the mother of Victim B. The letters were also submitted to the LAPD, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter and emails reviewed by The Daily Beast.
A source close to the family of Victim B confirmed with The Daily Beast that they saw these letters at the time, saying that they “were handed them to proofread” and that they were “involved” in delivering both of the letters by hand, so as to ensure that they reached their desired recipients without interference.
The first letter is dated January 26, 2004, and is addressed to a Tammy Wilkoff; the address given is for the Religious Technology Center, a non-profit religious corporation that oversees the trademarks of Dianetics and Scientology. The RTC also controls Scientology’s Knowledge Reports (KR)—essentially a way for Scientologists to submit information about another Scientologist without confronting them face-to-face.
The second letter is dated March 11, 2004, and was addressed to David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology. The source close to the family confirmed that they helped to personally deliver that letter to “one of Miscavige’s Sea Org security guards at the headquarters.”
In the letters, the mother of Victim B referenced a Knowledge Report that she wrote on December 7, 2003. The source told The Daily Beast that this report was the result of the mother’s anger at the Church’s non-response to her daughter’s sexual-assault allegation. The mother cc’d a number of people in the report, including Danny Masterson. After the report, a Non-Enturbulation Order—the last step before declaring someone a “Suppressive Person,” thereby evicting them from the Church—was issued against the daughter. The mother referred to this Non-Enturbulation Order throughout her correspondences, at one point alleging that its purpose was “to suppress the data on the crime.”
Victim’s B mother wrote to Wilkoff to detail the alleged assault, and to express her frustration with the way that the Church was handling the case. According to the source, the mother blamed the Celebrity Centre: “In her mind, she believed that they were singlehandedly dealing with it and making these decisions, and that maybe management didn’t know.” In the letter, the mother claimed that an official “from CCI [Celebrity Centre International] called after I wrote a report dated December 7, 2003, and said she wanted to interview me for a 3P invest [third-party investigation]. She told me that she told everyone involved to stop talking about it until it all gets sorted out.” Later, she added, “I was the last to be interviewed on December 18th 2003 I never heard from her again or anyone else for that manner.”
She further expressed her belief that Scientology’s Celebrity Centre International “is not able to standardly handle this cycle because 1) It is CC’s celeb public that the ‘rules’ get broken for…5) The responsible Execs in charge of this area allow these out tech 3P invests to continue as a tool to shut people up and make their public ‘happy.’ We will all pay for this.’”
In the second letter, addressed to Miscavige, the victim’s mother included the January letter to Wilkoff, and offered an overview of the situation. In this letter, she stated her daughter’s allegation that she “was raped last year” and disclosed it to Advanced Organization (AO). “She went into session and disclosed to her auditor at AO…All this happened prior to November of last year. Nothing was done no one asked any questions.”
But after she wrote the December report, she claimed, everything changed. Her daughter received the Non-Enturbulation Order “and has been being sec checked ever since. it has been almost three months of sec checks and she is on her 3rd intensive.” A sec check, aka security check, is a form of Scientology auditing that can be quite costly—the source close to the family told The Daily Beast that the alleged victim spent over $25,000 on auditing “intensives,” first at Advanced Organization and then at the Celebrity Centre.
When presented with the letters’ allegations, Masterson provided The Daily Beast with a lengthy statement through the law firm of Lavely & Singer that read in part: “There is no new evidence. The ‘documents’ Ms. Zimmerman refers to were created by the mother of the woman who made these allegations against Danny Masterson…The LAPD has all of this this information and twice now has thoroughly investigated these claims, which Danny has disputed and denied from day one. Danny has been extremely cooperative with law enforcement throughout their investigation because he has absolutely nothing to hide. While his accusers have been squawking for more than a year about the so-called ‘mountains of evidence’ against him, Danny has never been charged with a crime—let alone convicted of one.”
The letter to Wilkoff at the Religious Technology Center directly addresses the events of the night of the alleged assault. It cites an alleged 4/25/03 Knowledge Report from Brie Shaffer, Masterson’s then-assistant (and the current wife of actor/Scientologist Michael Peña), who wrote up her account the morning after. Writing about “last night,” Shaffer allegedly recalled waking up at 4 a.m. at her house, and being worried because Victim B was supposed to have slept over. “Last I heard she was being dropped off at Danny’s house to get a ride with Luke Watson to my house,” Shaffer wrote, as quoted by the mother of Victim B. She drove to Danny’s house, and Watson, a friend of Masterson’s, allegedly came down to speak to her: “When I asked where [Victim B] was he told me she had gotten extremely drunk and felt sick, that last he saw of Danny and [Victim B] was that Danny was going to take [Victim B] to throw up.” (Shaffer and Watson did not respond to requests for comment.)
Weaving in various reports with what she claims her daughter told her about that night, the mother interjected, “Another interesting point is that per [Victim B] she had not drank that evening when she found out that she did not have a ride and was not spending the night she asked Danny for a drink and he fixed it for her. She only remembers that one drink being given [to] her.”
This account was corroborated by an attendee at the party that night, who asked to remain anonymous. They told The Daily Beast that, “When I first saw [Victim B] at Danny’s she was totally normal, totally fine.” In a longer report that they wrote up and submitted to the LAPD and D.A.’s office, they recalled, “[Victim B] had only had one drink and although I did not see him make it, she clearly remembers that [Danny] made her a drink in a red cup and she drank part of it before he shoved her into the Jacuzzi.” The statement continued, “I was irritated toward Danny that he have done that to her…Danny picked her up and begin to bring her inside and upstairs I remember she was resisting but she just seemed a bit drunk and out of it at that point.”
The source believed that Victim B was in good hands with Masterson, who was attempting to help sober her up or, in Scientology vernacular, “control” her. In the statement, they wrote, “At some point about an hour or an hour and a half later I recall seeing [Victim B], who came up to me…and she said, ‘Oh my God Danny just raped me.’ Her hair was still a bit wet and she had bare feet. I remember feeling shocked and then Luke saying ‘no that’s not what happened!’…I remember trying to help her as well get some water in the kitchen and she was sort of was stumbling around and Luke and Danny wanting to get her back upstairs…They didn’t want me to interfere though and I remember thinking that they would get her back upstairs and she would sleep it off and be better.”
They told The Daily Beast that, “Rape never would have even come to mind, even though she had said that…what made sense to me was that somebody gave her something at the club and she had a bad reaction to it, and Danny and Luke were just trying to help her.”
The statement continued, “This all happened very fast but Danny had her by the waist and was dragging her back upstairs she was screaming and yelling at him, ‘Get the fuck off me! Get the fuck off me!’ and cursing at him. I Remember kind of yelling up toward her, ‘It’s okay. Calm down, he’s going to take care of you.’”
The source shared that they tried to call Victim B multiple times the next day to see if she was feeling better. They told The Daily Beast that, “The following day—it was either two or three days after—I got a call that I needed to get a ‘reality factor’ at the Celebrity Centre,” meaning they would be filled in on important info.
They recalled that the conversation with a Scientology official was very brief. “I was just told, this is about [Victim B], because you were at the party, and she’s OK—she’s being handled. The way that she was presenting it was that [Victim B] had been out ethics [not obeying the rules of Scientology], that she was drunk.” Asked to explain what he believed was meant by “handled,” the source continued, “That meant that she had pulled in something that caused her to pull in getting drunk and getting drugged at a club,” which would probably be explored and dealt with through “hours and hours of sec check auditing.”
“The word ‘rape’ was never even a remote possibility,” they concluded. “Because that’s what they told me. She’s being handled and that’s that. When you’re given R factors on situations, you never question that.”
According to the source close to the family, Victim B’s mother wrote to Miscavige after coming across a “handwritten report”—a summary of a March 2004 security check session with Danny Masterson. According to the source, during this specific process, those named in the reports received a copy, “so that report was brought home by the daughter and left in the home office.” When the mother came across the report “she was very angry and upset.”
The mother of Victim B wrote, “Per Danny she was very drunk…Per Danny she hit him while in the shower” and “Per Danny she was all of a sudden sober because he showered her so therefore it was all of a sudden ok to have his way with her.”
The letter continued, “Per Danny when he returned to his bed she made her ‘move’ on him not the other way around…Per Danny while he was on top of her she shoved a pillow at his face. Per Danny he smothered her with that pillow. (He could have killed her, again.) Per Danny she grabbed him by his throat. Per Danny he strangled her by her throat. (He could have killed her.) Per Danny she was grabbing things off the end table. Per Danny he asked why she was doing this and she said she was going to hit him with them. Per Danny he grabbed both her hands and restrained her. Per Danny he told her not to tell others about this. Per Danny he did all of the above while have sex on top of her. Per Danny this was the best sex he ever had.”
“Per Danny he did all of the above to her because he interpreted her violent actions towards him as an INVITATION and REQUEST to have it done to her not as an act of self-defense,” the mother noted. “Per Danny they had aggressive sex 9 months earlier…per [Victim B] the only aggressive thing that happen earlier was when Danny tried to sodomize her and she made him stop which she had to go to the doctor to handle things.”
Apparently, Victim B and her family had a beach vacation planned for shortly after the alleged assault. “We all noticed the multiple bruises on [Victim B],” her mother wrote. “The thing that struck me the most was that the back of [Victim B]’s hand was full of bruises she claimed she fell on her hand.”
Addressing Miscavige, the mother of Victim B expressed outrage at CCI’s handling of the case, which allegedly included a plan to put Masterson and [Victim B] in a room together “because Danny wants to talk to her.”
“I do not know what to say,” she continued. “[Victim B] could be dead today and we could all be confronting the fact that a Scientologist murdered another during a bazaar [sic] sex ritual. The media would have a field day with this.” She deplored the celebrity double standard at play, saying that her daughter had been “called a liar and under the threat of com ev and expulsions for months” and was now being pressured to meet with her accused rapist, presumably for his benefit. “Where is the Justice code?” she asked. “Celebs are exempt from these codes?”
The source close to the family explained the severity of the Non-Enturbulation Order against Victim B, and how it may have discouraged her from speaking out or reporting to the police. If she were pushed out of the Church, they explained, “She couldn’t have her friends, her parents couldn’t have her in their home…Going to the authorities is the highest crime you can commit. That means instant expulsion.” The source told The Daily Beast that the letter to Miscavige did yield results—the Non-Enturbulation Order was lifted later that month, and Victim B received further auditing at no cost, which is “unheard of.”
Leah Remini, who, according to the Ortega report, helped encourage the LAPD to reopen Victim B’s case, told The Daily Beast that, “I have seen [the documents] and believe these are 100 percent authentic.” She continued, “These match exactly everything I learned in Scientology and are consistent with my understanding and experience about how Scientology treats victims of crimes. I believe that there are many more documents contained in Scientology files that are required to be kept by Scientology. Those documents would support every aspect of what these victims recounted.” (The LAPD did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
The Church of Scientology has denied playing any sort of role in silencing Masterson’s accuser, releasing the following statement to The Daily Beast: “The Church adamantly denies that it ever ignores any allegations of criminal behavior, especially at the expense of alleged victims. What is being stated is utterly untrue. This has nothing to do with religion. This story is being manipulated to push a bigoted agenda. The Church follows all laws and cooperates with law enforcement. Any statement or implication to the contrary is false.”
While the mother of Victim B was clearly outraged by her daughter’s treatment, she also stated that she was afraid of what Masterson might do in the future. She cited the alleged sexual assault of Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, multiple times in her letters—allegations that Masterson has denied.
In the January letter, she wrote that she recently learned that Bixler “was very upset with Danny because she somehow got very drunk and Danny sodomized her. Did CCI know about this when it happened and what did they do about it.” She added, “Danny needs to make it up to Chrissie and all those that failed to report and invalidated her behind her should make amends to her.”
Bixler told The Daily Beast in a statement that she started reaching out to the Church of Scientology over the summer of 2016, when she “emailed the ethics officer at Celebrity Centre asking what handling or help Danny ever received after I reported him for raping me. The ethics officer informed me she would get back to me. She never did.” Bixler says that when a mutual friend put her in touch with Victim B almost two years ago, Victim B revealed to her that she had known about Bixler’s alleged sexual assault. “I went into a complete state of shock,” Bixler recalled. “I had only told the ethics officer and the chaplain, as it was made very clear to me what would happen to me if I told anyone about the rape.”
Bixler continued, “I was told by the church that I couldn’t go to the authorities for two reasons. 1) I was in a consensual relationship with Danny so it’s not a crime, and 2) because it’s a high crime in Scientology to report another Scientologist to the authorities.” Bixler filed a police report in December of 2016. She told The Daily Beast that, “I felt deep hurt knowing that had I gone to the police after it happened, that even though the Church would have destroyed me, maybe he wouldn’t have hurt anyone after me.” Responding to Bixler’s allegations, the Church issued the following statement to The Daily Beast: “The Church adamantly denies the implication it would ignore the criminal behavior of certain members, especially at the expense of alleged victims. What is being stated is utterly untrue. This has nothing to do with religion. This story is being manipulated to push a bigoted agenda. The Church follows all laws and cooperates with law enforcement. Any statement or implication to the contrary is false.”
Having never seen these letters before, Bixler says she was extremely disturbed after reading the passages pertaining to her alleged sexual assault. “The fact that I now know that David Miscavige knew that Danny Masterson has raped at least two women is just devastating…the Church and the COB David Miscavige KNEW and they did nothing to help Danny or stop him. They should have helped Victim B and me instead of punishing us. They should have driven us to the LAPD and had us report him. Had they done the right thing, he wouldn’t have been able to hurt anyone else.”
The mother of Victim B ends her January 2004 letter with a desperate plea: “The fate of any young girl going anywhere near Danny lies in our hands, please help me.”