Danny Masterson's Rape Case Revealing Troubling Aspects of Scientology

Danny Masterson's rape trial will not start until later this summer, but disturbing allegations about the Church of Scientology have already come to light in the case. Last week, the former The Ranch actor's three accusers testified in Los Angeles Superior Court for a preliminary hearing, when ended with a judge decided there was probable cause to charge Masterson. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo ordered Masterson to stand trial, and his arraignment was scheduled for June 7. During their testimony, the women claimed Scientology officials kept attempted to dissuade them from talking to police.

One woman testified that a Scientology official told her to write she would "take responsibility" after she was allegedly assaulted by Masterson while unconscious in 2001. Another woman, whose parents are Scientologists, wanted to tell police Masterson allegedly raped her in 2003, but a church lawyer allegedly told her she would be expelled from Scientology if she told police. After the testimony, Olmedo accused the church of having policies that "not only discourages but prohibits" members from reporting another member to police, reports the Los Angeles Times. She suggested this was why the women waited years to report their allegations.

Scientology critics say the allegations from Masterson's accusers match other allegations against the mysterious church, known for its many celebrity members. "The activities of Scientology have been so much a part of the evidence that’s being put forth as to why these women were not immediately going to law enforcement... that it’s sort of brought the dirty laundry out into public view, which is exactly what Scientology does not want to have happened," Mike Rinder, a former Scientology executive who left in 2007 and co-hosted Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, told the Times. Rinder added that the church is distrustful of government institutions and directs members to deal with complaints internally.

The church denied the allegations from Masterson's accusers. Spokeswoman Karin Pouw told the Times Olmedo's comments were "flat-out wrong" and claimed Masterson's accusers are attempting a "money shakedown" since they are also involved in a civil suit against the That '70s Show actor. Pouw told the Times the women are only repeating Leah Remini's comments since she left Scientology in 2015.

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The Masterson hearing included several moments when the women needed to explain obscure Scientology terms to Olmedo. One woman claimed she had to write a letter to an "International Justice Chief," and there were also references to "O.W. write-ups," "Things That Shouldn't Be reports," and "knowledge reports." Another accuser said it was "not a nice thing" for someone to be referred to as a "wog," a term used for non-members of the church.

Masterson was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear. He could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison, reports CBS News. The actor remains out on $3.3 million bail.