Is Scientology helping Danny Masterson cover up years of sexual abuse?
Perhaps we don’t think of cults as being a prominent feature of society. We’re not saying they are, we’re not saying they’re not. But how do we feel about beloved entertainers not turning out to be what we thought they were? How do we feel about religion and cults? Do religion and cults go hand-in-hand or are they the same thing? Those questions can be argued about from daybreak to nightfall.
In case you haven’t received the news yet, That ‘70s Show is bringing us a long-awaited sequel called That ‘90s Show, telling the tale of at least one of the children of the iconic fictional group of teen friends. So far, only a few of the old cast has confirmed their return but fans are sure that Hyde’s Danny Masterson will probably not be returning for the sequel.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be argued that sexual abuse deserves the attention of discussions. Fans are now worried that scientology helped Danny Masterson cover years of sexual abuse. But let’s not jump into any conclusions!
Today, an attorney for Danny Masterson’s accusers stated that they should not have to take their civil claims to a religious arbitration proceeding run by the Church of Scientology. The actor was a long-time member of the church and is anticipating a criminal trial on multiple sexual assault charges that could very well send Masteron to prison for forty five years to life.
Masteron’s accusers have also sued the Church of Scientology, alleging that their agents crept on and harassed them out of revenge for reporting Danny Masteron to the LAPD. Just last December, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted the church’s motion to refer the lawsuit to religious arbitration sustaining an agreement with the plaintiffs had signed when they joined Scientology some decades prior.
Attorney Marci Hamilton, appealed the ruling, and the case was heard today before a three-judge panel of California’s Second District Court Appeal asserted that her clients have fled from the church and thus cannot be coerced into participating in the Scienotolgy’s arbitration proceeding.
Marci Hamilton told the judges, “This would be traumatizing for my clients. It would violate their First Amendment, absolute right to believe and practice whatever religion they choose and to escape the religion they do not want to be a part of.”
William Forman, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, countered that the arbitration agreement is a crucial important condition of joining the church and receiving religious services, and should be upheld.
Forman argued that, “It is a covenant with the church. That is how we accept people into the church.” He also said that the proceeding itself, “would not be a religious ritual, and that the proceeding would be neutral.” But Hamilton argues that the proceedings are going to be “one-sided,” and it’s inherently a constituent of the church’s religious practice.
“The position of respondents is that you can’t leave a faith,” she stated. All the justices asked questions, some of which appear to show some deference toward the church’s position.
Justice Lamar Baker is suggesting that the case isn’t “ripe” because the proceeding had not happened yet. They suggested the plaintiffs return to the court if the arbitration turns out to violate their free exercise rights.
Baker says, “For all we know, this arbitration could go off to a T, like any other arbitration before any arbitration provider. Right now, this seems speculative.
Danny Masteron’s attorney Andrew Brettler, attended the hearing but he didn’t address the court. The justices are expected to issue a ruling in the months to come.
Share your thoughts in the comments below! Do you think the Church of Scientology helped Danny Masterson hide the years of sexual abuse?