The Church of Scientology argued in court on Tuesday that a lawsuit accusing That 70’s Show actor, Danny Masterson, of rape and stalking is a religious matter that cannot be settled in criminal court but rather requires religious arbitration.
Danny Masterson is being sued by four women for harassing and stalking them after they filed police reports about the actor’s alleged sexual assault. The Church of Scientology was also named in the suit as being used by Masterson – who is a member of the cult – to silence the women by intimidation.
In response, the Scientologists argued that the women signed away their right to civil lawsuits when they joined the Scientology cult because they “agreed to ecclesiastical justice procedures.”
According to the press, “Scientology forbids its members from contacting police to report a crime committed by any of its other members. The plaintiffs also allege that the phones in certain church facilities are incapable of dialing 911, and victims are generally blamed for any sexual assaults.”
Sadly enough, the argument by the Church of Scientology may just work thanks to the Federal Arbitration Act, which says that “compulsory arbitration is favored upon mutual consent.” This means that if someone has signed a document before an incident saying they would submit to arbitration, the court may rule it sufficient and it would preclude their right to sue in court.
The document signed by the women when they joined the Church of Scientology says, “My freely given consent to be bound exclusively by the discipline, faith, internal organization, and ecclesiastical rule, custom, and law of the Scientology religion in all matters relating to Scientology Religious Services, in all my dealings of any nature with the Church, and in all my dealings of any nature with any other Scientology church or organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion means that I am forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing my right to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church, all other Scientology churches, all other organizations which espouse, present, propagate or practice the Scientology religion, and all persons employed by any such entity both in their personal and any official or representational capacities, regardless of the nature of the dispute, claim or controversy.”