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What the jurors didn’t hear: How Scientology keeps crimes under wraps
Our frequent contributor Sunny Pereira, a former Scientology Sea Org official at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, came to the Danny Masterson trial on the last day of testimony. She was there as an advocate for her friend, Rachel Smith, who was the final witness to testify in the trial. We asked her for some thoughts on the trial, and this is what she sent us.
What a great idea it is, to hide behind the banner of “Religious Freedom” in a country founded on that very thing. What an absolutely perfect setup it is.
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard decided to try “the religious angle” in 1953, and avoided taxes until the government took away Scientology’s church status in 1967. David Miscavige’s victory over the IRS in 1993 to get it back was the highlight of his career. And as Lawrence Wright said in Going Clear, it meant that Scientology was “protected,” to the detriment of the people in it.
The basic policies of Scientology, as written by Hubbard, do not allow a person to report crimes to the police or any other “civil authority.” Scientologists are expected to report these matters internally. There are various positions, or “posts” where these complaints are heard. They are “Chaplain” and “Ethics Officer.” The people in these positions are trained to keep matters inside the organization.
Meanwhile, Scientology is obsessed with record-keeping. But since the IRS exemption in 1993, Scientology has been careful about the records it keeps of wrongdoing. Not using the word “rape” in an interrogation, for example.
For this reason, bringing in the law, no matter how much you try, can be incredibly difficult.
Even as a young child in Scientology, we knew what to say to Child Protective Services so they would see and think that we were well cared for. The same applies to anyone who is reported for committing a crime. They can hang around the fringes of Scientology as “members,” but they can’t really participate much in any of the services. Scientology won’t let them loose, but also will not turn them in. With my own eyes and experience, I have seen many of these situations in my decades in Scientology.
And here we are with the Danny Masterson case. So how does it fit in?
Well, two ways.
First, Scientology will not offer up any information or help with any investigation into a member. They may pretend to cooperate, but any possible documents “go missing” or the people who might have been witnesses are “no longer around.”
From the information that we have, at least two of these three victims reported their alleged rapes to a member of Scientology, specifically at the Celebrity Centre. I was not personally involved in these cases, but having worked at Celebrity Centre for nearly a decade, I can say I’m familiar with how these things are dealt with.
Of course all the information is taken down, and the women would be subjected to different types of interrogations to determine “what they had done to pull it in.”
It could have been that Masterson also had things addressed with Scientology, and in their minds, when it was addressed decades ago, he was fixed and is no longer this horrible person. Scientology truly believes it can fully change a person’s behavior.
But at the same time, the last thing Scientology wants is one of its prominent members to be convicted of rape. So they hope that this criminal case will go away.
It saddened me to see early on in the trial that much of Scientology’s involvement was deemed inadmissible. And yet this case not only rides on the actions of Masterson, but also the subsequent actions of Scientology in covering it up.
The information allowed to be presented to the jury can never be anything close to an actual account of event. So many admonitions from the judge. And yet there is no full picture of what happened and why, without Scientology.
A divided jury, with not enough information to piece together what is going on. It’s so frustrating.
I am saddened that these ladies may not get justice. They have been brave and strong through all of this and I wish them the best, and they have much support from the community in this difficult time.
And I hope someday Scientology somehow gets the proper justice for its flawed system that covers up criminal behavior. .
Will there ever be a chance for protection of children and victims of crimes within a religious group in the United States?
— Sunny Pereira
Saturday’s special update: Helping out those in need
While we’re still trying to assess what happened with the jury at the Danny Masterson trial, we turned our attention to a couple of former Scientologists who are struggling and could use your help. We emailed our end-of-the-day video to our subscribers here at Substack yesterday, but this morning we’re releasing it to everyone. And here’s also the version at our YouTube channel.
Thank you for reading today’s story here at Substack. For the full picture of what’s happening today in the world of Scientology, please join the conversation at tonyortega.org, where we’ve been reporting daily on David Miscavige’s cabal since 2012. There you’ll find additional stories, and our popular regular daily features:
Source Code: Actual things founder L. Ron Hubbard said on this date in history
Avast, Ye Mateys: Snapshots from Scientology’s years at sea
Overheard in the Freezone: Indie Hubbardism, one thought at a time
Past is Prologue: From this week in history at alt.religion.scientology
Random Howdy: Your daily dose of the Captain
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