The Church of Scientology is pushing a California judge to enforce an arbitration agreement that is signed by new members when they join – in this case, four women accusers who allege they were terrorized in an attempt to cover up sex assault allegations against actor Danny Masterson, according to a report.
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The church was responding to the women’s claims of harassment after reporting to Los Angeles police they had been sexually assaulted by the “That 70s Show” star, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The accusers first filed their lawsuit in August, naming the Church of Scientology and Masterson as co-defendants, a previous THR report stated.
Neither a spokesperson for the church nor a rep for Masterson immediately responded to FOX Business’ requests for comment Friday.
But in new court papers, the Church of Scientology stipulates that the women had complied with “ecclesiastical rule” when they initially became members, in which they agreed, in part, to “forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing [their] right to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church," according to the report.
The full agreement, provided by THR, states:
"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."
Masterson is best known for his role as Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show,” which aired from 1998 until 2006. He was dropped from the Netflix show "The Ranch" following the accusations. He said at the time the charges stemmed from an attempt to boost a television series that features former members of the Church of Scientology.
“Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” Masterson said, according to a previous Associated Press report. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
The LAPD did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request seeking details regarding the allegations.
When the women filed suit, Masterson released a statement calling the suit “beyond ridiculous” and indicating that one of the plaintiffs was his ex-girlfriend, according to a previous THR report. He also indicated he intended to take his own legal action.
“I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years," he said, according to the outlet. "I will beat her in court — and look forward to it because the public will finally be able [to] learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman.”
Founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, the controversial Church of Scientology boasts more than 11,000 churches worldwide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.