Science & Technology



Scientology tried to 'derail' star's rape trial by harassing prosecutor, suit says; church calls claim 'false'

James Queally, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

LOS ANGELES — Nearly six months after actor Danny Masterson was convicted of sexually assaulting two fellow members of the Church of Scientology, lawyers for his victims filed a document that contained a stunning new allegation against the faith.

Submitted in a downtown Los Angeles court as part of a years-old civil lawsuit against Scientology, the document referenced a purported effort by the church to “derail” the criminal proceedings against Masterson.

“Defendants and their agents engaged in a campaign of harassment and intimidation directed at one of the prosecutors assigned to Defendant Masterson’s trial,” the declaration from civil attorney Simon Leen read. “That prosecutor’s home and car windows were broken, the prosecutor’s home electronics were tampered with, and Defendants’ agents surveilled the prosecutor.”

The December 2023 declaration didn’t name the prosecutor or offer any additional detail, and Leen declined to comment. The claim, which was deep within a 372-page document, has not been previously reported. The church has vigorously denied that Scientology had anything to do with the incidents involving the prosecutor.

But it was not the first time the church was quietly — and publicly — accused of attempting to interfere in Masterson’s years-long legal saga.

In a speech last fall, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller delivered remarks that contained allegations nearly identical to those from the lawsuit, according to a video reviewed by The Times.


In the speech, given after he received an award for his work on the Masterson case, Mueller told hundreds of colleagues, including former District Attorney Jackie Lacey, about a pattern of disturbing incidents he allegedly experienced in late 2022, ahead of the sitcom star’s first trial.

Mueller said he was “run off the road” and that his home was vandalized, according to the video. He also said that cellular and internet service had been inexplicably knocked out at his residence.

LAPD detectives on the case were also “stalked,” Mueller said in the video, and had their “photographs taken while they were off-duty.”

Mueller didn’t directly blame Scientology in his speech, but two law enforcement sources told The Times that he accused the church of being behind the incidents in discussions with the L.A. County district attorney’s office’s Bureau of Investigation, which reviews threats against prosecutors.


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