On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled that the civil complaints must be settled by the Church of Scientology in “religious arbitration” because an arbitration agreement already exists that compels any disputes to be handled in that manner.
That means harassment complaints from Chrissie Carnell Bixler, her husband, musician Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and two Jane Does are now back in the Church’s hands. The judge did not rule on a similar complaint by Marie Bobette Riales , who was not a Church of Scientology member and did not have an arbitration agreement.
Masterson is scheduled for arraignment on three charges of rape between 2001 and 2003 on Jan. 6. That criminal case is still moving forward, but could be postponed by courts that are struggling to keep up with backlogs during the pandemic.
The women claimed Masterson raped or sexually assaulted them in the early 2000s, but did not report the assaults to the LAPD until late 2016 and early 2017. After talking to the police, they claimed they were harassed and threatened by alleged agents of the Church of Scientology.
Masterson has denied the rape claims, but he was dropped from the Netflix series The Ranch in December 2017.
Masterson’s attorney Andrew Brettler told Variety, “This was absolutely the correct result. We look forward to arbitrating the claims, as the Court directed.”