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The Church of Scientology has a strategic alliance with law enforcement, former believer Leah Remini said, one that potentially diverts scrutiny over matters like the multiple rape accusations made against church member Danny Masterson.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Beast, Remini said Scientology had “aligned itself” with the Hollywood division of the Los Angeles Police Department and its Captain Cory Palka through activities like fundraising.
“Every year around Christmastime [Scientology’s] Celebrity Centre International … presents the Hollywood Police Department with a check for this Police Activities League, which gives back to children,” Remini told writer Marlow Stern.
“What it’s done is it’s aligned itself as per its policies, because there are Scientology policies that say, ‘Safe-point yourself to the area police department because then nobody will attack your good works,’ so it’s all very pointed and calculated,” Remini said.
A Scientology spokesperson contacted by TheWrap said Remini is “attacking the Church and now the LAPD as part of her self-promotion and anti-religious hate campaign.”
The spokesperson, Karin Pouw, added that “giving Leah Remini a forum to spew more lies about Scientology is the same as providing a forum to the KKK to spread their racial and religious hatred.”
The ties between the LAPD and Scientology were touched on in the Daily Beast report when discussing the renewed interest in multiple accusations of rape against Masterson, star of the Netflix Original “The Ranch.” The actor denies the charges, having previously called the accounts “false allegations.”
The accusations were first reported in March by ex-church member Tony Ortega, who had evidence of three women approaching police saying they were assaulted by Masterson (they all met through the Church of Scientology, the report said, and all made the church aware of the assaults). In early November, Yashar Ali of the Huffington Post reported a fourth accuser had come forward but the LAPD investigation had “stalled,” and the police would not approve the filing of charges.
An LAPD spokesperson did not return TheWrap’s request for comment, though the Daily Beast received an email from the police saying “captain is not making any comments.” A rep for Masterson did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
In the context of Masterson, Remni resurfaced her frustration with the LAPD in investigating the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. She made international news in 2013 when Remini filed a missing persons report concerning her well-being, saying Shelly had not been seen in public since 2007.
“The Los Angeles Police Department investigated Remini’s fraudulent missing person report regarding Mrs. Miscavige and concluded it was unfounded. Repeating bogus allegations is irresponsible,” Shelly Miscavige’s lawyer Jeffrey Riffer wrote TheWrap on Saturday.
A friend of Remini’s and LAPD Detective Kevin Becker told The Daily Beast that many in his department were unsatisfied into the investigation of Shelly Miscavige’s whereabouts.
“I and many other detectives believe that the ‘investigation’ was VERY poorly handled and LAPD fell way short on this one,” Becker said.
The Masterson accusations are still under police investigation. The case reentered the spotlight over heightened awareness of sexual misconduct accusations in Hollywood following the implosion of Harvey Weinstein.
Masterson’s accusers, one named Chrissie Carnell Bixler who was revealed as a former lover of Masterson’s by his publicist, banded together to criticize the streaming giant for not disciplining the actor.
“For me, what Netflix has done feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything,” Bixler told the Daily Beast in a previous story.
“I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter,” she added.
Netflix took swift action with accused abusers like Kevin Spacey, shelving a Gore Vidal biopic it planned to release and refusing to air their flagship series “House of Cards” if production continued with him in the lead role.
“We are aware of the allegations and the subsequent investigation, and will respond if developments occur,” Netflix said of the Masterson accusations.
A fourth season of “The Ranch,” co-starring Ashton Kutcher and Debra Winger, is slated to air in December. A fifth season is already in production.