The United States Supreme Court shut down Church of Scientology's request to keep a Danny Masterson lawsuit out of the public eye.
Back in 2019, four women and one of their husbands filed a civil lawsuit against the controversial church, claiming they were being harassed, stalked and surveilled after accusing the "That '70s Show" star — a prominent Scientologist — of sexual assault.
Scientology argued that the lawsuit should be handled by church's private arbitration, citing the fact that the accusers — all former members — signed contracts barring them from suing the church. The Church won its initial plea, but the California appeals court overturned the ruling earlier this year.
"We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues," wrote California's Second Appellate Court.
On Monday, Oct. 3, the SCOTUS said it would not take up the case and let the appellate court's decision stand, Deadline reported.
Still, the lawsuit will likely stay on hold for some time, as the actor will first stand trial next week in Los Angeles Superior Court over criminal rape charges involving three of the four women suing him.
On June 17, 2020 the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Danny with raping three women in separate incidents in 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the DA's office declined to file sexual assault charges against the former "The Ranch" star in two other investigations due to insufficient evidence in one case and because the statute of limitations had passed for the other. Los Angeles police began investigating the actor, who maintains his innocence, in 2017.
If convicted on all charges, the actor faces 45 years to life behind bars.