The Church of Scientology is trying to prevent four women who accused actor and Scientology member Danny Masterson of rape from suing the church.

The women claim the organization harassed and stalked them to keep them quiet.

The petition, filed Tuesday by the church, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to help enforce the religious arbitration clause in its member contract by overturning a California appeals court ruling saying the accusers were no longer bound to the contract because they had left the church.

The arbitration clause in the church’s contract bans members from taking legal action against the organization.

The church says members must go through a church-led conflict-resolution process instead. A lower court agreed, but in January the Court of Appeal overturned that decision, stating the women have a First Amendment right to leave the faith.

“Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. 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,” the ruling read.

“In effect, Scientology suggests that one of the prices of joining its religion (or obtaining a single religious service) is eternal submission to a religious forum — a sub silentio waiver of petitioners’ constitutional right to extricate themselves from the faith. The Constitution forbids a price that high.”

Scientology is arguing the ruling amounts to religious discrimination and that it violates their First Amendment rights.

“The notion that the First Amendment empowers the state to regulate the covenant between a church and its congregation could not be more wrong or dangerous,” the church argued. “Religious organizations need this Court to remove any doubt that their contracts — including their agreements to arbitrate disputes before a religious forum — cannot be voided by a party’s professed change of mind.”

The plaintiffs filed suit in August 2019, alleging the church had harassed and intimidated them after they reported the rape allegations against Masterson to the Los Angeles Police Department. The women say the church followed them, hacked their email and security systems, killed their pets, ran them off the road, poisoned trees on their property and threatened to kill them.

Masterson has denied the rape allegations and is scheduled to face criminal trial this fall.

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