CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Church of Scientology is facing a major lawsuit. Its leader and a popular TV actor are being sued by four women who say the actor sexually assaulted them.
The attorney for the four women says once they went to police, they’ve faced non-stop harassment by the church and are scared to even be in their own homes.
However, the church says the lawsuit is baseless, calling the claims ludicrous and a sham.
A 46-page lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court is now the second lawsuit to be filed against the church since June, accusing members of stalking.
"Their lives have been extraordinarily difficult," attorney Stewart Ryan said.
Four women, including actresses Marie Bobette Riales and Chrissie Carnell Bixler, say actor Danny Masterson sexually assaulted them. Masterson is an active Scientologist and best known for his role on "That 70's Show."
According to the lawsuit, Bixler, a former girlfriend of Masterson, says he sexually assaulted her. She reported it to police in December 2016. Three other women also reported assaults. Afterwards, Ryan says the church went after them.
"The church heightened its tactics of fair game, of harassment, of intimidation, by viciously going after our clients in innumerable and outrageous ways," Ryan said.
In the lawsuit, one woman says members posted ads online, posing as her, soliciting sex. Another woman says members chased her in her car. After the chase, the lawsuit says, the woman's dog died unexpectedly from traumatic injuries to her trachea and esophagus.
"Whether you call it a religion or not, religion has nothing to do with this," Ryan said.
The church is now firing back against the lawsuit.
"This baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham," William Forman, an attorney for the church, said in a statement released to FOX 13 Sunday. "It's a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt."
Masterson released his own statement to FOX 13 through his attorney.
"This is beyond ridiculous. I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years," Masterson said. "I will beat her in court, and look forward to it, because the public will finally be able learn the truth."
Ryan says the church needs to be held accountable.
"The Church of Scientology is going to have to decide what it sees, when we force them to look in the mirror, whether they want to change, or not. And if they do not change, I can assure you that we will not stop," Ryan said.
It's unclear how much in damages the women are seeking, but they are asking the judge for a trial by jury.