AceShowbiz - Officials from the Church of Scientology reportedly tried to silence Danny Masterson's alleged rape victims, according to a new lawsuit.
The disgraced "That 70s Show" star has been charged with forcibly raping three women - who are all former members of the Church of Scientology, to which the 44-year-old actor is said to be devoted.
Previously, four women, including the three referenced in the criminal charges, filed a civil suit against Danny and the Church, accusing chiefs at the organization of harassing them for having reported the alleged assaults to authorities.
According to editors at the New York Post's gossip column Page Six, one of the attorneys for the civil suit, Stewart Ryan, said, "It is alleged (in the suit) that our clients reported the sexual assaults to Scientology at the times that they happened. It is alleged in the suit that Scientology attempted to cover up the sexual assaults."
However, Church officials denied all claims made in the civil suit, in response to an inquiry from the publication.
Danny has insisted that he is innocent of all civil and criminal charges, with his lawyer Thomas Mesereau describing the actor as "being in complete shock" over "nearly 20-year-old allegations."
However, former Scientologists have maintained that it would have been challenging for authorities to gain cooperation from alleged victims while they remained affiliated with the church, with ex-member Geoff Levin sharing that protocol would have been to deal with the allegations in-house and to take the women through "security checks."
Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, according to the complaint, a 28-year-old and another 23-year-old two years later.
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, who is prosecuting the case, claims all the alleged incidents took place at Masterson's home in the Hollywood Hills.
If convicted, the actor could be sentenced to a maximum term of life imprisonment.