Newly Uncovered Scientology Documents Confirm More Victims of James Barbour's Abuse

Onstage Blog/September 11, 2023 

In 2008, Broadway performer James Barbour confessed to sexually abusing a minor when she was 15- years-old. The news and the ensuing legal proceedings sent shockwaves through the Broadway community. However, despite his conviction, Barbour would return to the limelight as the lead role in The Phantom of the Opera, less than a decade later.

But recently uncovered documents, made public by former members of the Church of Scientology, not only provide insight into how the church tried to protect Barbour but also reveal confessions of abuse of more victims - including one as young as 14-years-old.

On the afternoon of April 6th, 2006, James Barbour was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with sex abuse and sodomy filed from allegations in New York City.

He had been accused of abusing a 15-year-old girl on multiple occasions, in multiple locations including his apartment and his dressing room at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where he was starring in Jane Eyre.

After a lengthy and messy trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors, in exchange for a promise that he would be sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years probation. Reportedly, he only served 36 days.

In addition to the charges in New York, there were also additional allegations of abuse of a minor in California that were brought to authorities. However, charges were not filed because the statute of limitations had passed.

Fast forward to 2015, Barbour is cast as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, marking his return to Broadway just over seven years after his conviction. Barbour would play the role until December 2017. He was welcomed back at the show’s closing this past year and honored on stage with the rest of the actors who have played the role.

Barbour’s welcoming back to Broadway was based on what was likely known at the time - a performer who had been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, and in the eyes of some, served his time and deserved a second chance.

But if the public had known the full story, it’s likely he would never be allowed to work in this industry again, let alone any other. Now, because of confidential documents from the Church of Scientology that have been made public, that story is being told.

Once again, I must warn you, that the next part of this article features extremely graphic details of sexual abuse of minors.

Mike Rinder is a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology International (CSI) and the Sea Organization, a core group of Church of Scientology staff members.

Rinder escaped Scientology in 2007. Since then, he has been outspoken about the Church and how things like sexual abuse involving its members are handled within the organization. Much of what the public knows about the operations of the church, is due to Rinder and the evidence he’s made public. We also know of Scientology's fair game tactics, which essentially are to "intimidate, defame, harass, discredit, and effectively silence any criticism of Scientology” because Rinder used to run such activities as Director of the Office of Special Affairs.

In 2010, Rinder turned over many documents to the FBI. According to him, nothing ever came from it but the documents reveal how not only the church will handle and protect its high profile or celebrity members from allegations of abuse, but also how they will utilize tactics to intimidate and discredit their victims who come forward.

In the latest episode of their podcast, Fair Game with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, he and co-host, actress Leah Remini (another former Scientologist who has sued the Church for harassment, stalking, and defamation), show and talk about documents that include details of sexual abuse involving James Barbour.

NOTE: Another former Scientologist, Aaron Smith-Levin, also discussed these documents on his YouTube channel back this past July.

They posted a video of the podcast which can be seen below. Discussion of Barbour starts at the 25:00 minute mark.

The documents were circulated among the Church of Scientology’s legal team and external affairs department. The documents are known as a “SIT ALERT” or situation alert. One document is listed as “NO SHEETS”, which Rinder describes as being “beyond confidential”.

The details are graphic. One document dated April 5, 2006, details admissions by Barbour of sexual abuse on multiple minors. According to the document, during an “O/W Write up”(Overt/Withhold) he did in January 2004, Barbour told Scientology officials that he was instant messaging with a “young high school student” he was mentoring around 1 AM. We will refer to her as Jane Doe #1.

Dana Stackpole, Barbour’s now wife but then girlfriend or “2D”(2nd Dynamic), told Barbour that the communication was inappropriate but Barbour continued to contact Jane Doe #1 to “defy Dana”, as he put it.

However according to another session the following year, Barbour admits to sexually abusing Jane Doe #1. In the session, dated March 2005, Barbour states that he had sexual relations with Jane Doe #1 on multiple occasions, including once in his apartment. At the time, Jane Doe #1 was 16 years old and Barbour was in his late 30’s.

These are details we mostly know from Barbour’s confession while pleading guilty to the charges. But what is interesting is that Barbour, upon being arrested, denied any physical contact with the minor, yet according to these documents( a year before he was even charged), he admitted to Scientology officials that he had “fooled around with (Jane Doe #1) two times”.

But the documents also reveal things the public has never been alerted to.

In the same document, it states that during another session, known as a “Joburg” in March 2006, Barbour admitted to sexually abusing a second victim(Jane Doe #2) in his car. The Johannesburg (also known as "Joburg" or "Jo'burg") Security Check includes crime-related questions and is considered "the roughest security check in Scientology".

According to the documents, he stated during that “Joburg” session that in 2001, he drove a 15-year-old girl “wog” (non-Scientoligist) home and “kissed her for 30 seconds” before dropping her off.

The fact that this is another victim is reiterated in another document, dated April 4, 2006.

It’s important to note here that it was reported that Jane Doe #1 only came forward because she had heard that someone else had come forward with allegations. It’s unknown if that was Jane Doe #2.

The April 4 document also states communication within Scientology officials that they are “looking for a good criminal attorney” for Barbour. According to these documents, Scientology officials were not only altered to abuse by James Barbour but showed their efforts to investigate his victims.

In the April 5, 2006 document, it states that the “invest needs to be completed to ID her(Jane Doe #1) psych, complete PRC on her and her family and pull any strings on what brought this about.” PRC stands for Public Records Check.

According to another document, dated April 8, 2006, it states how Scientology officials were alerted of message board discussions on surrounding Barbour’s arrest.

Was James Barbour concerned about the harm he inflicted upon his victims? If the below passage from the document is proof of anything, it seems he was more worried about PR for Scientology. According to the April 8 document, he expresses concern about what trouble this may mean for the church and offers to take programs to better himself…as opposed to turning himself in for sex crimes.

But the April 8 document also reveals details of incidents of abuse the public hadn’t previously been alerted to.

For instance, according to a report in the documents, Barbour stated that he sexually abused Jane Doe #1 more times than were made public through his trial, Including once at her house and then another in his car. Before, it was reproted that he abused her in his dressing room, at a restaurant, and at his apartment.

The document also includes Barbour admitting to sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1999. According to the report, Barbour said that the minor girl, Jane Doe #3, was a fellow cast member in a show with him in “SD”, which is presumably San Diego. The incidents all took place inside the theatre and consisted of kissing and oral sex.

The document does not name what show he was doing in San Diego in 1999. But it is at least confirmed that a minor was in that show.

It’s important to note a couple of things here. The first is that Jane Doe #3 did report her abuse allegations to authorities, but charges couldn’t be brought forward because the statute of limitations, at the time, had expired. California recently made changes to that law that now allows victims who were abused when they were minors, to report their abuse until they reach the age of 40.  

But other than hearing that there were additional allegations from a second victim, that’s all that was ever known publicly about it. Now, according to these documents, we know the horrific details of abuse on Jane Doe #2 and Jane Doe #3.

The other important thing to point out is that, in the documents, Barbour admits to abusing Jane Doe #3 in the theatre space. He also admitted to abusing Jane Doe #1 in his dressing room at the Brooks Atkinson theatre just a year later. This would demonstrate a pattern that James Barbour used his stature in the theatre industry, and its facilities, to abuse children.

Did any of this matter to Broadway powers-that-be? Of course not.

Remember, he was arrested in December of 2006. While being charged and awaiting trial for sex abuse of a minor, producers cast him in the lead of A Tale of Two Cities and announced that casting in August 2007. Press at the time of the casting announcement did not mention Barbour’s arrest.

Barbour pleaded guilty in December 2007 and was sentenced to 60 Days in prison in February 2008. Again, he reportedly only served 36 days and was right back in rehearsals for A Tale of Two Cities before its opening in August 2008.

Keep in mind, the cast of A Tale of Two Cities included minor girls. In fact, in one photo, Barbour is positioned right next to one.

The terms of his probation stated that Barbour must inform the manager, producer or assistant director of any theatrical, film or television project he worked on that he has been convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, “having engaged in oral sexual conduct and sexual contact with a 15-year-old child.”

This means everyone on the team of A Tale of Two Cities knew of his conviction for sexually abusing female children, yet allowed him to share the stage and backstage areas with one. The same type of spaces he utilized to abuse his previous victims.

There are people who are still very busy in the theatre industry who worked on that production, such as Warren Carlyle and David Zinn. I’d like to find out if they knew about this and were concerned about this at all.

Flash forward to 2015, and Barbour is cast as the Phantom. While many were shocked and outraged by the decision, producers defended the casting decision stating “James fully accepted the responsibility of what happened 14 years ago,” they said. “While we know some will disagree, we believe James has completely honored the second chance he was given beginning 7 years ago.”

The “second chance” the producers were referring to was his casting in A Tale of Two Cities.

If you’re surprised about this, don’t be. Remember, if Broadway producers were willing to cast Barbour while standing trial for sex abuse, they absolutely would cast him less than a decade after his conviction. The late casting director Jay Binder even predicted as such, telling the New York Times, “James Barbour is a first-rate Broadway leading man. If he were the actor that the entire creative staff agreed upon, there would be no professional reason not to hire James Barbour.”

Following his departure from Phantom, Barbour would be invited back to walk the red carpet at the show’s closing earlier this year.

For an industry so comparatively small to other entertainment sectors, it is shocking how theatre powers will protect and welcome back abusers. Even worse, they will ignore victims who speak out. The mechanisms in place in the early 2000s made it possible for Barbour to abuse children who idolized him and producers did everything they could to put him back in the spotlight time and time again.

Scientology officials were so concerned about protecting Barbour. They must have been relieved to see that Broadway producers and powers took care of all of that, and then continued to do so for years.

With this new information, the hope is that this will prevent James Barbour from ever being allowed back into the Broadway community, or any other theatre for that matter. For his victims, I hope they know that they weren’t wrong for reporting these crimes. I hope they don’t doubt what happened to them. I hope the people who refused to believe them at the time, believe them now. I hope they can see that he knew the type of abuse he was inflicting, and told people about it, yet nothing was ever done but try to cover it up and protect him. And I hope that his apparent admission provides the evidence his victims needed to pursue action against him.

But in the years since Barbour’s conviction and return to Broadway, sexual abuse still continually occurs in the theatre industry and more allegations will come out in the future. While abuse may not always be preventable, one thing the industry can absolutely do is not allow these monsters back in their ranks.

Many hope for a brighter and safer future for those working in the theatre. In order for that to happen, theatre powers and organizations must collectively commit to addressing the deeply ingrained issues of sexual abuse within the industry. The theatre should be a sanctuary for creativity, not a breeding ground for exploitation.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

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