Former in-law accuses Masters of violence

The ex-daughter-in-law of conservative Grants Pass spiritual leader Roy Masters is about to accuse Masters on national television of violence against her and her daughters.

A Los Angeles producer said Wednesday that Lisa Masters of Grants Pass is scheduled to appear at 3:30 p.m. March 4 on Extra, a nationally syndicated news show seen locally weekdays on KTVL Channel 10.

I just want people to know he's dangerous, Lisa Masters said in her home this week. I just thought, `I know a lot about this man; I'll just turn around and let him have it.'

Lisa Masters told Extra producer Frank Snepp that the controversial radio personality punched her once while she was married to his son David Masters, and that Roy Masters slapped her daughters during 1997 while they visited his home. She said she considers the incidents consistent with what she says is a long history of Masters' denigration of women.

He's said on the radio there's a time women have to be restrained and even slapped, she said.

Lisa Masters said she and others will make a number of charges against Masters on the program, but she declined to talk about those charges now.

Snepp said from his Los Angeles office that the Masters story runs more than six minutes. The piece was scheduled to run earlier but was pushed back to permit shorter pieces to run during the industry's February sweeps competition.

Snepp said he talked to both Roy and David Masters on the phone during two visits to Grants Pass, but neither would let him put them on camera. Roy Masters declined to be interviewed for this story. David Masters was out of town.

Roy Masters' spokeswoman, his daughter Dianne Masters, 42, said the radio personality denies Lisa Masters' charges.

She's a disgruntled wife, Dianne Masters said Thursday.

She's using every possible way of getting back at her husband and my dad. She's saying my father enslaves women and beats them.''

Snepp said Roy and David Masters backed out of an interview with Extra.

We talked him (Roy) out of doing an interview, Dianne said. The reason why is, he's extremely honest and blunt, but he's not doing anything wrong.

Lisa Masters, 41, was married to David Masters, a son of Roy, from 1980 to 1997. Since their 1998 divorce, she's had custody of the three younger children, and her husband has had weekend visitations and custody of Joshua, the eldest child. The children are now 18, 15, 13 and 9.

Roy Masters is a radio preacher and former professional hypnotist who moved to the United States from England in 1949. His real name was Reuben Obermeister. He moved to Josephine County from Southern California 20 years ago. Estimates of the number of supporters of his Foundation for Human Understanding in Josephine County range from 1,500 to several thousand. Many moved here after Masters told listeners to move to Southern Oregon to escape what he said was the inevitable collapse of a sick society.

Masters' foundation has tax-exempt status as a church with the Internal Revenue Service.

Masters sold radio station KOPE-FM in Central Point last year. His show airs nationally but is no longer carried in the Rogue Valley.

Lisa Masters said she met Roy Masters in 1979 in Ventura, Calif., when he had an office in Venice. She was a young actress whose credits included roles on Police Woman, Little House on the Prairie and the TV movie and series San Pedro Beach Bums.

I was looking for spiritual guidance at the time, she said. He said he would be the father I never had.

She said she came under Masters' sway for years but eventually pulled away. He'll find your weakness and put a knife in and twist it, she said.

She said Roy Masters told her she would be just right for his son David. After she and David Masters were married, they lived in Ojai, Calif., in a house Masters owned.

One day in 1983 she had an argument with Roy over his attempts to make her son Josh eat his food. I told him to mind his own business, and he punched me in the eye, she said.

She said she then slapped him, and he then hit her in the other eye. She said she called the police after the incident but didn't file charges.

I wish to God I had, she said. God, I don't know why. I was young. I was confused.

Dianne Masters said she was present but offered a different account of the event.

I did not see him punch her, she said. I saw her kick him right in the groin. They were having some kind of dispute.

Lisa Masters said another incident of violence involved Roy Masters and her daughters, Jessica and Jennifer, in 1997 at Roy Masters' home near Grants Pass. Lisa Masters was not there when the incident occurred.

It was over eating with their elbows on the table, she said. He told Jessica she was possessed by a demon, like her mother. He told her, `You hate your mom,' and she said to stop, and he reached across the table and slapped her.

A Josephine County sheriff's office incident report for June 10, 1997, says the incident was reported by Lisa Masters and was investigated as a fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Jessica and Jennifer accused Roy Masters of striking them and talking bad about their mother, the report said. The girls complained of pain. David Masters, the girls' father, accused the girls of cursing and slapping their grandfather and breaking his glasses, and an investigator saw a small cut on Roy Masters' nose.

David Masters later told investigators his father went to the hospital after the incident, fearing he was having a heart attack. Jessica told officers her father took her shopping after the incident and bought her $90 worth of toys and a $300 Airedale terrier puppy.

The report concluded, The accused father and grandfather (David and Roy Masters) did not use physical force greater than allowed by statute. The investigating officer requested harassment and assault charges be considered against the girls, but no charges were filed.

Lisa Masters said she talked with Snepp at length during two weeks he spent in Southern Oregon on two visits beginning about the middle of last month.

In a telephone interview, Snepp said Roy and David Masters called him one night in a Grants Pass motel at 10 p.m., even though he hadn't given out his number. He said the two were extremely exercised.

He said Roy and David Masters refused to be interviewed on his first visit, and he returned after they agreed over the phone to be interviewed. He said they didn't keep the agreement.

Instead, they gave me Dianne Masters, he said. She said she'd never read anything (Roy Masters) said about women. I'd read something in which he said cancer is a female ego disease and some other things. It was a pretty amazing interview.

Snepp said he tried with a cameraman to enter a Grants Pass theater where Masters was speaking. He said the camera wasn't allowed in, and Masters denounced him and his story. After that Snepp said he went outside. They ran out Joshua, who spoke on camera against his mother, Snepp said.

Dianne Masters also came out and talked with Snepp.

I've never interviewed a son denouncing his mother before, Snepp said. He was accusing her of being immoral because she was dating men in the wake of her divorce from David.

I asked if he approved of beating women and he said no, but there `might be circumstances.'

Lisa Masters said she waited so long to come forward because I never wanted to leave (David Masters), because I thought it would devastate the children. I didn't have much self-esteem during those years.

She said David Masters is seeking custody of her son Jered, 9.

Lisa Masters says Roy Masters came to her home once after she had a miscarriage and told her children that something evil in Lisa had killed her baby. Snepp said he has a note in which David Masters called Lisa a vampire.

Roy Masters has angered women by saying that women are weak and should be submissive. Dianne Masters said he wants women to be biblical but not weak.

Dianne said the family is tired of talking to the press. She said her father has been the subject of 800 unfair, inaccurate stories.

We are honorable business people, she said. It took years for people to figure out we're not like they've written in the press.

She said her dad isn't hypnotic, just charismatic.

He believes people are already hypnotized, she said. He wants to show them how to be unhypnotized.

Snepp said the tires of his rental car were slashed while he was in Grants Pass.

I reported from Vietnam, and I investigated Iran-Contra for ABC and Peter Jennings, he said. I'm not a beginner. But this story was extremely strange.