Danny Masterson, the actor best known for his role in the sitcom ‘That ’70s Show,’ was sentenced to 30 years to life on Thursday for the rapes of two women despite being at the peak of his career for over 20 years old. There is.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence after hearing statements from the women, who described the lasting impact of Masterson’s actions on their lives.
“The body is a relentless witness,” one of the accusers, identified as N. Trout, said in a statement read aloud in the courtroom Thursday. “When you raped me, you robbed me,” she said. “That’s rape, a theft of the mind.”
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said he hoped the courage of these women would be an example to others. “Justice was finally served today,” he said, noting that one of his top priorities was to ensure that “Los Angeles is no longer a hunting ground for the Hollywood elite who feel entitled to attack women”.
Shawn Holley, attorney for Masterson, told reporters outside the courtroom that she was “very disappointed” with the sentence, noting that a team of lawyers had reviewed the case and found “a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues” which they planned to use on appeal.
“While we have great respect for the jury and for our justice system, sometimes they get it wrong – and that’s what happened here,” Holley said, noting that Masterson maintains his innocence.
Masterson, 47, played Steven Hyde on ‘That ’70s Show’ from 1998 to 2006 and also starred in the television comedy ‘Men at Work’ from 2012 to 2014. Most recently, he appeared in the Netflix comedy ‘The Ranch,” but was fired from the show in 2017 after rape allegations emerged.
The case against Masterson attracted widespread attention and at times echoed a television saga, in part because of accusations that the Church of Scientology, to which Masterson belonged, had tried to discourage his accusers.
In May, Masterson was found guilty of raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home in the early 2000s. The jury was deadlocked on the charge that the actor raped a third woman.
The mixed verdict came after the jury deadlocked on all three counts in November, resulting in a mistrial.
The retrial this spring lasted more than a month before Masterson was found guilty of two counts of rape by force or fear.
The trial against Masterson began to unfold in 2020, when he was charged with three counts. He pleaded not guilty.
The case was closely watched, not only because it involved a Hollywood star on trial at the time #MeToo, but also because two of the women had accused the Church of Scientology, to which they also belonged, of deterring them. to report rapes to the authorities. . The Church has denied exerting pressure on the victims.
An accuser, identified as Christina B. who said Masterson raped her in 2001 when they were a couple, reported the rape to the church’s ‘ethics officer’, court documents show. . This policeman said to him, according to the documents: “You cannot rape someone with whom you are in a relationship” and “Don’t repeat that word again”. In May, the jury was deadlocked on the charge related to his indictment.
Court documents also say Masterson raped another woman, identified as Jen B., in April 2003 after giving her a drink. Jen B., who requested permission from the Church to report the rape, later received a written response from the Church’s International Chief Justice citing a 1965 policy letter, which she said raised concerns that she would be excluded from her family and friends if she reported a rape. Scientologist colleague to the police. Yet she reported the rape in 2004.
The third accuser, identified as N. Trout and who was raped in 2003, did not tell the church about it but shared it with her mother and her best friend. “If you have a legal situation with another member of the Church, you cannot manage it outside of the Church, and that is very explicit,” she said, according to court documents. She added that she “felt intimidated enough by the repercussions”.
The Church argued that it was not a party to the case and should not be involved. “There is not a shred of evidence to support the outrageous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers,” he said in a statement following the sentencing.
But Alison Anderson, the lawyer for two of the accusers, said her clients plan to continue to hold the Church accountable for her attempts to silence them.
“Despite ongoing harassment, obstruction and intimidation, these brave women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today,” Anderson said. “They look forward to telling the fuller story soon of how Scientology and its enablers desperately tried to stop them from coming forward.”