Actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in the sitcom "That '70s Show," has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rapes of two women that occurred two decades ago. The 47-year-old Masterson had been in custody since May and was found guilty earlier this year. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F Olmedo handed down the sentence after hearing statements from the victims about the trauma they experienced. Masterson was convicted of raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman later that year. The incidents took place at Masterson's Hollywood Hills home.
The trial brought attention to the Church of Scientology, as Masterson and his accusers were all members of the church at the time of the incidents. The women testified that they reported the rapes to Scientology officials but were discouraged from going to the police out of fear of retaliation and excommunication. The church denied blocking anyone from cooperating with authorities. The case also shed light on the #MeToo movement, as Masterson's accusers came forward to share their stories.
During the sentencing, Masterson's wife, Bijou Phillips, was present in the courtroom but did not make any statements. Masterson himself declined the opportunity to speak. The two victims who testified at the trial gave emotional victim impact statements, expressing the lasting impact of the rapes on their lives. One victim, identified as Jane Doe 2, forgave Masterson but stated that he had stolen her spirit.
The case against Masterson has had a significant impact on his career. He was fired from the Netflix series “The Ranch” in 2017 when the rape allegations first surfaced. Masterson has consistently maintained his innocence, and his attorneys argued that the encounters with the women were consensual.
The sentencing of Masterson has been seen as a victory for the victims and a step towards holding powerful individuals accountable for their actions. Los Angeles District Attorney George Gasc??n praised the bravery of the women who came forward and expressed hope that the sentence would bring them peace. He also emphasized his commitment to ensuring that Los Angeles is no longer a hunting ground for those who feel entitled to prey on women.
The Church of Scientology released a statement following Masterson's sentencing, denying any involvement in the case and stating that the introduction of religion into the trial was a violation of the First Amendment. The church has faced criticism for allegedly discouraging the victims from reporting the rapes to the authorities.
Masterson's sentencing marks the end of a long legal process that began in 2020 when he was initially charged with three counts of rape. The first trial ended in a mistrial, but the retrial resulted in his conviction on two counts. Masterson did not testify in either trial and has consistently maintained his innocence. The case has sparked discussions about the power dynamics in Hollywood and the importance of supporting and believing survivors of sexual assault.
themes: Los Angeles California Hollywood