Actor Danny Masterson Receives 30-Year to Life Sentence for Two Sexual Assaults

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Renowned US actor Danny Masterson has been sentenced to a prison term of 30 years to life for sexually assaulting two women. Masterson, known for his role in the television series That ’70s Show, committed these crimes during the early 2000s.

During the sentencing, prosecutors argued that Masterson, aged 47, had exploited his prominent status as a Scientologist to evade accountability. The victims were allowed to deliver impact statements in court before the sentencing, where they shared their experiences.

Prominent former Scientologist and actress Leah Remini attended the hearing and provided support to the women during and after their statements. One of the victims expressed her regret about not reporting the incidents to the police earlier, saying, “I wished I had reported him earlier to the police.”

Another woman chose to forgive Masterson, stating, “I forgive you. Your sickness is no longer mine to bear.”

Throughout the hearing, Masterson remained silent as the judge read out his sentence, the maximum penalty allowed. His wife, Bijou Phillips, was seen in court, visibly distraught.

Masterson was found guilty in May after a retrial, as the initial jury was unable to reach a verdict in 2022. Following his conviction, he was considered a flight risk and taken into custody.

The actor’s conviction stemmed from the testimonies of three women who detailed sexual assaults that occurred at his Hollywood home between 2001 and 2003, during the peak of his television career. It was revealed in court that he had drugged the victims before assaulting them. He was found guilty of rape against two of the three accusers, while the charges brought by the third accuser resulted in a mistrial, with prosecutors indicating that they do not intend to retry the case.

Actor Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life for two rapes

Alison Anderson, a lawyer representing two of the victims, commended the bravery of the women for coming forward and participating in two challenging criminal trials. She emphasized their determination to continue speaking out about the alleged role of the Church during their abuse.

One of the victims described being ostracized by her mother, who is still an active Scientologist. Another survivor reported experiencing ongoing harassment and privacy violations by the Church of Scientology since she first reported the incidents.

Masterson faced allegations of rape in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement. He consistently denied the accusations, claiming that all encounters were consensual.

The charges followed a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Two other cases did not result in charges due to insufficient evidence and statute of limitations constraints.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors contended that the Church of Scientology played a role in covering up the assaults—an accusation that the organization vehemently denied. All parties involved, including Masterson and the accusers, were Scientologists at the time of the assaults. Some of the victims revealed that they had been discouraged by Scientology officials from reporting the rapes to the police.

Prosecutors alleged that one survivor was pressured to sign a non-disclosure agreement and accept a payment of $400,000 (£320,000) to prevent her from reporting the incident, a claim denied by Scientology officials.

During the trial, Judge Olmedo allowed discussions about the beliefs and practices of Scientology, causing friction with the organization.

In response to the verdict in May, the Church of Scientology asserted that there was no evidence supporting the allegations of harassment against the accusers.

The sentencing hearing was attended by Jessica Barth, founder of Voices in Action, a non-profit organization that emerged from the #MeToo movement. Barth was among the women who publicly accused disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of abuse. Her organization encourages others to come forward and report abuse.

Before the hearing, a motion for a new trial by Masterson’s defense team was denied by the judge, according to an official from the Los Angeles court.

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