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Danny Masterson, best known for his starring role on That '70s Show, has been charged with rape. The actor maintains his innocence.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday that Masterson, 44, has been charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison. Los Angeles County inmate records show that Masterson was arrested at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. He is being held on $3.3 million bail.
Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001. The complaint also states he allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman and a 28-year-old woman in separate incidents in 2003. All of the alleged crimes occurred at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The District Attorney’s Office noted it declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases, one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the alleged crime.
“Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify,” Tom Mesereau, the actor’s criminal defense attorney, told Yahoo Entertainment in a statement.
“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out,” Mesereau continues. “The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
Masterson has been married to Bijou Phillips since 2011. They have a 6-year-old daughter.
Sexual assault allegations first surfaced against Masterson in 2016 and he has been under investigation by the LAPD since. As the #MeToo movement swept through Hollywood following Harvey Weinstein’s 2017 downfall, Netflix fired him from The Ranch.
In 2019, two of Masterson’s alleged victims, Chrissie Bixler and Bobette Riales, spoke out against Masterson and the Church of Scientology on the documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. They claimed they were drugged and raped while dating the actor, who is a practicing Scientologist.
Bixler, who dated Masterson for six years and was a practicing Scientologist, alleged Masterson drugged and sexually assaulted her in December 2001. Bixler claimed she reported the crime to an “ethics officer” at a Scientology Celebrity Centre, but was told she couldn’t have been raped because she was in a relationship with Masterson. She is one of four women who filed a civil suit against Masterson, the Church of Scientology and the head of the church, David Miscavige. The Church of Scientology and Masterson have denied all of the allegations.
Masterson called the lawsuit “beyond ridiculous” at the time.
“I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court — and look forward to it because the public will finally be able learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family,” he said in August 2019.
An arraignment in Masterson’s rape case has been set for Sept. 18, 2020.
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