Danny Masterson, known for his role as Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show,” was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Thursday for the rapes of two women 20 years ago, reports the Associated Press.
In May 2023, Masterson was found guilty of two counts of rape during his retrial in Los Angelos earlier this year.
“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one woman who Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003, per AP News. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” the woman added. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
The seven-women, five-man jury deliberated the case for two weeks before the verdict was reached. Masterson, 47, is currently being held without bail until a sentence is handed down. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 4, reports NBC News. The jury deadlocked on the third rape charge against Masterson.
“I am experiencing a complex array of emotions — relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness — knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior,” one of the women, whom Masterson was convicted of raping at his home in 2003, said in a statement, per The New York Times.
A second women, and former girlfriend of Masterson said, “While I’m encouraged that Danny Masterson will face some criminal punishment, I am devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me,” per AP News.
A brief timeline of rape allegations against Danny Masterson
Masterson was charged with raping three women at his home in Hollywood Hills between 2001 and 2003.
March 2017: Three women filed sexual assault charges against Masterson to the Los Angelos Police Department.
“The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson. Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000s,” read a statement from LAPD’s robbery-homicide division, per the Hollywood Reporter.
December 2017: In wake of the #MeToo movement, Netflix fired Masterson from “The Ranch,” per The New York Times.
“Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” Masterson said in 2017, per The New York Times. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
August 2019: Four of Masterson’s accusers sued the actor, the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, for allegedly stalking them in efforts to silence their claims.
“When those women came forward to report Masterson’s crimes, the defendants conspired to and systematically stalked, harassed, invaded their and their family’s privacy, and intentionally caused them emotional distress and silence and intimidate them,” the lawsuit claimed, per Yahoo News.
June 2020: Masterson was arrested and charged with rape. He was accused of raping one woman in 2001 and two women in 2003.
“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,” the actor’s high-powered defense attorney, Tom Mesereau said in the statement, per Reuters. “The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
June 2021: Masterson pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, per Variety.
October 2022: The defense asked the court to bar any mentions of the Church of Scientology — all three women are former members and Masterson is still a member.
“Evidence presented in criminal cases often involve subject matters that many of the public view with disdain, including gangs, guns and violence. The fact that any individual has a negative view of any particular subject matter does not, per se, render that person unfit to serve as a juror,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo, per the Los Angeles Times.
Each women alleging that Masterson raped them took the stand.
November 2022: The jury informed the judge they were deadlocked. A mistrial was declared, per AP News.
“We are not even close to coming to a unanimous decision on any count, and are convinced this will not change,” the jurors told the judge, per Vanity Fair.
January 2023: Prosecutors announced that Masterson would be given a re-trial for rape charges, per the Wrap.
“It appears there are many other witnesses people could choose,” Olmedo said, per the Wrap. “Mr. Masterson is charged with multiple counts of serious and violent felonies — forcible rapes. If true and Masterson is convicted, society would not only be protected from a violent felon, and should be protected from a violent felon.”
May 2023: Masterson was found guilty of two counts of three of rape.
September 2023: Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Sept. 7, 2023, reports the Associated Press.
Scientology’s alleged involvement in the Masterson case
All three women who accused Masterson of rape are former members of the Church of Scientology — and claim they met Masterson through Scientology. He remains a member of the church.
The Church of Scientology played a role in Masterson’s trial and retrial. Two of the women claim that the Church of Scientology dissuaded them from sharing the rapes with law enforcement and put them through ethics programs, per NPR.
According to a trial brief filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in September, one woman who reported the rape to the church’s “ethics officer” told her, “You can’t rape someone that you’re in a relationship with” and “Don’t say that word again.”
“They were raped, they were punished for it, and they were retaliated against,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors in his closing argument, per NPR. “Scientology told them there’s no justice for them. You have the opportunity to show them there is justice.”
A statement from the Church of Scientology said: “The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement. Quite the opposite, Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land. All allegations to the contrary are totally FALSE.”
Actor Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology and an open critic, appeared at the trial many times, reports AP News.
“The women who survived Danny Masterson’s predation are heroes. For years, they and their families have faced vicious attacks and harassment from Scientology and Danny’s well-funded legal team. Nevertheless, they soldiered on, determined to seek justice,” Remini wrote in a lengthy tweet after the verdict was given.
“While it is up to them to decide whether they are satisfied with this verdict, I am relieved that Danny Masterson is facing some justice after over two decades of brutal sexual violence with no criminal consequences.”
Church of Scientology Statement
The prosecution’s introduction of religion into this trial was an unprecedented violation of the First Amendment and affects the due process rights of every American. The Church was not a party to this case and religion did not belong in this proceeding as Supreme Court precedent has maintained for centuries.
The District Attorney unconscionably centered his prosecution on the defendant’s religion and fabrications about the Church to introduce prejudice and inflame bigotry. The DA elicited testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs and practices which were uniformly FALSE.
The Court’s statement of Church doctrine was her own invention, DEAD WRONG, and blatantly unconstitutional.
The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement. Quite the opposite, Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land. All allegations to the contrary are totally FALSE.
There is not a scintilla of evidence supporting the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers. Every single instance of supposed harassment by the Church is FALSE, and has been debunked.