Leah Remini hits out at Church of Scientology following Danny Masterson rape sentencing

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Leah Remini has hit out at the Church of Scientology after Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison for rape.

On Thursday (7 September), three months after the That ‘70s Show star was found guilty of two counts of rape, the 47-year-old received his sentencing in the Los Angeles Superior Court. You can follow The Independent’s live blog for updates.

Both attacks took place in Masterson’s Hollywood Hills home in 2003, when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on a third count.

During the trial in May, prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology – where all three women were also members at the time – to avoid consequences for decades after the attacks.

Scientology officials have previously denied “the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers”, claiming that these allegation have been “debunked” and portions of the trial testimony regarding the organisation were “uniformly false”.

A frequent critic of both Scientology and Masterson, Kevin Can Wait star Remini was among the first celebrities to first speak out following Masterson’s sentencing.

Remini, who is a former Scientologist and is in the process of suing the Church, tweeted that she had been in attendance at the sentencing, and that “sitting in court today with the women who survived Danny Masterson’s predation was a surreal experience”.

Masterson had initially been accused of drugging and raping three women at his home.

Masterson, pictured in court in 2020, has been sentenced to 30 years (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Masterson, pictured in court in 2020, has been sentenced to 30 years (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

His accusers blamed the church for dissuading them from reporting Masterson to police. They testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told they were not raped, sent through ethics programmes and warned against going to law enforcement to report a member of such high standing.

Remini’s statement echoed the accusations made in court, which the Church of Scientology denies.

“For over two decades, Danny Masterson avoided accountability for his crimes,” the 53-year-old wrote. “I am relieved that this dangerous rapist will be off the streets and unable to violently assault and rape women.

“Hearing the survivors read their victim impact statements aloud in court while the man who raped them… were just a few feet away displayed a level of bravery that I am in awe of.”

She continued: “The women who survived Danny’s predation fought tirelessly for justice. Their tenacity, strength, and courage have given hope to all victims of Scientology that justice is possible. For that, we will forever be grateful.

“To the LAPD detectives, the LA District Attorney’s office, Judge Olmedo, and the jury, we thank you for your fair and impartial approach to this case and trial.”

Remini was among Scientology’s high-profile members for 35 years before she left in 2013 (Getty Images)
Remini was among Scientology’s high-profile members for 35 years before she left in 2013 (Getty Images)

Responding to The Independent’s request for comment, the Church of Scientology shared two recent statements regarding Remini’s recent lawsuit against the Church.

In the more recent statement, they wrote: “Remini spreads hate and falsehoods for a decade and is now offended when people exercise their right to free speech, exposing her for what she is – an anti-free speech bigot.”

Last month, Remini filed a lawsuit against the organisation and its leader David Miscavige. In the legal filing, she accused the Church of destructive retaliation efforts to curb her and “thousands” of other detractors who have spoken out against them.

In her 2016 docuseries Scientology and the Aftermath, which ran for three seasons until 2019, Remini featured interviews with two of Masterson’s accusers and explored allegations of sexual assault more widely in the Church.

Responding, the Church of Scientology said that “if Remini can no longer get a job, she has nobody to blame but herself”.

“Obviously everybody in Hollywood now knows what we already knew: that Remini is a horrible person and toxic to so many who have the misfortune to come in contact with her,” they said.

When Masterson was charged with rape in 2020, Remini, who was among the organised religion’s high-profile members for 35 years before she left in 2013, tweeted that “victims are being heard” at last.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)