Danny Masterson, '70s Show actor, sentenced 30 years to life in prison
"That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women in 2003.
Actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in "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 sentencing was delivered by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo, who took into account the statements made by the victims about the trauma they endured and the lasting effects it has had on their lives.
Throughout the court proceedings, Masterson, who has been in custody since May, sat in court wearing a suit. He showed no visible reaction as the women bravely shared their experiences and expressed their desire for justice. One of the victims described the rape as a theft of her spirit, emphasizing the profound impact it had on her life. The other victim stated that Masterson had shown no remorse for the pain he caused and expressed regret for not reporting him sooner.
Masterson's conviction comes after an initial jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts of rape in December, leading to a mistrial. However, prosecutors retried the case earlier this year, resulting in a guilty verdict on two counts. The attacks occurred in Masterson's Hollywood home in 2003, during the height of his fame on "That '70s Show." The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the third count, which involved an allegation of rape by a longtime girlfriend.
Prior to the sentencing, Masterson's defense team requested a new trial and argued for concurrent sentences for the two convictions, suggesting a sentence of 15 years to life. However, the prosecution sought the maximum sentence of 30 years to life. Masterson's lawyer, Shawn Holley, highlighted his client's exemplary life and emphasized his role as a devoted father, husband, and community servant.
Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his position within the Church of Scientology, of which all three women were also members at the time, to evade consequences for his actions. The victims testified that when they reported the rapes to Scientology officials, they were discouraged from pursuing legal action and were subjected to ethics programs themselves. The church released a statement denying any policy against reporting criminal conduct and describing the testimonies as false.
During the trial, Masterson did not testify, and his defense team did not call any witnesses. They argued that the encounters were consensual and attempted to undermine the credibility of the victims by pointing out inconsistencies in their stories. The women testified that in 2003, Masterson provided them with drinks that caused them to become incapacitated before he violently raped them.
While the defense focused on the lack of toxicology evidence and the absence of charges related to drugging, the judge allowed the prosecution and victims to directly state in the second trial that Masterson had drugged the women. This decision could potentially be a factor in the defense's planned appeal of Masterson's conviction.
Danny Masterson's sentencing marks a significant moment in the #MeToo era, as it represents a successful outcome for Los Angeles prosecutors in holding a high-profile figure accountable for sexual assault. Alongside the conviction of Harvey Weinstein, Masterson's case highlights the ongoing efforts to address sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond.