That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson could face decades in prison if convicted of two rapes

“That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson could receive anywhere from 30 years to life in prison at his sentencing Thursday for the rapes of two women two decades ago.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo will sentence the 47-year-old actor after ruling on a defense motion for a new trial that he is likely to reject, and after hearing shocking statements from the victims.

A jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberations.

Both attacks took place at Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003, when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network comedy “That ’70s Show.”

The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on a third charge, an allegation that Masterson also raped a long-time girlfriend.

The verdict came in a second trial after a jury failed to return verdicts on three counts of forcible rape in December and a mistrial was declared.

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

“That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson could receive anywhere from 30 years to life in prison at his sentencing Thursday for the rapes of two women two decades ago. ©Carsey-Werner Co/Courtesy Everett Collection

The women blamed the church for their hesitation to go to the police about Masterson.

They testified that when they reported it to Scientology officials, they were told that they had not been raped, that they themselves had put them through ethics programs, and that they should not go to authorities to report such a high-ranking member.

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“They were raped, punished for it, and retaliated against,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors at the trial. “Scientology told them there is no justice for them.”

The church said in a statement after the verdict that the “testimonies and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false.”

The verdict came in a second trial after a jury failed to return verdicts on three counts of forcible rape in December and a mistrial was declared.The verdict came in a second trial after a jury failed to reach verdicts on three counts of forcible rape in December and a mistrial was declared. REUTERS

“The Church has no policy that prohibits or discourages members from reporting the criminal conduct of any person, whether a Scientologist or not, to authorities,” the statement said.

Masterson did not testify and his lawyers did not call witnesses.

The defense argued that the acts were consensual and tried to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them.

Masterson and his wife Bijou Phillips leave Los Angeles Superior Court after a judge declared a mistrial in their November 2022 rape case.Masterson and his wife Bijou Phillips leave Los Angeles Superior Court after a judge declared a mistrial in their rape case in November 2022.AP

The women whose testimony led to Masterson’s conviction said that in 2003, he gave them drinks and they then became dizzy or passed out before violently raping them.

Olmedo allowed prosecutors and prosecutors to say directly in the second trial that Masterson drugged the women, while in the first he only allowed the women to describe their condition.

Masterson was not charged with any drug charges and there was no toxicological evidence to support the claim.

The defense argued that the acts were consensual and tried to discredit the women's stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them.The defense argued that the acts were consensual and tried to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them. instagram

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The issue could be a factor in a planned appeal by the defense of Masterson’s conviction.

The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they have been sexually abused.

Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006.

Masterson was not charged with any drug charges and there was no toxicological evidence to support the claim.Masterson was not charged with any drug charges and there was no toxicological evidence to support the claim. ©Carsey-Werner Co/Courtesy Everett Collection
Masterson starred alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in “That '70s Show” from 1998 to 2006.Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006.FOX Image Collection via Getty Images
Masterson reunited with Kutcher in the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” but was written out of the show when an LAPD investigation was revealed the following year.Greg Gayne/Netflix

He had reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” but was written off the show when an LAPD investigation was revealed the following year.

While that investigation began before a wave of women rocked Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Masterson’s conviction and sentencing still represents a #MeToo-era big hit for Los Angeles prosecutors, along with the Weinstein’s own conviction last year.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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