American actor Danny Masterson has been sentenced to a term of 30 years to life in prison following his earlier conviction this year for the rape of two women dating back two decades.
The sentencing decision was delivered by Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo of Los Angeles Superior Court after she heard emotional statements from the survivors.
One of the survivors, identified as N. Trout, conveyed in her statement, “The body is a relentless witness. When you raped me you stole from me. That is what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
George Gascón, the Los Angeles district attorney, expressed hope that the courage of these survivors would serve as an example to others.
He asserted, “Justice was finally served today,” and emphasized his commitment to ensuring that “Los Angeles will no longer be a hunting ground for Hollywood elite who feel entitled to prey on women.”
Shawn Holley, a lawyer representing Masterson, expressed disappointment with the sentence outside the courtroom.
She indicated that a team of lawyers had thoroughly reviewed the case and identified “a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues” that would be pursued in appeals.
Shawn Holley emphasized that Masterson maintains his innocence.
Danny Masterson, 47, gained fame for his role as Steven Hyde on the popular television series “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006. He also starred in the comedy series “Men at Work” from 2012 to 2014.
More recently, he featured in the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” but was dismissed from the show in 2017 when the rape allegations surfaced.
In May, Masterson was convicted of raping two women at his Hollywood Hills residence in the early 2000s. The jury, however, reached a deadlock on a charge related to a third woman during the trial.
The initial verdict in November had resulted in a mistrial as the jury was unable to reach a consensus on all three charges.
The retrial that took place this spring extended over a month and concluded with Danny Masterson being found guilty on two counts of rape by force or fear.
The legal proceedings against Masterson began unfolding in 2020 when he faced three counts of rape, to which he pleaded not guilty.
This case garnered significant attention not only for involving a high-profile Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era but also because two of the survivors accused the Church of Scientology, of which they were members, of discouraging them from reporting the rapes to the authorities.
The Church has consistently denied allegations of pressuring the victims.
One survivor, identified as Christina B., reported the rape she experienced in 2001 when she was in a relationship with Masterson to the church’s “ethics officer.”
According to court documents, the officer responded by saying,
“You can’t rape someone that you’re in a relationship with,” and discouraged her from using that term.
In May, the jury could not reach a verdict on the charge related to her accusation.
Court documents also revealed that another survivor, identified as Jen B., reported being raped by Masterson in April 2003 after he gave her a drink.
She sought the church’s permission to report the rape and received a written response from the church’s international chief justice, citing a 1965 policy letter.
This response raised concerns that she could face isolation from her family and friends if she reported a fellow Scientologist to the police. Nonetheless, she reported the rape in 2004.
The third survivor, identified as N. Trout, did not inform the church about the rape she endured in 2003 but shared her ordeal with her mother and best friend.
According to court documents, she felt sufficiently intimidated by potential repercussions.
In a statement following the sentencing, the Church of Scientology denied any evidence supporting allegations of harassment against the accusers.
However, Alison Anderson, a lawyer representing two of the survivors, stated that her clients intend to hold the church accountable for its alleged efforts to silence them.
“Despite persistent harassment, obstruction, and intimidation, these courageous women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today. They are eager to soon tell the fuller story of how Scientology and its enablers tried desperately to keep them from coming forward.”