Monday, October 2, 2023

‘That ’70s Show’ actor sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for rape

American actor and Church of Scientology member Danny Masterson was sentenced Thursday in California to between 30 years and life in prison for raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home two decades ago.

The star of television series “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch” was found guilty on May 31 of two counts of rape between 2001 and 2003. The Los Angeles court jury could not agree on a third charge for the same crime.

Masterson, 47, has been in custody since then.

“Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here,” Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo of the Los Angeles court told him, adding before reading the verdict that she knew he “remains firmly committed to his claims of innocence.”

Olmedo granted the right to speak to the three women who accused Masterson, whose identities were protected.

“You like to hurt women,” one of them said, adding that the world would be “safer” with her incarcerated.

“I knew he should be behind bars,” another prosecutor said.

This was the second rape trial Masterson has faced, after the previous trial was declared a mistrial in November because another jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

A member of the Church of Scientology, the actor rose to fame with the premiere of the series That ’70s Show in 1998, in which he played Steven Hyde and shared the screen with Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

He worked again with Kutcher on The Ranch, produced by Netflix, but was fired and his character removed from the storyline in 2017 after the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed they were investigating multiple rape allegations against him.

At the time, prosecutors dismissed two other sexual assault cases for lack of evidence.

During the trial’s closing arguments in early May, prosecutors said Masterson “drugged and raped every one of his victims” and asked the jury to “hold him accountable for his actions.”

The three whistleblowers were also members of the Church of Scientology at the time, and it was through this secret group that Masterson met them.

Two of them said that the church authorities asked them not to contact the police.

Masterson’s attorneys criticized the “much talk about Scientology” and suggested that a bias against the church may have motivated the decision.

The third investigated case dismissed by the jury involved a former girlfriend of Masterson’s.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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