For Raping Two Women, Danny Masterson, “That ’70s Show” Star Sentenced 30 Years To Life

 September 8, 2023

On Thursday, for the rapes of two women two decades ago, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo, sentenced “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison. Olmedo handed down the sentence to Masterson after hearing statements from the women about the trauma they experienced and the suffering caused by the disturbing memories, that have occurred in the years since.

Reportedly, Masterson, who sat in court wearing a suit, watched the women without visible reaction as they spoke. He has been in custody since May. One woman who Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003 said in her statement-

“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”…“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”

-Rape Victim

Additionally, the other woman that Masterson was found guilty of raping told the judge-

[he] “has not shown an ounce of remorse for the pain he caused.”… “I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I am so sorry, and I’m so upset. I wish I’d reported him sooner to the police.”

-Additional Rape Victim

Failing to reach verdicts on three counts of rape in December, the initial jurys’ lack of a verdict allowed a mistrial to be declared.  Prosecutors, then retried Masterson on all three counts earlier this year. This time, a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberations. The third count, an allegation that Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend, fell short of a conviction.

Reportedly, both attacks took place in Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003. This was when apparently he was at the height of his fame. on the network sitcom “That ’70s Show.”

After rejecting a defense motion for a new trial that was argued earlier Thursday, Olmedo sentenced Masterson. Reportedly, the defense sought to have sentences for the two convictions run simultaneously, asking for a sentence of 15 years to life. However, the prosecution asked for the full 30 years to life sentence that Masterson was eligible for. Olmedo apparently agreed with the defense.

Masterson’s lawyer Shawn Holley told the judge before the sentencing

“It’s his life that will be impacted by what you decide today,”… “And the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who means the world to him, and to whom he means the world.”…“He has lived an exemplary life, he has been an extraordinary father, husband, brother, son, co-worker and community servant,”

-Shawn Holley, Masterson’s Lawyer

The women blamed the Church of Scientology for their hesitancy in going to police about Masterson, with prosecutors alleging that Masterson had used his prominence in the Church, to avoid consequences for decades after the attacks. All three women were also members at the time,

The women testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told they were not raped. Then they were put through ethics programs themselves, and warned against going to law enforcement to report a member of such high standing. In their statement of response, after the verdict, the church said-

[the] “testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false.”…“The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone, Scientologists or not, to law enforcement,”

-Church of Scientology

The defense, who called no witnesses, argued that the acts were consensual, and attempted to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them. Masterson did not testify.

The women whose testimony led to Masterson’s conviction said, that in 2003, he gave them drinks and that they then became woozy or passed out before he violently raped them. In the new trial, Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers both to say that Masterson had drugged the women, while only allowing the women to describe their condition in the first trial.

Masterson, however, was not charged with any counts of drugging. Further there was no toxicology evidence to back up the allegation, a factor which could play a part of a planned appeal. However, the conviction and sentencing of Masterson still represents a major #MeToo era success for Los Angeles prosecutors.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

-Archbishop Desmond Tutu
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