Danny Masterson

Danny Masterson, an American actor, has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women.

In the early 2000s, Masterson starred on That ’70s Show, a television series that was airing at the time of his crimes.

Prosecutors argued that Masterson, 47, avoided accountability by relying on his status as a prominent Scientologist.

Prior to his sentencing, Judge Charlaine Olmedo permitted the victims of his crimes to read impact statements in court.

Thursday’s sentencing hearing was attended by renowned actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini, who comforted the women before and after they delivered their statements.

According to US media, one of the women stated, “I wished I had reported him to the police sooner.”

Another woman said to Masterson, “I’m sorry. Your illness is no longer my responsibility, as reported by Reuters.

Masterson was silent throughout the entire proceeding.

As the judge read his sentence – the maximum allowed – his wife, Bijou Phillips, could be seen in court sobbing.

Masterson was found guilty in May during a retrial, after the original jury in 2022 was unable to reach a verdict. Masterson was taken into custody because he was deemed a flight risk following his conviction.

The actor was found guilty after three women testified that he sexually assaulted them at his home in Hollywood between 2001 and 2003, during the height of his television fame.

Before assaulting them, he had given them drugs, according to testimony presented to the jury.

He was convicted of raping two of his three accusers. The third accuser’s charges were declared a mistrial, and prosecutors stated they have no plans to retry the case.

Alison Anderson, the attorney for two of the victims, said in a statement sent to BBC News that the women “have displayed tremendous strength and bravery by cooperating with law enforcement and participating directly in two arduous criminal trials.”

“Despite persistent harassment, obstruction, and intimidation, these courageous women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today,” she said, adding that the women will continue to discuss the alleged role the church played in their abuse.

Thursday in court, a woman described being shunned by her still-practicing Scientologist mother.

“She texted me and told me never to contact her again,” she told the LA Times.

“She had warned me beforehand that she desired Danny Masterson’s imprisonment for what he had done to me, but not at the expense of her religion.”

Since she first spoke out, the church, according to a second woman, has victimized her.

“Since the week I came forward to police, I have been daily terrorized, harassed, and my privacy has been invaded by the Scientology cult,” she said, adding, “But I have no regrets.”

Masterson was accused of rape for the first time in 2017, at the height of the #MeToo movement. He denied the allegations and claimed that each encounter was voluntary.

After a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, charges were filed. In two other cases, prosecutors did not file charges due to insufficient evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Throughout the course of the trial, prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology covered up the assaults, an allegation that the organization has categorically denied.

Masterson and each of his three accusers were Scientologists at the time of the assaults. Several of the women stated that it took them years to come forward because Scientology officials discouraged them from filing police reports.

According to prosecutors, Scientology officials told one survivor that she would be expelled from the Church of Scientology unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement and accepted a payment of $400,000 (£320,000).

Infuriating the organization, Judge Olmedo permitted both parties to discuss Scientology’s doctrine and practices during the trial.

In a statement issued in May following the verdict, the Church of Scientology stated that there was “not a shred of evidence to support the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers.”

Jessica Barth, who founded Voices in Action following the #MeToo movement, was also present at the sentencing on Thursday.

Ms. Barth was one of the women who accused disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct in public. Her nonprofit organization works to encourage others to report abuse.

The judge denied Masterson’s defense team’s motion for a new trial prior to the hearing, according to a Los Angeles court official.

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