Danny Masterson has been found guilty on two counts of rape and now faces up to 30 years in prison.
Danny Masterson could be sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted on two counts of forcible rape on May 31. The actor faced allegations of sexually assaulting three women at his residence in Hollywood Hills. He was found guilty of the incidents that took place in 2003. The jury could not reach a verdict regarding an accusation from 2001 involving a former girlfriend.
The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on a third rape charge, resulting in a deadlock. After the verdict, Danny Masterson was handcuffed and taken into custody as Judge Charlaine Olmedo rejected a defense plea for release until the sentencing. According to Variety, a hearing has been scheduled for August 4, 2023. His wife, Bijou Phillips, was seen weeping in the front row.
One of the victims expressed a sense of relief after learning about Danny Masterson’s conviction. She also mentioned an ongoing civil case where she and the other accusers filed a lawsuit against the That 70’s Show actor and the Church of Scientology, accusing them of harassment and stalking.
“I am experiencing a complex array of emotions – relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness – knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior,” she said. “I am disappointed that he was not convicted on all counts, but take great solace in the fact that he, the Church of Scientology, and others will have to fully account for their abhorrent actions in civil court.”
In a previous trial held in December 2022, another jury failed to reach a verdict. However, prosecutors decided to retry Danny Masterson. This time the judge allowed the presentation of new evidence that had previously been excluded. Although the actor was not charged with drugging his victims, the jury heard testimonies indicating that the women had been given substances before the incidents.
Danny Masterson initially faced rape allegations in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement. In response, he emphasized that he had neither been charged nor convicted of a crime and expressed his concern about the presumption of guilt that seemed to prevail at that time. Charges were brought forth after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Prosecutors did not pursue charges against Danny Masterson in two additional cases due to insufficient evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations. Throughout the latest trial, prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology had played a role in concealing the assaults, an accusation strongly refuted by the organization.
Following Danny Masterson’s conviction, the International Church of Scientology released a statement denouncing the prosecution’s criticism of the Church as an unprecedented violation of the First Amendment. The organization asserted that it was not involved in the case and argued against including religion in the proceedings.
At the time of the assaults, Danny Masterson and his three accusers were members of the Church of Scientology. The women eventually revealed that the Church dissuaded them from reporting the assaults to the police. They were forced to rely on the Church’s internal justice system instead.
However, counsel for the defense said the women altered their accounts to align with a narrative of rape, claiming that they had met and discussed the case before testifying.