LOS ANGELES — A judge sentenced “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson on Thursday to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women two decades ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sentenced Masterson, 47, after hearing testimony from the women about the trauma they experienced and the pain caused by disturbing memories they experienced over the years.
The actor, who has been detained since May, appeared in court wearing a suit. Masterson watched the women as they spoke, making no visible reaction.
“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one woman Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003. “This is rape, the theft of the soul.”
“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” he said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
Masterson, the other woman convicted of rape, said she “showed not an iota of remorse for the pain she caused”. He told the judge: “I knew he needed to be behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I’m so sorry and I’m so sorry. “I wish I had reported him to the police earlier.”
Prosecutors retried Masterson on all three counts earlier this year after the first jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts of rape in December and a mistrial was declared.
This time, a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two charges on May 31 after seven days of deliberations. Both attacks occurred at Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003; At the time, Masterson was at the height of her fame on the Fox comedy series That ’70s Show.
A decision could not be reached on the third claim, regarding the allegation that Masterson also raped his long-term girlfriend. They had voted 8-4 in favor of conviction.
The judge sentenced the actor after rejecting his plea for a new trial, which was discussed earlier on Thursday.
“Mr. Masterson, I know that you sit here steadfast in your claims of innocence, and therefore feel victimized by a justice system that has undoubtedly failed you,” Olmedo said before handing down the sentence to Masterson. “But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. One way or another, you will have to face your previous actions and their consequences.
The defense sought the simultaneous delivery of two convictions and sought 15 years in prison. The prosecution demanded the full life sentence of the 30 years that Masterson was entitled to.
“The decision you make today will affect his life,” Masterson’s attorney, Shawn Holley, told the judge before sentencing. “And the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who meant the world to him and meant the world to him.”
“He lived an exemplary life, being an extraordinary father, husband, brother, son, colleague, and public servant,” Holley said.
Prosecutors alleged Masterson used his reputation in the Church of Scientology — where all three women were members at the time — to avoid consequences decades after the attacks.
The women blamed the church for their reluctance to contact the police regarding Masterson. They testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told they had not been raped, that they had been subjected to ethics programs, and that they were warned not to go to law enforcement to report such a high-ranking member.
The church said in a statement after the verdict that “statements and statements regarding Scientology beliefs” during the hearing were “completely false.”
“The church does not have a policy that prohibits or discourages members from reporting criminal conduct by anyone, whether a Scientologist or not, to law enforcement,” the statement said.
Masterson did not testify and his lawyers did not call any witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual and sought to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, saying they showed signs of coordination between them.
The women whose testimony led to Masterson’s conviction said Masterson gave them drinks in 2003 and that they were stunned or unconscious before violently raping them.
While Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers in the second trial to say directly that Masterson had drugged the women, in the first trial he only allowed the women to explain their situation.
Masterson was not charged with any drug use charges and there was no toxicology evidence to support the claim. The issue may be a factor in the defense’s planned appeal of Masterson’s conviction.
The Associated Press generally does not name names of people who say they have been sexually abused.
Masterson starred in “That ’70s Show” with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace from 1998 to 2006.
She reunited with Kutcher in the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” but was written off the series the following year after a Los Angeles Police Department investigation emerged.
Although this investigation began in October 2017, before a wave of women shook Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein, Masterson’s conviction and sentencing, along with Weinstein’s conviction last year, still marks a major #MeToo-era achievement for Los Angeles prosecutors. represents.