A judge on Thursday sentenced “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women two decades ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Justice Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence to 47-year-old Masterson after hearing testimonies from the women about the trauma suffered and the pain caused by the haunting memories in the years that followed .
The actor, who has been in prison since May, appeared in court in a suit. Masterson watched the women speak with no apparent reaction.
“When you raped me, you stole me,” said a woman who convicted Masterson of rape in 2003. “This is rape, stealing the spirit.” “You’re pathetic, deranged, and downright violent,” he said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
The other woman said the actor “didn’t show an iota of remorse for the pain he caused.” She told the judge: “I knew he had to remain behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I am very sorry and very upset. I wish I had reported it to the police sooner.
After a first-time jury failed to reach a verdict in three rape counts in December and declared a mistrial, prosecutors re-indicted Masterson in all three counts earlier this year.
This time, a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty on two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberations. Both attacks happened at Masterson’s home near Hollywood in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the third count, alleging that Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend. They voted 8 to 4 in favor of the verdict.\The judge sentenced the actor after denying a defense motion for a new trial, which was heard early Thursday morning.
“Mr. Masterson, I know that you sit here and stand firmly on your plea of innocence, and as a result, no doubt you feel like a victim of a justice system that has failed you,” Olmedo told Masterson ahead of the sentencing hearing. “But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away someone else’s voice and choices. One way or another, you will have to deal with your past actions and consequences.”
The defense requested that the sentences for the two convictions be carried out concurrently, asking for a sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment. Prosecutors sought the full sentence of 30 years to life in prison, to which Masterson was entitled.
“What you decide today will affect your life,” Masterson’s attorney Shawn Holley told the judge before sentencing. “And the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who means everything to him and to whom he means everything.”
“He lived an exemplary life, was an exceptional father, husband, brother, son, co-worker and community servant,” Holley said.
Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology, of which the three women also belonged at the time, to avoid repercussions decades after the attacks.
The women blamed the church for their hesitance to contact the police about Masterson. They testified that when they reported it to Scientology officials, they were told that they had not been raped, that they themselves had been subjected to ethics programs, and that they should not go to the authorities to denounce such a high-ranking member .
The church said in a statement after the sentencing that “statements and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” made during the trial were “consistently false.”
“The Church has no policy prohibiting or preventing members from reporting the criminal conduct of any person, whether a Scientologist or not, to the authorities,” the statement said.
Masterson did not testify and his attorneys did not call witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual and sought to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and discrepancies over time that they said showed signs of concertation between them.
The women whose testimonies led to Masterson’s conviction said that in 2003 he gave them drinks and then made them dizzy or passed out before violently raping them.
Olmedo allowed prosecutors and prosecutors in the second trial to say outright that Masterson drugged the women, while in the first trial he only allowed the women to describe their condition.
Masterson has not been charged with any drug offenses and there was no toxicological evidence to support this claim. The issue could be a factor in a planned defense appeal against Masterson’s conviction.
Neither The Associated Press nor Telemundo typically credit people who say they have been sexually abused.
Masterson starred on That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006 along with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace.
He reunited with Kutcher in the 2016 Netflix comedy The Ranch, but was pulled from the series when an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department came to light the following year.
While this investigation began before a wave of women rocked Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Masterson’s conviction and sentencing still represent a huge #MeToo-era success for Los Angeles prosecutors, as does Weinstein’s own conviction last year.