‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial ends in jury trial after jury deadlocks
Actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial ended in mistrial Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles after a deadlocked jury couldn’t agree on a verdict.
The judge in the case declared mistrial after a week-long trial in which three different women testified that Masterson raped them, and other witnesses came forward to corroborate their testimonies.
Prosectors reserve the option to retry Masterson, a member of the Church of Scientology. They have not yet announced whether they intend to do so.
Masterson, who rose to fame with his role on the sitcom That ’70s Show, is accused of assaulting the three women at his Hollywood Hills home in the early 2000s. His accusers are also members of the Church of Scientology, and two said they delayed reporting their alleged assaults because they feared reprisals from church officials.
One of the accusers dated Masterson in the late 1990s and early 2000s and said that while he could charm people if he wanted to, he could also become violent. She accused him of raping her while she slept in 2001 and that he slapped her face and spat on her when she woke up and tried to get him to stop.
Masterson has denied her allegations, as well as allegations by two women who said he assaulted them in his hot tub. He was fired from a role on the Netflix show the ranch after the allegations were made public in 2017 and has not received credit for a television or film appearance since. He has neither testified nor summoned witnesses in his defence.
The Church of Scientology’s role in allegedly protecting Masterson and suppressing the advocacy of his alleged victims played a central role in the trial.
“I was a Scientologist and Mr. Masterson is a Scientologist and you cannot report another Scientologist in good standing to the authorities,” a prosecutor testified in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times. “My life would be over. My parents would have to separate from me. … I could never speak to any of my friends again. … I would have nowhere to work or live.”
Masterson’s accusers ultimately all quit the church, which denied allegations that it was working to protect Masterson. Defense attorney in the case, Philip Cohen, said the prosecutors used Scientology as a means to divert attention from the holes in their case.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/danny-masterson-rape-mistrial-b2236581.html ‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial ends in jury trial after jury deadlocks