LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge sentenced the star of “That ’70s Show.” Danny Masterson He was sentenced Thursday to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women two decades ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo imposed the sentence on Masterson, 47, after hearing statements from the women about the trauma they experienced and the suffering that accompanied the disturbing memories in the cases in recent years.
The actor, who has been in custody since May, sat in the courtroom wearing a suit. Masterson watched the women without any visible reaction as they spoke.
“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said a woman who was convicted of rape by Masterson in 2003. “This is rape, a theft of the mind.”
“They are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
The other woman who found Masterson guilty of rape said he had “not shown an ounce of remorse for the pain he caused.” She told the judge: “I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I’m so sorry and I’m so upset. I wish I had reported him to the police sooner.”
This time a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 seven days of deliberations. Both attacks happened at Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show.
They were unable to reach a verdict on the third count, a claim Masterson also made raped a longtime friend. They voted 8-4 to convict.
The judge sentenced the actor after rejecting a defense request for a new trial that was heard earlier Thursday.
“Mr. Masterson, I know that you sit here steadfast on your claim of innocence and therefore undoubtedly feel like a victim of a justice system that has failed you,” Olmedo said to Masterson before announcing the sentence. “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 must deal with your previous actions and their consequences.”
The defense requested that the sentences for both convictions be imposed concurrently, asking for a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Prosecutors asked for the full 30-year life sentence that Masterson could receive.
“It is his life that will be affected by your decision today,” Masterson’s attorney, Shawn Holley, told the judge before sentencing. “And the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who means the world to him and he means the world to.”
“He lived an exemplary life, he 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 all three women were also members at the time – to avoid repercussions in the decades after the attacks.
The women blamed the church for their reluctance to contact the police about Masterson. They testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told that they had not been raped, that they had undergone ethics programs themselves, and that they were warned not to contact law enforcement about a to display such high-ranking member.
The church said in a statement after the verdict that the “statements and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” made during the trial were “consistently false.”
“The Church has no policy prohibiting or preventing members from reporting criminal conduct by anyone – Scientologist or not – to law enforcement,” the statement said.
Masterson did not testify and his attorneys did not call witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual, and attempted to be discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time that they felt showed signs of coordination between them.
The women whose testimony led to Masterson’s conviction said he gave them drinks in 2003 and they then became dazed or passed out before violently raping them.
Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers to say so directly at the second trial Masterson drugged the womenthe women were initially only allowed to describe their condition.
Masterson was not charged with drug use, and there was no toxicological evidence to support this claim. The issue could be a factor in a planned appeal of the defense of Masterson’s conviction.
The Associated Press typically does not name 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 written out of the series when an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department came to light the following year.
While these investigations began before a wave of women rocked Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Masterson’s conviction and conviction still represents a major #MeToo-era achievement for Los Angeles prosecutors condemnation of Weinstein himself last year.
Additional news alerts
Get current updates as soon as they happen.