Former “That 70’s Show” actor, Danny Masterson, has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following his conviction on two counts of forcible rape during his sexual assault retrial. The verdict was delivered on September 7th, capping a legal battle that had garnered significant attention.
The judge presiding over the case made it clear that Masterson was not the victim in this situation. Rather, he emphasized that Masterson’s actions two decades ago had taken away another person’s choice and voice. The gravity of Masterson’s crimes was underscored by the severity of the sentence.
Masterson’s legal troubles began when he was found guilty on two counts of rape during his second trial, which concluded on May 31. The charges stemmed from incidents in 2003 when he raped a 28-year-old woman in April and a 23-year-old woman later that same year. Both assaults occurred at Masterson’s Hollywood Hills residence.
What made this case particularly complex was the involvement of the Church of Scientology, to which Masterson and his accusers belonged at the time of the incidents. The victims testified that they had reported the assaults to Scientology officials but were discouraged from involving law enforcement and feared excommunication from the church. The church, however, denied any allegations of obstructing cooperation with authorities.
CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson commented on the case, suggesting that the jury may have believed the victims’ narrative that the Church of Scientology and its members would retaliate against them if they reported the crimes. This fear could explain why the victims waited to come forward and continued to interact with Masterson in various ways.
The case against Masterson, which involved allegations from multiple women, had garnered significant attention in the media and among advocates for survivors of sexual assault. The conviction and subsequent sentencing represent a significant moment in the #MeToo era, where the voices of survivors are increasingly being heard, even when facing powerful individuals or institutions.
In a statement following Masterson’s conviction, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón expressed gratitude to the three women who came forward to share their experiences, commending their courage and strength. He acknowledged the difficulty of the jury’s decision and thanked them for their service.