News Danny Masterson Receives 30 Years to Life in Prison After Rape Conviction
Danny Masterson Receives 30 Years to Life in Prison After Rape Conviction
Actor Danny Masterson, known for his roles in 'That '70s Show' and 'The Ranch,' has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following his conviction on two counts of forcible rape earlier this year. This high-profile case has concluded with a stern judgment from Judge Charlaine Olmedo in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Masterson, who consistently claimed his innocence, was accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003, coinciding with his tenure on "That '70s Show."
While he was convicted of two rapes in 2003, a verdict was not reached regarding an alleged incident in November 2001, despite jurors leaning toward conviction.
During the sentencing, the three survivors addressed the court, describing how Masterson's actions had devastated their lives. They portrayed him as a 'coward' and a 'heartless monster.' Masterson, dressed in a suit with slicked-back hair and a beard, remained silent throughout the proceedings.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo delivered a firm message, stating, 'Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that is why you are here.' She ordered Masterson to serve 15 years to life for each of the two charges consecutively.
Masterson's trial, which was a retrial following a hung jury in November 2022, introduced allegations of drugging.
The prosecution argued that Masterson had drugged the victims, differentiating it from the first trial. Both trials exposed the role of the Church of Scientology, with all three victims being former members. They testified that the church discouraged reporting sexual assault to law enforcement.
Leah Remini, a former Scientologist and outspoken critic of the church, attended the sentencing to support the survivors. She condemned Scientology's involvement, calling it a 'multi-billion-dollar criminal organization.'
The survivors revealed that the church actively discouraged them from reporting Masterson to the police, emphasizing his exploitation of his position within the church.
Masterson's defense downplayed Scientology's role throughout both trials, asserting that 'Scientology is not an element of this case.'
Masterson's defense team sought a 15-year sentence, highlighting his community service and role as a father. The prosecution pressed for the maximum 30 years to life, characterizing Masterson's crimes as 'targeted' and 'heinous.'
Following the sentencing, Masterson's attorney expressed their intention to appeal his conviction, citing substantial errors in the case.
Alison Anderson, the attorney representing two survivors, praised their courage and their determination to hold Masterson accountable for his actions.
In a powerful statement, one survivor expressed forgiveness for Masterson but asserted that he deserved to spend his life in prison, concluding, 'Your emptiness and your cowardice will be your true legacy. You are pathetic, disturbed, and extremely violent. The world is safer with you behind bars.'
A History of Allegations
The legal battle surrounding Danny Masterson began in 2017 when he faced accusations of sexual assault. These allegations eventually led to his arrest in June 2020, where he faced charges related to the rape of three women.
Initially, four women came forward in March 2017, alleging sexual assault by Masterson in the early 2000s. A fifth woman made similar claims in December 2017, stating she had been 'repeatedly raped' while dating the actor.
Three of the five alleged victims were Scientology members, which Masterson had been part of since childhood. The other two accusers had dated the actor at various times.
Masterson consistently professed his innocence, citing previous investigations that found the allegations without merit.
He lamented the presumption of guilt in the public eye once accusations were made. As the criminal case progressed, four of Masterson's accusers filed lawsuits against him in civil court in August 2019. They accused Masterson, along with the Church of Scientology and its leader, of stalking, invasion of privacy, and obstructing justice after they came forward.
Less than a year later, Masterson faced three counts of rape in his criminal case, as two cases lacked evidence and fell outside statutes of limitations. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced the charges, with Masterson potentially facing 45 years to life in prison if convicted.
The Los Angeles Police Department initiated an investigation in March 2017, prompted by multiple police reports and journalist Tony Ortega's accounts. Ortega reported allegations of rape, sodomy, or sexual assault from three women.
In one instance, a victim approached Leah Remini, a former Scientologist, who encouraged her to file a police report. Masterson's representatives denied all claims of sexual assault.
The sentencing marks the culmination of a long legal battle, bringing closure to a case that has garnered significant public attention.
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