In a groundbreaking development, actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role on the hit sitcom “That ’70s Show,” has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rape of two women. This verdict follows a tumultuous legal battle that has spanned several years.
The sentencing announcement was accompanied by a statement from District Attorney George Gascón, who highlighted the resilience of the survivors. “This has been a long and arduous road for the victims of Mr. Masterson,” Gascón stated. “They not only survived his abuse, they also survived a system that is often not kind to victims.”
Masterson, a member of the Church of Scientology, had been under scrutiny since 2017 when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) initiated an investigation into the matter, ultimately leading to charges in June 2020. Masterson was accused of raping three women, including his former girlfriend, in his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. Notably, all three women had connections to the Church of Scientology.
During the court proceedings, one of the survivors addressed Masterson directly, saying, “You are pathetic, disturbed, and completely violent,” as reported by The Associated Press.
The legal process faced a significant setback when a previous trial resulted in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury. However, prosecutors pressed forward, retried Masterson in May, and presented evidence that he had allegedly drugged the women’s drinks. Additionally, it was revealed that the Church of Scientology had attempted to silence the survivors.
The jury ultimately found Masterson guilty of two counts of rape but could not reach a verdict on the allegation that he had raped his longtime girlfriend.
Masterson’s career had seen notable success with roles in “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch,” alongside fellow “That ’70s Show” alum Ashton Kutcher. However, he was written off “The Ranch” in 2017 following the initial allegations, effectively ending his acting career.
This case has garnered widespread attention for its implications regarding sexual assault survivors’ pursuit of justice, as well as the role of powerful organizations in suppressing such allegations. As the survivors begin to heal and move forward, this landmark sentencing serves as a significant step toward addressing the broader issue of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and beyond.