Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Raping Two Women

Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Raping Two Women

US actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” has been sentenced to serve 30 years to life in prison for the rape of two women. The case, which has raised questions about the Church of Scientology’s involvement, reached its conclusion in a courtroom in Los Angeles.

Masterson’s Conviction and Sentencing: Danny Masterson, aged 47, was found guilty of drugging and raping two women who were fellow members of the Church of Scientology between 2001 and 2003 at his residence in the upscale Hollywood Hills neighborhood. The verdict came after a retrial, as the first jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in 2022.

Judge Charlaine Olmedo handed down a sentence of 15 years to life for each rape conviction, to run consecutively, effectively sentencing Masterson to 30 years to life in prison. Throughout the trial, Masterson maintained his innocence, but the judge emphasized that he was not the victim in this case and that his actions had silenced his victims.

Impact Statements and Scientology’s Role: Ahead of the sentencing, the victims were allowed to read impact statements in court. Prominent former Scientologist and actress Leah Remini attended the hearing to support the women. One of the victims expressed regret for not reporting the crime earlier, while another forgave Masterson, stating that his “sickness is no longer mine to bear.”

Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Raping Two Women
Credit: Global News

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology had played a role in covering up the assaults, which the organization vehemently denied. All three of Masterson’s accusers were Scientologists at the time of the attacks, and some claimed they were discouraged by the Church from reporting the rapes to the police. One survivor even alleged that she was offered a payment of $400,000 and asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement by Scientology officials.

The Impact on Victims: Several of the victims described the emotional toll they endured after coming forward. One woman revealed that her mother, who is still a practicing Scientologist, had severed ties with her after she spoke out against Masterson. Despite facing harassment and intimidation, these women displayed tremendous strength and bravery by participating in the trials.

Masterson’s History: The allegations against Masterson first emerged in 2017, during the height of the #MeToo movement. He consistently denied the accusations, claiming that all encounters were consensual. Charges were filed after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, though charges in two other cases were not pursued due to insufficient evidence and statute of limitations.

Future Implications: Danny Masterson’s sentencing sends a powerful message about accountability for sexual assault, particularly within high-profile circles. The case also raises important questions about the influence of religious organizations in legal matters.

The Church of Scientology has consistently denied any wrongdoing and maintained that it does not discourage members from reporting criminal conduct to law enforcement. However, the trial’s focus on Scientology practices has prompted further scrutiny of the organization’s role in such cases.

As Danny Masterson begins his prison term, the conversation surrounding sexual assault, accountability, and the intersection of religion and justice continues to evolve.

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