A court on Thursday sentenced “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison as a result of the rapes of two women twenty years ago.
The 47-year-old Masterson was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo after the ladies spoke about the trauma they had endured and the anguish brought on by the upsetting recollections in the years that followed.
The actor, who has been detained since May, was in a suit as he sat in court. Masterson silently listened to the women as they spoke.
“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one woman who Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
The other woman Masterson was found guilty of raping said he “has 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 am so sorry, and I’m so upset. I wish I’d reported him sooner to the police.”
Prosecutors retried Masterson on all three counts earlier this year after an initial jury was unable to reach convictions on three counts of rape in December and a mistrial was declared.
This time, Masterson was convicted of two counts on May 31 by a jury made up of seven women and five men. At the height of his celebrity from the Fox network sitcom “That ’70s Show,” Masterson was the target of two separate attacks in 2003 that took place in his house in the Hollywood region.
On the third complaint, which claimed that Masterson allegedly sexually assaulted a longstanding girlfriend, they were unable to come to a conclusion. The verdict had received an 8-4 vote in favor.
After rejecting the defense’s plea for a new trial, which was debated earlier on Thursday, the court condemned the actor. The defense requested a sentence ranging from 15 years to life and asked that the terms for the two offenses be served concurrently. The entire punishment of 30 years to life that Masterson was deserving of was requested by the prosecution.
Authorities claimed that Masterson used his position of power within the Church of Scientology, of which all three women were at the time also members, to dodge punishment for years following the attacks.
The women attributed their reluctance to contact the police regarding Masterson to the church. They claimed that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were informed that they had not been sexually assaulted, sent through ethics training, and advised against reporting a high-ranking member to the police.
In a statement following the decision, the church said that the “testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” given during the trial were “uniformly false.”
No witnesses were cited by Masterson’s attorneys, and he declined to testify. The defense asserted that the acts were consensual and worked to undermine the women’s accounts by calling attention to changes and contradictions that they claimed indicated collaboration between the parties.
The women whose testimony resulted in Masterson’s conviction claimed that he offered them alcohol in 2003, causing them to get drunk or pass out, and then forcefully assaulted them.
Olmedo only let the ladies to describe their state in the first trial, but enabled the prosecution and accusers to directly state that Masterson drugged the women in the second trial.
There were no drug-related charges against Masterson, and there was no toxicology data to support the claim. The matter might come up in a future appeal from Masterson’s conviction defense.
People who claim they have been sexually abused are not routinely named by The Associated Press.
Masterson appeared in “That ’70s Show” from 1998 until 2006 alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace.
On the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” he had reconnected with Kutcher, but the project was abandoned when the results of a subsequent LAPD investigation became public knowledge.
Masterson’s conviction and punishment, combined with Harvey Weinstein’s conviction last year, signal a significant #MeToo era achievement for Los Angeles prosecutors, even though the probe started before a wave of women rattled Hollywood with accusations about him in October 2017.