‘That ‘70s Show’ Star Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Rape
Earlier today, former That ‘70s Show star Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life after being found guilty of two counts of forcible rape, 20 years after the high-ranking Scientologist committed the heinous crimes.
On May 31, 2023, Masterson was found guilty for the two separate counts, though a third forcible rape charge resulted in a hung jury. The sentence that the 47-year-old actor received today from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo was the maximum allowed by law for the two crimes for which he was convicted, and it came after Olmedo rejected a motion from Masterson’s defense team requesting a new trial. Masterson maintains his innocence, and he and his lawyers intend to appeal the decision.
“I know that you’re sitting here steadfast in your claims of innocence, and thus no doubt feeling victimized by a justice system that has failed you,” Olmedo told Masterson at today’s proceedings. “But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice, and choice. One way or another you will have to come to terms with your prior actions, and their consequences.”
Olmedo made her sentencing decision after hearing statements from the two women whom Masterson raped, with one addressing her attacker, “When you raped me, you stole from me. That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit. … You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent. The world is better off with you in prison.”
However, Masterson’s defense attorney, celebrity lawyer Shawn Holley, claimed in a statement that “Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted,” and that her team had identified “a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues” with the convictions, which she claims will help exonerate her client on appeal.
Wrapped up in Masterson’s ugly history of reprehensible behavior is the alleged role that the Church of Scientology played in enabling Masterson to commit his crimes and evade consequences for two decades after the attacks in question occurred. Masterson’s previous legal team had been sanctioned by the judge for leaking confidential discovery information to an attorney defending the Church in a related civil suit, and one woman involved in the Masterson case who had grown up in the Church claimed that the organization retaliated against her after she contacted authorities about his actions in 2004.
“I lost everything. I lost my religion. I lost my ability to contact anyone I’d known or loved my entire life,” the woman said. “I didn’t exist outside the Scientology world. I had to start my life all over at 29. It seemed the world I knew didn’t want me to live.”
Scientology officials deny harassing any of the women involved in the case and claimed that there is “no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement.”