LOS ANGELES (AP) — That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson When he was sentenced on Thursday for the rape of two women two decades ago, he faced a life sentence of up to 30 years.
Los Angeles Superior Court Justice Charlaine F. Olmedo is expected to sentence the 47-year-old actress after ruling on a defense motion for a new trial, which she will most likely deny, and after hearing victims’ accounts of the consequences .
A jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 seven days of deliberations. Both attacks happened at Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show.
On a third point, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, a claim Masterson also made raped a longtime friend.
The verdict came at a second trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict in three counts of violent rape in December A mistrial has been declared.
Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology – of which all three women were also members at the time – to avoid repercussions in the decades after the attacks.
The women blamed the church for their reluctance to contact the police about Masterson. They testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told that they had not been raped, that they had undergone ethics programs themselves, and that they were warned not to contact law enforcement about a to display such high-ranking member.
“They were raped, they were punished for it and there were reprisals against them,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told the jury at the trial. “Scientology has told them there is no justice for them.”
The church said in a statement after the verdict that the “statements and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” made during the trial were “consistently false.”
“The Church has no policy prohibiting or preventing members from reporting criminal conduct by anyone – Scientologist or not – to law enforcement,” the statement said.
Masterson did not testify and his attorneys did not call witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual, and attempted to be discredit women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time that they felt showed signs of coordination between them.
The women whose testimony led to Masterson’s conviction said he gave them drinks in 2003 and they then became dazed or passed out before violently raping them.
Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers to say so directly at the second trial Masterson drugged the womenthe women were initially only allowed to describe their condition.
Masterson was not charged with drug use, and there was no toxicological evidence to support this claim. The issue could be a factor in a planned appeal of the defense of Masterson’s conviction.
The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually abused.
Masterson starred on That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006 along with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace.
He reunited with Kutcher in the 2016 Netflix comedy The Ranch, but was pulled from the series when an LAPD investigation came to light the following year.
While these investigations began before a wave of women rocked Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Masterson’s conviction and conviction still represents a major #MeToo-era achievement for Los Angeles prosecutors condemnation of Weinstein himself last year.