Actor Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years in Life in Prison for Rape

A judge sentenced actor Danny Masterson to 30 years in prison for life for rape. "That '70s Show" star Danny Masterson was sentenced for the rape of two women two decades ago.

Danny Masterson speaks during a launch event for Netflix "The Ranch: Part 3" in Nashville, Tenn. on June 7, 2017 (Photo: Anna Webber / Getty Images for Netflix file)

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sentenced 47-year-old Masterson after hearing statements from the women about the trauma they experienced and the suffering caused by disturbing memories in later years.

Jury finds Masterson guilty of two counts

The actor, who has been detained since May, sat in court wearing a suit. Masterson watched the women with no visible reaction as they spoke.

"When you rape me, you steal from me," said one woman convicted of rape by Masterson in 2003. "That's what rape is all about, theft of life."

"You are pathetic, restless, and cruel," he said. "The world is better off if you are imprisoned."

Another woman found guilty of rape of Masterson said she "has not shown the slightest bit of remorse for the pain she has caused." She told the judge: "I knew he had to be behind bars for the safety of all the women he met. I am very sorry, and I am very disappointed. I hope I can report it to the police sooner."

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After a preliminary jury failed to reach a verdict on three rape charges in December and the cancellation of the trial was announced, prosecutors retried Masterson on all three charges earlier this year.

This time, a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberation. Both attacks took place at Masterson's Hollywood home in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom "That '70s Show."

They were unable to decide on the third count, allegations that Masterson also raped his longtime girlfriend. They voted 8-4 in favor of sentencing.

The judge sentenced the actor after dismissing a plea motion for a new hearing filed on Thursday morning. The defense sought to have the sentences served concurrently and asked for sentences of 15 years to life. Prosecutors asked for the full 30-year to life sentence Masterson is entitled to.

"His life will be affected by your decision today," Masterson's attorney, Shawn Holley, told the judge before sentencing. "And the life of her 9-year-old daughter, who means a lot to her, and to whom she means a lot."

"He has lived an exemplary life, he has been a wonderful father, husband, brother, son, co-worker, and public servant," Holley said.

Prosecutors allege Masterson used his standing at the Church of Scientology — of which the three women were also members at the time — to avoid consequences for decades after the attack.

The women blamed the church for their hesitation to report to the police about Masterson. They testified that when they reported her to Scientology officials, they were told that they were not raped, they were undergoing an ethics program, and warned against going to law enforcement to report such high-ranking members.

The Church said in a statement after the verdict that "the testimony and description of Scientology's beliefs" during the trial were "uniformly false."

"The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging its members from reporting the criminal acts of anyone — Scientology or not — to law enforcement," the statement said.

Masterson did not testify, and his lawyer did not call witnesses. The defense argued that the actions were consensual, and sought to discredit the women's stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them.

The women whose testimony led to Masterson's conviction said that in 2003, he gave them drinks and they then became dizzy or fainted before he viciously raped them.

Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers to say directly at the second trial that Masterson drugged the women, while only allowing the women to describe their conditions at the first trial.

Masterson was not charged with illegal drug use, and there is no toxicological evidence to support that assertion. The issue could factor into an appeal plan to defend Masterson's conviction.

The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they have been sexually assaulted.

Masterson starred as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in "That '70s Show" from 1998 to 2006.

He reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy "The Ranch," but was removed from the show when a Los Angeles Police Department investigation came to light the following year.

Although the investigation began before a wave of women rocked Hollywood with the story of Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the sentencing and sentencing of Masterson still represented a major success of the #MeToo era for Los Angeles prosecutors, along with the sentencing of Weinstein himself last year.

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