Actor Danny Masterson has been given a jail sentence of 30 years to life for raping two women 20 years ago.
Masterson, best known for his role in TV comedy That 70’s Show, was handed the prison term after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F Olmedo heard from the women he assaulted, who detailed their trauma and suffering.
The 47-year-old US actor, who has been in custody since May, sat in his suit without a reaction as the pair spoke.
“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one woman.
“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.”
The other woman, who he also raped in 2003, said Masterson “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.”
A mistrial was declared in December 2022 after a jury failed to reach a verdict on three rape counts, and he was retried on all charges.
He was found guilty by a majority decision of two counts on 31 May, after seven days of deliberations, but the jury could not reach a verdict on the third count allegedly involving another woman.
Masterson was sentenced after a defence motion for a new trial was rejected, with his lawyers trying to have the two convictions run concurrently at 15 years to life.
“It’s his life that will be impacted by what you decide today,” Masterson’s lawyer Shawn Holley told the judge.
“And the life of his nine-year-old daughter, who means the world to him, and to whom he means the world.
“He has lived an exemplary life, he has been an extraordinary father, husband, brother, son, co-worker and community servant.”
Prosecutors argued his position in the controversial Church of Scientology, where the two women and one alleged victim were also members, was used to avoid consequences afterwards, with the women blaming the organisation for their hesitancy in going to the police.
In a statement, the church said the “testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false”.
“The church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone – Scientologists or not – to law enforcement.”
Masterson did not testify, nor did his lawyers call any witnesses, with the defence instead arguing the acts were consensual.
The women, whose evidence led to his conviction, said that in 2003 Masterson gave them drinks that made them feel light-headed, before they passed out and he raped them.
That 70’s Show, which ran for eight series from 1998 to 2006, revolved around a group of teenage friends, and was set in 1970s Wisconsin.
Written by: Newsroom