“Danny Masterson Receives 30-Year to Life Sentence for Two Rape Convictions”

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Masterson’s Sentencing for Rape

US actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” has received a prison sentence of 30 years to life for the rape of two women. His crimes occurred during the early 2000s when the TV series was on air.

Prosecutors Cite Masterson’s Use of Scientology Status

Prosecutors argued that Masterson, now 47, exploited his prominent standing within the Church of Scientology to evade accountability for his actions.

Victims Speak Out During Sentencing

Ahead of his sentencing, Judge Charlaine Olmedo permitted the victims to share impact statements in court. Notably, former Scientologist and actress Leah Remini attended the hearing, offering support to the women. One victim expressed regret for not reporting the crimes earlier, while another conveyed forgiveness to Masterson.

Masterson’s Reaction and Family’s Emotion

Throughout the hearing, Masterson remained silent. His wife, Bijou Phillips, visibly emotional, broke down in tears as the judge delivered the maximum penalty.

Conviction and Prison Custody

Masterson’s conviction came in May during a retrial, following an initial jury’s inability to reach a verdict in 2022. After his conviction, he was deemed a flight risk and taken into prison custody.

Masterson was found guilty of raping two of the three accusers, while charges related to the third accuser resulted in a mistrial, with prosecutors indicating no plans to retry that case.

Accusers’ Resilience and Church of Scientology Allegations

Two of the victims were represented by lawyer Alison Anderson, who praised their courage in facing a “ruthless sexual predator.” She noted their ongoing commitment to addressing the alleged involvement of the Church of Scientology during their abuse.

Impact on Victims by Scientology and Family

In court, one victim described how her mother, a practicing Scientologist, shunned her for coming forward. Another survivor reported years of harassment and privacy invasion by the Church of Scientology. Both women expressed their determination and lack of regret in speaking out.

Background and Charges

Masterson faced rape accusations starting in 2017, with charges brought after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Charges were not filed in two other cases due to insufficient evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations.

During the trial, prosecutors contended that the Church of Scientology assisted in concealing the assaults, an accusation vehemently denied by the organization. All three accusers, including Masterson, were Scientologists at the time of the crimes.

The Church of Scientology reportedly pressured one survivor to sign a non-disclosure agreement and accept a $400,000 payment in exchange for not reporting the rape to the police.

Scientology’s Role and Judge’s Decision

The trial saw discussions about Scientology’s doctrines and practices, which led to tension with the organization. The Church of Scientology vehemently denied allegations that it harassed the accusers.

Notable Attendees

Jessica Barth, founder of Voices in Action—an organization formed in the wake of the #MeToo movement—attended the sentencing. Barth was among those who accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of abuse. Her non-profit encourages survivors to report abuse.

Motion for New Trial Denied

Before the hearing, the judge denied a motion for a new trial presented by Masterson’s defense team.

Masterson’s sentencing marks a significant development in a high-profile case that has drawn attention to the intersection of celebrity, religion, and criminal justice.

SOURCE: Ref Image from The Independent

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