LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge sentenced “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life on Thursday for the rapes of two women 20 years ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence against Masterson, 47, after hearing statements from the women about the trauma they experienced and the pain caused by the disturbing memories of the years that have passed. follow up.
The actor, in detention since May, was present in court in costume. Masterson watched the women with no visible reaction as they spoke.
“When you raped me, you robbed me,” said a woman Masterson was convicted of rape in 2003. “That’s rape, a theft of the mind.”
“You are pathetic, deranged and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison. »
The other woman, Masterson, who was convicted of rape, said he “didn’t show a shred 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’m so sorry and I’m so upset. I wish I had reported him to the police sooner.
After a first jury failed to rule on three counts of rape in December and the trial was declared a mistrial, prosecutors retried Masterson on all three counts earlier this year.
This time, a jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty on two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberation. Both attacks took place at Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003, when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom “That ’70s Show.”
They could not reach a verdict on the third count, an allegation that Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend. They had voted 8 to 4 in favor of conviction.
The judge sentenced the actor after denying a defense request for a new trial that took place earlier Thursday. The defense requested that the sentences for both convictions be run concurrently and requested a sentence of 15 years to life. The prosecution sought the 30 years to life sentence Masterson was eligible for.
“It’s his life that will be affected by what you decide today,” Masterson’s attorney, Shawn Holley, told the judge before sentencing. “And the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who means everything to him and who he means everything to.”
“He lived an exemplary life, he was an amazing father, husband, brother, son, colleague and community servant,” Holley said.
Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology – of which the three women were also members at the time – to avoid consequences for decades after the attacks.
The women blamed the Church for their reluctance to come to 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 themselves had been put through ethics programs and that had warned them not to go to law enforcement to report a member of such a position.
The Church said in a statement after the verdict that the “testimonies and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false.”
“The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting the criminal conduct of anyone – Scientologist or not – to law enforcement,” the statement said.
Masterson did not testify and his lawyers did not call any witnesses. The defense argued the acts were consensual and attempted to discredit the women’s accounts by pointing out 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 something to drink and they then became dizzy or passed out before he violently raped them.
Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers to say directly in the second trial that Masterson had drugged the women, while allowing only the women to describe their condition in the first.
Masterson was not charged with any drug counts and there was no toxicology evidence to support this claim. The issue could be a factor in a planned defense appeal of Masterson’s conviction.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted.
Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace on “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006.
He reunited with Kutcher in the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” but was written off the series when a Los Angeles Police Department investigation came to light the following year.
While this investigation began before a wave of women shook Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, Masterson’s conviction still represents a major turning point #Me too great success for Los Angeles prosecutors, as well as the conviction of Weinstein himself last year.