Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Raping Two Women – The Hollywood Reporter
Danny Masterson was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years to life in jail for the rapes of two girls in 2003, after a trial that drew widespread consideration due to allegations that the Church of Scientology dissuaded his accusers from reporting the sexual assaults.
Los Angeles Superior Court docket Decide Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence after denying a movement from Masterson, recognized for his function on That ’70s Present, for a brand new trial and listening to statements from accusers of how his actions impacted their lives.
The choice caps some of the high-profile instances of the #MeToo motion and marks one of many few cases a significant determine in Hollywood will serve time behind bars for intercourse crimes that occurred a big time period earlier than a prison case was filed over the allegations. Masterson was charged in June 2020 following a three-year investigation that was initiated when three girls got here ahead with accusations across the similar time Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of sexually assaulting a number of girls.
Shawn Holley, a lawyer representing Masterson, mentioned the actor will enchantment the conviction, pointing to a “variety of important evidentiary and constitutional points.”
Reinhold Mueller, a deputy district legal professional who led the prosecution, mentioned that the accusers had been “dedicated to justice.” He added, “At the moment, we received it.”
Masterson, who waived his proper to converse earlier than he was sentenced, confronted 30 years to life in jail. His legal professionals requested for the time period to be served concurrently fairly than consecutively to limit his sentence to 15 years to life, which the choose denied.
In Might, a jury of seven girls and 5 males discovered Masterson responsible of raping two girls at his Los Angeles residence in 2003. They had been break up on a cost relating to ex-girlfriend Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, who has publicly recognized herself as one in all Masterson’s accusers, with most favoring responsible, eight to 4. Prosecutors is not going to pursue a retrial on the break up cost, Mueller mentioned.
The prosecution pushed to have the Church of Scientology play a outstanding function within the trial. Masterson’s accusers claimed that the group discouraged them from reporting that they had been sexually assaulted. They testified that they feared being labeled a “suppressive individual” inside the church, which might lead to their expulsion and isolation from different members, and had been informed that the accusations could be internally dealt with.
Allegations towards the church had been allowed to be thought of to clarify why the accusers, all of whom are former Scientologists, didn’t contact legislation enforcement instantly after the alleged assaults.
When requested whether or not the group might face obstruction of justice expenses, Mueller mentioned, “I can’t verify or deny something about that.” He additionally denied accusations from the church that the prosecution was participating in spiritual discrimination.
The jurors reached a verdict after a mistrial was declared in November. Acquittal was favored on every of the costs: 10 to two, eight to 4 and 7 to 5. Within the first trial, prosecutors weren’t allowed to instantly argue that Masterson drugged his accusers. They might solely trace that was his technique of assault by testimony from the ladies, who mentioned the quantity they drank was not in keeping with their reminiscence loss or the diploma to which they felt intoxicated. Olmedo initially barred such claims due to the absence of toxicology studies to again them up.
Mueller mentioned the prosecution was ready to “overcome the rape myths we typically see,” in addition to potential doubts from jurors due to accusers reporting the assaults years after they occurred.
The protection didn’t name any witnesses. As an alternative, protection attorneys Phillip Cohen and Holley burdened to jurors discrepancies between police studies and testimony in addition to the absence of toxicology studies supporting accusations that Masterson drugged his accusers. They urged jurors to disregard proof relating to Scientology. Masterson maintained that he had consensual intercourse together with his accusers.
“The variety of errors on this case are substantial,” Holley mentioned.
The actor and Church of Scientology additionally face a civil case from the ladies, who declare that they’ve been harassed by members after reporting the rapes to legislation enforcement. Final yr, the Supreme Court docket turned down a bid by the church to deal with the case in arbitration. The case was paused till Masterson’s prison proceedings completed.
“Regardless of persistent harassment, obstruction and intimidation, these brave girls helped maintain a ruthless sexual predator accountable right this moment, and they don’t seem to be stopping there,” mentioned Alison Anderson, a lawyer for the ladies. “They’re keen to quickly inform the fuller story of how Scientology and its enablers tried desperately to preserve them from coming ahead.”
Leah Remini, who was within the courtroom throughout Masterson’s sentencing, sued the church in August in wide-ranging lawsuit alleging that she has been “stalked, surveilled, harassed, threatened, intimidated” and “has been the sufferer of intentional malicious and fraudulent rumors” to intimidate and silence her. Echoing accusations from Masterson’s accusers, she pointed to a “sequence of retaliatory actions” towards individuals and teams deemed an “enemy” of the church.
In an announcement in regards to the sentence, Remini mentioned, “Whereas Danny was the one one sentenced, his conviction and sentence are indictments towards Scientology, its operatives, and its prison chief, David Miscavige.”