‘That ’70s Present’ actor Danny Masterson could get decades in prison at sentencing for 2 rapes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A choose sentenced “That ’70s Present” present star Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison Thursday for raping two girls, giving them some aid after they spoke in courtroom in regards to the decades of injury he inflicted.
“Once you raped me, you stole from me,” mentioned one lady who Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
“You might be pathetic, disturbed and utterly violent,” she mentioned. “The world is best off with you in prison.”
Los Angeles Superior Court docket Decide Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence to the 47-year-old Masterson after listening to statements from the ladies, and pleas for equity from protection attorneys.
The actor, who has been in custody since Could, sat in courtroom sporting a go well with. Masterson watched the ladies with out seen response as they spoke. He maintains his innocence and his attorneys plan to attraction.
The opposite lady Masterson was discovered responsible of raping mentioned he “has not proven an oz of regret for the ache he induced.” She instructed the choose, “I knew he belonged behind bars for the security of all the ladies he got here into contact with. I’m so sorry, and I’m so upset. I want I’d reported him sooner to the police.”
After an preliminary jury failed to achieve verdicts on three counts of rape in December and a mistrial was declared, prosecutors retried Masterson on all three counts earlier this yr.
Masterson waived his proper to talk earlier than he was sentenced and had no seen response after the choose’s determination, nor did the numerous members of the family sitting beside him. His spouse, actor Bijou Phillips, was tearful earlier in the listening to.
At his second trial, a jury discovered Masterson responsible of two of three rape counts on Could 31. Each assaults happened in Masterson’s Hollywood-area house in 2003, when he was at the peak of his fame on the Fox community sitcom “That ’70s Present.”
They could not attain a verdict on the third depend, an allegation that Masterson additionally raped a longtime girlfriend.
The choose sentenced the actor after rejecting a protection movement for a brand new trial that was argued earlier Thursday. The sentence was the utmost allowed by regulation. It means Masterson shall be eligible for parole after serving 25 1/2 years, however might be held in prison for life.
“I do know that you just’re sitting right here steadfast in your claims of innocence, and thus little question feeling victimized by a justice system that has failed you,” Olmedo instructed Masterson earlier than handing down the sentence. “However Mr. Masterson, you aren’t the sufferer right here. Your actions 20 years in the past took away one other individual’s voice, and selection. A technique or one other you’ll have to come to phrases together with your prior actions, and their penalties.”
The protection sought to have sentences for the 2 convictions run concurrently, and requested for a sentence of 15 years to life. The prosecution requested for the complete 30 years to life sentence Masterson was eligible for.
“It’s his life that shall be impacted by what you determine at present,” Masterson’s lawyer Shawn Holley instructed the choose earlier than the sentencing. “And the lifetime of his 9-year-old daughter, who means the world to him, and to whom he means the world.”
After the listening to, Holley mentioned in an announcement that “Mr. Masterson didn’t commit the crimes for which he was convicted.” She mentioned a workforce of appellate attorneys has recognized “quite a few important evidentiary and constitutional points” along with his convictions, which they’re assured shall be overturned.
Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology — the place all three girls had been additionally members at the time — to keep away from penalties for decades after the assaults, and the ladies blamed the church for their hesitancy in going to police about Masterson.
On the sentencing listening to, one of many girls, who like Masterson was born into the church, mentioned she was shunned and ostracized for going to authorities in 2004.
“I misplaced the whole lot. I misplaced my faith. I misplaced my capacity to contact anybody I’d identified or beloved my whole life,” she mentioned. “I didn’t exist outdoors the Scientology world. I needed to begin my life throughout at 29. It appeared the world I knew didn’t need me to dwell.”
The church mentioned in an announcement after the trial that it has “no coverage prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting legal conduct of anybody — Scientologists or not — to regulation enforcement.” It has additionally denied ever harassing any of the ladies.
No fees got here from the girl’s 2004 police report, however she returned to authorities when she discovered they had been investigating Masterson once more in 2016. The opposite two girls had waited greater than 15 years earlier than reporting him to anybody aside from church officers.
The ladies testified at each trials that in 2003, they had been at Masterson’s house when he drugged them earlier than violently raping them.
They mentioned Thursday that the trauma plagued them for the decades that adopted, hurting their relationships and filling their lives with concern. However they mentioned his sentencing gave them some aid.
“I don’t have to hold your disgrace round with me anymore,” the primary lady who spoke mentioned. “Now it’s a must to maintain that disgrace. It’s important to sit in a cell and maintain it.”
Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in “That ’70s Present” from 1998 till 2006.
He had reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” however was written off the present when the Los Angeles Police Division investigation was revealed the next yr.
Whereas that investigation started earlier than a wave of ladies shook Hollywood with tales about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the conviction and sentencing of Masterson nonetheless represents a significant #MeToo period success for Los Angeles prosecutors, together with the conviction of Weinstein himself final yr.
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