Danny Masterson Found Guilty of Rape: Verdict and Sentencing Explained

Danny Masterson Found Guilty of Rape

Actor Danny Masterson has been found guilty on two out of three counts of rape by a jury in Los Angeles. Masterson, known for his role in the TV series That ’70s Show, could face up to 30 years in prison and was taken into custody with handcuffs after the verdict. The charges stemmed from accusations made by three women, all former members of the Church of Scientology, who claimed that Masterson sexually assaulted them at his Hollywood home between 2001 and 2003.

Prosecutors argued that Masterson had used his status as a prominent Scientologist to evade accountability. However, the jury was deadlocked at 8-4 on the third count, leading to an inability to reach a verdict after a week of deliberations. One of Masterson’s victims, who was raped in 2003, expressed a mix of emotions, including relief, exhaustion, strength, and sadness, knowing that her abuser would face consequences for his actions.

Masterson’s wife, actress and model Bijou Phillips, reportedly wept as he was led away, while other family members and friends remained impassive. This was Masterson’s second trial, as the first jury in a previous trial failed to reach a verdict in December 2022. Prosecutors opted to retry the case, and this time the judge allowed the presentation of new evidence that had been excluded from the initial trial.

Although Masterson was not charged with drugging his victims, the jury heard testimony that the women had been drugged before the sexual assaults occurred. The actor faced his first rape accusation in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement, and he responded by emphasizing that he had not been charged or convicted of a crime and criticized the presumption of guilt that accompanies accusations.

The charges against Masterson came after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Prosecutors did not file charges in two other cases due to insufficient evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations. During the trial, prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology had assisted in covering up the assaults, an allegation vehemently denied by the organization. All three accusers, including Masterson, were members of the Church at the time of the assaults. The prosecution claimed that the Church discouraged the women from reporting the rapes to the police, insisting they rely on the Church’s internal justice system instead.

According to prosecutors, one survivor was threatened with expulsion from the Church unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement and accepted a payment of $400,000 (£320,000). The trial allowed discussions about the doctrines and practices of Scientology, despite the Church not being a defendant in the case. The defence attempted to challenge the credibility of the accusers, highlighting inconsistencies in their testimonies and suggesting they were motivated by a desire for revenge against the Church.

Masterson’s defence lawyer, during closing arguments, questioned the truthfulness of the survivors, pointing out various possible motives. The Church of Scientology, although not directly involved in the case, expressed dissatisfaction with its portrayal during the retrial through a lawyer connected to the organization, who emailed the district attorney’s office. The defence further argued that the prosecution heavily relied on testimony related to drugging due to a lack of evidence regarding physical force or violence.

Masterson’s lawyers sought a mistrial but were unsuccessful. The guilty verdict on two counts marks a significant development in the case, and the sentencing phase will determine the punishment Masterson will receive for his crimes.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dishaa T is a dedicated writer at Famouslifestylz.com, where she tirelessly pursues her passion for reporting on the latest happenings in the world of Celebrity Gossip. With an unwavering commitment to providing comprehensive updates, Dishaa keeps readers informed about awards, net worth, the newest fashion trends, intriguing rumors, and the latest social media buzz. Her expertise and dedication ensure that readers can rely on her for nuanced and up-to-date reports from the glamorous realm of celebrities.

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