UNITED STATES NEWS

‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson could get decades in prison at sentencing for 2 rapes

Sep 6, 2023, 9:28 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson could get as much as 30 years to life in prison at his sentencing Thursday for the rapes of two women two decades ago.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo is set to sentence the 47-year-old actor after ruling on a defense motion for a new trial that she’s very likely to reject, and after hearing impact statements from the victims.

A jury of seven women and five men found Masterson guilty of two counts on May 31 after seven days of deliberations. Both attacks took place in Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003, when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom “That ’70s Show.”

The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on a third count, an allegation that Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend.

The verdict came in a second trial after a jury failed to reach verdicts on three counts of forcible rape in December and a mistrial was declared.

Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology — where all three women were also members at the time — to avoid consequences for decades after the attacks.

The women blamed the church for their hesitancy in going to police about Masterson. They testified that when they reported him to Scientology officials, they were told they were not raped, were put through ethics programs themselves, and were warned against going to law enforcement to report a member of such high standing.

“They were raped, they were punished for it, and they were retaliated against,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors at the trial. “Scientology told them there’s no justice for them.”

The church said in a statement after the verdict that the “testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false.”

“The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement,” the statement said.

Masterson did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual, and attempted to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting 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 drinks and that they then became woozy or passed out before he violently raped them.

Olmedo allowed prosecutors and accusers to say directly in the second trial that Masterson drugged the women, while only allowing the women to describe their condition in the first.

Masterson was not charged with any counts of drugging, and there was no toxicology evidence to back up the assertion. The issue could be a factor in a planned appeal from the defense of Masterson’s conviction.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they’ve been sexually abused.

Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in “That ’70s Show” from 1998 until 2006.

He had reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy “The Ranch,” but was written off the show when an LAPD investigation was revealed the following year.

While that investigation began before a wave of women shook Hollywood with stories about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the conviction and sentencing of Masterson still represents a major #MeToo era success for Los Angeles prosecutors, along with the conviction of Weinstein himself last year.

United States News

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2024, in Washington...

Associated Press

Biden is summoning congressional leaders to the White House to talk Ukraine and government funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will convene the top four congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday to press lawmakers on passing an emergency aid package for Ukraine and Israel, as well as averting a looming government shutdown next month, according to a White House official. The top four leaders include House Speaker […]

26 minutes ago

Associated Press

Warm weather brings brings a taste of spring to central and western United States

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A warm front swept springlike weather across a large swath of the country Sunday in what is usually one of the coldest months of the year, sending people out of their homes to enjoy the rare winter respite but also bringing increased wildfire danger. In Omaha, Nebraska, the temperature Sunday broke […]

56 minutes ago

A portion of UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)...

Tom Kuebel

Cyber attack on health insurance provider could prevent Arizonans from getting prescriptions

A cyber attack against Change Healthcare has prevented some patients from being able to fill prescriptions at local pharmacies.

1 hour ago

Stuart Dryden reaches for an item at a grocery store on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Arlington, Va....

Associated Press

Consumers are pushing back against price increases at stores — and winning

Consumers are fighting back against food price increases by turning their backs on high-end brands and purchasing store-label products instead.

7 hours ago

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

What would happen without a Leap Day? More than you might think

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

18 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson could get decades in prison at sentencing for 2 rapes