That ’70s Show sitcom actor Danny Masterson has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for drugging and raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home 20 years ago.
Masterson – who was a Scientologist – was convicted in May earlier this year and sentenced on Thursday 7 September for drugging and raping two former church members at his house in the Hollywood Hills between 2001 and 2003, as per Reuters.
Masterson’s accusers, who are both former Scientologists, said that the Church of Scientology organisation had discouraged them from involving law enforcement.
The Church of Scientology went on to deny the claim, stating that Masterson’s religious beliefs should not have been an issue in the case, adding that it was an “unprecedented violation of the First Amendment”, as per Reuters.
Masterson’s first victim, identified as Jane Doe 1 reported that her mother (who had raised her daughter into the Church of Scientology) disowned her after she had criticised the group during trial.
“I didn’t choose to be born in Scientology just like I didn’t choose to be raped,” she said, as per Reuters.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo sentenced Masterson to 15-years to life on each count of rape, to run consecutively. Reports detail that Masterson shared no reaction in court and declined the offer to speak after his victims had given their statements.
One of Masterson’s victims, identified as Jane Doe 2, addressed him in court:
“You relish… hurting women.”
“You lived your life behind a mask as two people. But the real one sits here,” she said, adding that the world is a safer place with Masterson behind bars.
“I forgive you. Your sickness is no longer mine to bear,” said Jane Doe 2 in the case.
The victims went on to tell the judge Olmedo Masterson has ruined their lives, pleading that he receive a life sentencing in prison for his actions.
According to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller the victims were “strong, they were committed to making sure that justice gets served and today they got it…”
According to reports by News24, Masterson was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life upon his release from prison after completing his two consecutive 15-year sentences.
Defense attorney Shawn Holley concluded by stating that Masterson would appeal based what she described as “substantial errors in the case.”
Masterson first rose to fame in 1998 playing the character Steven Hyde in the sitcom, That ’70s Show, alongside Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. In 2017, Masterson co-starred along Kutcher again in Netflix sitcom, The Ranch, but was fired from the show later that year after LA police confirmed they were investigating multiple rape allegations against Masterson.
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