Danny Masterson, star of ‘That ’70s Show’, recently received 30 years to life imprisonment. Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo of the Los Angeles Superior Court passed the sentence on Thursday. This decision follows Masterson’s rape of two women over two decades ago.
Masterson was in custody since May of this year. He wore a suit during the court’s proceedings. Onlookers noticed no visible reaction from him as the victims spoke.
One victim shared that Masterson deprived her of her spirit through the rape. She called Masterson pathetic and violent and said the world was safer with him imprisoned. The other victim expressed regret for not reporting Masterson sooner. She also noted that Masterson showed no remorse for his actions.
Masterson first faced trial in December but a mistrial occurred when an initial jury couldn’t reach a verdict. The prosecution then retried him on three counts of rape. After the retrial, the jury found him guilty of two counts on May 31.
The jurors could not reach a verdict concerning the allegation of Masterson raping a long-term girlfriend. The jury was split 8-4 in favor of his conviction for this count. Judge Olmedo denied the defense’s request for concurrent sentences and a new trial.
Masterson’s lawyer, Shawn Holley, described him as an exemplary person and highlighted the impact of imprisonment on his nine-year-old daughter. Masterson belonged to the Church of Scientology and prosecutors claimed this standing helped him evade consequences for his actions.
The victims also accused the church of discouraging them from reporting Masterson. However, the church denied these allegations following the verdict. Masterson and his defense team insisted that the events were consensual, citing inconsistencies in the victims’ accounts.
At his second trial, prosecutors were authorized to assert Masterson drugged his victims. The victims also claimed he raped them while they were drowsy or unconscious. No toxicology evidence supported this claim, and it could be pivotal in a planned appeal from Masterson’s defense.
Masterson started his acting career on ‘That ’70s Show’ in 1998. He co-starred alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace. He later joined Kutcher in Netflix’s comedy show ‘The Ranch’. However, he was removed from the show following an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Masterson’s arrest happened before the #MeToo movement took off. His conviction signifies a significant win for Los Angeles prosecutors. This includes the conviction of Harvey Weinstein last year.