Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for rape

The actor was found guilty on two counts of rape in May

Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after being convicted on two counts of rape.

The actor, who is best known for starring in US sitcom That ‘70s Show and Netflix series The Ranch, was convicted on two of three rape charges at a re-trial in May after the first jury was unable to reach a verdict in 2022.

Masterson was accused of raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003, during the time when That ‘70s Show was on air. At the re-trial, the jury found him guilty of raping two women in 2003, but charges brought forward by the third accuser from November 2001 were declared a mistrial. The actor pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Speaking at the sentencing in Los Angeles on Thursday (September 7), Judge Charlaine Olmedo (via Variety) said: “Mr. Masterson, you are not a victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that is why you are here.”

The judge sentenced Masterson for 15 years to life on each of the two charges, with the actor ordered to serve both terms consecutively.

Danny Masterson
Danny Masterson and his wife Bijou Phillips at the retrial in May 2023. CREDIT: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

During the trial, prosecutors argued Masterson had used his “untouchable” position in the Church of Scientology to avoid accountability for raping women. All three accusers were Scientologists at the time of their assaults, but have since left the church.

Several of the women claimed that Church officials discouraged them from reporting the rape to the police. In a statement following the verdict in May, the Church said there was “not a scintilla of evidence supporting the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers”.

Masterson’s defence, which downplayed the role of Scientology throughout, asked the judge for a 15-year sentence, calling for the court to consider his community service work and his role as an “extraordinary father” to his nine-year-old daughter. The prosecution, however, asked for 30 years to life, calling his crimes “targeted” and “heinous”.

Prior to the sentencing, one of the women told the courtroom she forgives Masterson, but believes he should be in prison for the rest of his life.

“I don’t have to carry around your shame around with me,” she said in court. “Now, you have to carry it. You have to sit in a cell and carry it. Your emptiness and your cowardice will be your true legacy. You are pathetic, disturbed and extremely violent. The world is safer with you behind bars.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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