'That '70s Show' actor Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for rape
Masterson, 47, has continued to profess his innocence and has vowed to appeal his convictions
September 8, 2023 8:45am
Updated: September 8, 2023 8:45am
"That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Thursday after he was convicted of two rapes earlier this year in May.
Masterson, 47, has continued to profess his innocence and has vowed to appeal his convictions, Just the News reported.
I know that you’re sitting here steadfast in your claims of innocence, and thus no doubt feeling victimized by a justice system that has failed you. But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice, and choice. One way or another you will have to come to terms with your prior actions, and their consequences,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo in a direct address to the actor.
Masterson is a well-known member of the Church of Scientology, a religion founded in 1953 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard who believed there was a dangerous extraterrestrial presence on Earth.
The religion has become popular among prominent members of the Hollywood entertainment community with loyal followings from stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Other actors such a Leah Rimini have come forward and denounced the religion as dangerous and even produced or given interviews to documentaries on the matter.
In the Masterson rape cases, the victims were members of the church at the time. During the trial, prosecutors alleged that the victims reported the rapes to Scientology officials and that the church discouraged them from reporting the incidents to police.
Masterson was also accused of raping his former girlfriend, but the Los Angeles jury did not reach a verdict on those charges.
The actor’s attorneys requested the court run the sentences concurrently, totaling 15 years instead of 30, but judge denied the motion.
"Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted," said attorney Shawn Holley after the sentencing.
"For the past several months, a team of the top appellate lawyers in the country has been reviewing transcripts of the trial. They have identified a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues which they will address in briefs to both state and federal appellate courts," Holley told journalists after the trial, according to Hollywood scribe, Deadline.
“The errors which occurred in this case are substantial and unfortunately led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence. And though we have great respect for the jury in this case and for our system of justice overall, sometimes they get it wrong. And that’s what happened here,” Holley said.