According to media reports, US actor Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in jail for raping two women. Masterson appeared on ‘That 70’s Show,’ a TV show that aired during the time of his crimes in the early 2000s, according to The BBC on Thursday. Prosecutors claimed Masterson, 47, used his celebrity as a Scientologist to evade accountability.
Before punishment, Judge Charlaine Olmedo permitted the victims of his acts to read impact statements in court. Leah Remini, a prominent former Scientologist and actress, attended Thursday’s sentence session and consoled the ladies before and after their comments. According to US media, one of the women said, “I wished I had reported him earlier to the police.”
Another woman told Masterson: “I forgive you. Your sickness is no longer mine to bear,” according to Reuters.
Masterson remained silent throughout the hearing, The BBC reported. As the judge read his sentence — the maximum penalty allowed — his wife, Bijou Phillips, was seen in court breaking down in tears.
Masterson was found guilty at a retrial in May after the first jury failed to reach a judgement in 2022. Masterson was deemed a flight risk after his conviction and was brought into custody. The actor was convicted after three women testified that he sexually attacked them at his Hollywood home between 2001 and 2003, when he was at the peak of his television celebrity.
The jury was told that he had given them narcotics before assaulting them. He was convicted of rape by two of his three accusers. The third accuser’s allegations were declared a mistrial, and prosecutors stated that they do not intend to retry the case.
Alison Anderson, a lawyer representing two of the victims, said in a statement sent to BBC News that the women “have displayed tremendous strength and bravery, by coming forward to law enforcement and participating directly in two gruelling criminal trials”.
“Despite persistent harassment, obstruction, and intimidation, these courageous women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today,” she said, adding that the women will continue to speak out about the role the church allegedly played during their abuse, The BBC reported.
In court on Thursday, one woman described being shunned by her mother, who is still a practicing Scientologist. “She texted me and told me to never contact her again,” she said, reported the LA Times. “She had warned me ahead of time she wanted to see Danny Masterson locked away for what he’d done to me, but not at the expense of her religion.”
Another woman said she had been victimised by the church ever since she first spoke out. “Since the week I came forward to police I have been terrorised, harassed and had my privacy invaded daily by the cult of Scientology for almost seven years now,” she said, adding: “But I don’t regret it.”