Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Sexual Assault Case

On Thursday, actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, marking a significant conviction in the #MeToo era. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo issued the sentence after hearing heart-wrenching testimonials from the two women he was convicted of raping in 2003.

During the hearing, the victims confronted Masterson, expressing the enduring trauma and loss they experienced. One woman elucidated, “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.” Despite the claims, Masterson, who has remained in custody since May, maintained his innocence, showing no visible reaction during the testimonials. His defense plans to appeal the conviction, pointing out several “evidentiary and constitutional issues”.

Masterson faced retrial this year after an initial jury could not reach a verdict on three counts of rape last December, resulting in a mistrial. The recent trial culminated on May 31, finding him guilty on two counts but deadlocked on the third pertaining to an allegation involving a longtime girlfriend. Masterson waived his right to speak before the sentencing and showed no visible reaction post-verdict. His wife, Bijou Phillips, appeared distraught throughout the proceedings.

Masterson’s convictions stem from attacks that occurred at his Hollywood residence at the zenith of his fame. The defense had argued for a more lenient sentence, emphasizing the impact on Masterson’s life and his young daughter. However, the prosecution urged for the full extent of the sentence allowable by law. Judge Olmedo firmly reminded Masterson that he was “not the victim here,” urging him to reckon with his actions and their ramifications.

The victims, who were members of the Church of Scientology along with Masterson at the time of the attacks, accused the Church of delaying justice, attributing their initial reluctance to report to police to fears of ostracization within the Church community. One of the victims revealed the immense loss she encountered after reporting Masterson in 2004, which included being shunned by the Church. The Church has denied discouraging members from reporting criminal activities and refuted claims of harassing the victims.

Following the sentencing, the victims voiced a semblance of relief, with one stating, “I don’t have to carry your shame around with me anymore.” Masterson’s sentencing marks a notable victory in holding prominent figures accountable in the ongoing #MeToo movement, alongside last year’s conviction of Harvey Weinstein. Masterson’s career saw a downturn in 2017 amidst the LAPD investigation, leading to his removal from the Netflix comedy “The Ranch.”

Author: Chris Morris

Chris Morris

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Chris Morris

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