"That '70s Show" star Danny Masterson gets 30 years to life for rape

Actor Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison Thursday after a jury convicted him earlier this year of raping two women 20 years ago, according to the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Prosecutors said the rapes occurred in 2003 while Masterson, now 47, was starring in the hit sitcom “That ’70s Show.”

“This has been a long and arduous road for the victims of Mr. Masterson,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement to CBS News after the sentencing. “They not only survived his abuse, they also survived a system that is often not kind to victims.”

Masterson was convicted in May of raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman later that year, according to prosecutors. Both incidents happened at Masterson’s Hollywood Hills home.

Actor Danny Masterson arrives at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles on May 31, 2023.
Actor Danny Masterson arrives at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles on May 31, 2023.

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

CBS Los Angeles reports Masterson has been in custody since his conviction. No cameras were allowed in court during Thursday’s sentencing. According to The Associated Press, Masterson wore a suit in court as his accusers addressed him directly.

“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one of the women who Masterson was found guilty of attacking, according to the AP. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”

“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”

The other woman told Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo, “I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I am so sorry, and I’m so upset. I wish I’d reported him sooner to the police.”

The jury didn’t reach a unanimous decision on a third count that alleged Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend. Deliberations lasted for more than six days before Masterson was convicted on the two other counts.

Gascón said the three women were brave for coming forward.

“Their courage and strength have been an inspiration to us all,” Gascón said in a statement after Masterson was convicted. “While we are disappointed that the jury did not convict on all counts, we respect their decision.”

Late last year, Olmedo declared a mistrial after a different jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on any charges. 

In this year’s trial, Masterson didn’t testify, and his lawyers didn’t call any witnesses. Masterson’s attorneys said what happened between him and the women was consensual.

Masterson and his three accusers were all members of the Church of Scientology at the time of the incidents. The women testified that they reported Masterson to Scientology officials but were discouraged from going to the police and feared being excommunicated. The church denied blocking anyone from cooperating with authorities.

“I think the jury believed that, they believed the narrative that the Church of Scientology and its members would have retaliated against them if they had reported this,” CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson said following Masterson’s conviction. “And that’s why they waited, and that’s why they interacted with Danny Masterson in different ways and continued to interact with him.”

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