Actor Danny Masterson was handed a 30-year sentence on Wednesday, September 7, 2023, following his conviction in May on three counts of rape by force or fear.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo of the Los Angeles County Superior Court handed down consecutive sentences of 15 years to life in state prison for each count to Masterson, resulting in 30 years of incarceration.
“Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, which is why you are here,” Judge Olmedo told Masterson at the sentencing hearing.
The actor, aged 46, recognized for portraying Steven Hyde on the sitcom “That ’70s Show,” faced allegations of raping three women at his Hollywood Hills residence from 2001 to 2003. The victims were all Scientologists then, and said the Church discouraged them from contacting police.
In May 2023, after a nearly three-month trial, a Los Angeles jury found Masterson guilty on all three counts of forcible rape. During the trial, the three women emotionally testified about meeting Masterson through the Church of Scientology and the trauma they faced after the assaults.
Masterson’s wife, actress Bijou Phillips, was seen leaving the courthouse wearing sunglasses and accompanied by an unidentified man shortly after the sentencing. She appeared solemn but continued to wear her wedding ring to support her husband.
The high-profile case against Masterson sparked intense public scrutiny, especially in light of the #MeToo movement. Several celebrities commented on the verdict, including actress Leah Remini, a former Scientologist who has become an outspoken critic of the secretive organization.
“Sitting in court today with the women who survived Danny Masterson’s predation was a surreal experience. Over the past seven decades, former Scientologists have sadly become used to Scientology using its financial resources, religious protection, and relationships to snatch justice away from them,” Remini said in a statement.
Despite pressure from the Church of Scientology, she applauded the victims for coming forward. “The women who survived Danny’s predation fought tirelessly for justice. Their tenacity, strength, and courage have given hope to all victims of Scientology that justice is possible. For that, we will forever be grateful,” Remini added.
Masterson maintains his innocence; his attorneys have stated they plan to appeal the conviction. The actor has been in custody since his arrest in June 2020 and throughout the trial.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, responsible for prosecuting the case, praised the victims for their bravery in coming forward to testify. District Attorney Jackie Lacey stated in a post-verdict announcement, “We commend the victims for their courage in speaking out and reporting these assaults.”
Masterson rose to fame in the late 1990s for his role as the rebellious Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show” alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace. He later starred in the Netflix series “The Ranch” but was written off the show in 2017 after the rape allegations surfaced.