One of Danny Masterson’s accusers delivered nearly six hours of tearful testimony on Tuesday, at a preliminary hearing to determine if a trial will be ordered against the actor and practicing Scientologist, the Los Angeles Times reports. Masterson was charged last June with raping three women by force or fear at the height of his fame in the early 2000s. He pleaded not guilty and has denied the allegations. The woman who took the stand alleged that Masterson assaulted her at his Hollywood home in 2003. According to a “Page Six” report on her testimony, the accuser said she and Masterson were in the same social circles because of their involvement with the Church of Scientology. Through sobs, she recalled taking a drink from Masterson and feeling so sick that she could not open her eyes. She alleged that he carried her upstairs, where she vomited and was put in the shower. “When I came to, he was on top of me,” she said according to the “Page Six” report. “The first thing I recall is grabbing his hair to pull him off.” According to her testimony, the That ’70s Show actor then raped her, despite her attempts to resist, allegedly threatening her at one point with a gun from his nightstand. Masterson reportedly took notes throughout the hearing.
The woman also testified that Scientology members attempted to silence her afterward and that she feared excommunication. A spokeswoman for Scientology denied that the church has any policy of suppressing claims of rape or that church members tried to discourage the woman from making a police report. During cross-examination, Masterson’s attorney cited the woman’s accounts in a 2004 police report and a Church of Scientology report filled out the year prior. She acknowledged differences, but said her accounts were truthful. The Times reported that two other accusers are expected to testify this week.
Public sexual-assault accusations against Masterson date back to 2016, when the Los Angeles Police Department investigated him after four women alleged that Masterson raped them in the early 2000s. An ex-girlfriend later came forward as a fifth victim. The allegations, which Masterson denied, did not lead to any legal repercussions at the time, though the actor was removed from Netflix’s show The Ranch and dropped by his talent agency. His accusers are part of a separate civil lawsuit filed in 2019 that names Danny Masterson, the Church of Scientology, and its leader, David Miscavige. The suit lists 14 accusations, focusing on systematic stalking intended to enforce the church’s alleged practices and dogma by intimidating assault survivors from coming forward. One accuser and her spouse said Scientology members poisoned their dog as a form of retaliation for speaking out about Masterson. In December 2020, a judge ruled that several of the civil complaints must be mediated by the Church of Scientology for “religious arbitration,” due to existing arbitration agreements between the parties and the church. The ruling did not affect a complaint from an accuser who was unaffiliated with Scientology, or Masterson’s criminal rape charges (which reportedly did not include two other alleged assaults, due to insufficient evidence and an expired statute of limitations). If convicted of three counts of rape by force or fear, Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison.