Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Prison for Raping Two Women

Danny Masterson. Photo: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women in 2003. Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo gave the sentence after hearing statements from women who suffered at the hands of Masterson. He received the maximum possible sentence for his conviction. “Mr. Masterson, I know that you’re sitting here steadfast in your claims of innocence, and thus no doubt feeling victimized by a justice system that has failed you,” Olmedo told Masterson before giving the sentence, according to the Associated Press. “But, Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. One way or another, you will have to come to terms with your prior actions and their consequences.” She added, “You were not convicted based on rumors, innuendo, gossip, and speculation,” per court reporter Meghann Cuniff. The sentencing started the morning of September 7, and Masterson’s family appeared in support. A jury found the That ’70s Show actor guilty of two counts of rape in May following seven days of deliberation at the Los Angeles Superior Court, and he has been in jail since.

The district attorney’s office said “justice was served” in a statement shared after the sentencing. “This has been a long and arduous road for the victims of Mr. Masterson,” Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “They not only survived his abuse, they also survived a system that is often not kind to victims. This was a very difficult case but due to their hard work, experience and commitment, justice was finally served today. One of my top priorities is to ensure that Los Angeles will no longer be a hunting ground for Hollywood elite who feel entitled to prey on women.”

A lawyer for the survivors praised the women for their courage to speak up during the painful process. “Niesha and Chrissie have displayed tremendous strength and bravery, by coming forward to law enforcement and participating directly in two grueling criminal trials,” said Alison Anderson, partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and attorney for the survivors. “Despite persistent harassment, obstruction, and intimidation, these courageous women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today, and they are not stopping there. They are eager to soon tell the fuller story of how Scientology and its enablers tried desperately to keep them from coming forward.”

Defense attorney Shawn Holley told Vulture after the sentencing that Masterson will appeal. “The errors which occurred in this case are substantial and unfortunately, led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence,” Holley claimed in a statement. “And though we have great respect for the jury in this case and for our system of justice overall, sometimes they get it wrong. And that’s what happened here. Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted and we–and the appellate lawyers — the best and the brightest in the country — are confident that these convictions will be overturned.”

Masterson was originally charged with three counts of forcible rape that took place at his Hollywood home during his stint on the early-aughts sitcom, but the jury could not reach a unanimous decision regarding the prosecutor’s allegation that the actor raped his longtime girlfriend. The guilty verdict arrived after Masterson’s first trial late last year failed to reach a consensus among the jury and subsequently was declared a mistrial. Prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology — of which Masterson and the three women were members — shielded him from consequences due to his prominent role. The women testified that they reported him to church officials, who did not believe their claims, and were placed in ethics classes and discouraged from going to the police. “The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement,” a statement from the church said, per the Associated Press, adding that the testimony about the church was “uniformly false.”

This post has been updated throughout.

Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years for Raping Two Women