Danny Masterson, the actor known for “That ’70s Show,” got a prison sentence of 30 years to life last Thursday. A jury had found him guilty of raping two women way back in 2003, says the LA district attorney’s office.
“This has been a long and arduous road for the victims of Mr. Masterson,” said LA District Attorney George Gascón, talking to CBS News. “They not only survived his abuse, they also survived a system that is often not kind to victims.”
Back in May, Masterson was convicted for raping a 28-year-old and a 23-year-old in 2003. Both times, it happened at his place in Hollywood Hills.
CBS Los Angeles tells us Masterson has been locked up since he got convicted. No cameras were allowed in the courtroom during the sentencing. The guy wore a suit, and his accusers spoke their minds.
“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.”
Another woman told Judge 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.”
Masterson didn’t say anything in court, as Reuters noted. His lawyers argued everything between him and the women was agreed upon. Masterson says he’s innocent and plans to fight the verdict, as per the AP.
Before giving the sentence, Olmedo told Masterson he might think he got a raw deal because he says he’s innocent.
“But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here,” the judge told. “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.”
The jury wasn’t all on the same page about a third charge saying Masterson had also harmed a long-term girlfriend. After thinking it over for six days, they found him guilty on the first two charges.
After everything on Thursday, prosecutor Reinhold Mueller spoke to reporters. He said they won’t retry the undecided charge and he’s not worried about Masterson’s plan to appeal.
Mueller was glad the women “got their justice.”
“This is a day for them,” the prosecutor said. “This is a moment for them.”
Gascón admired the women’s guts in coming forward.
“Their courage and strength have been an inspiration to us all,” Gascón mentioned in his remarks following Masterson’s conviction. “While we are disappointed that the jury did not convict on all counts, we respect their decision.”
Last year, there was a trial where the jury couldn’t decide, so it was called a mistrial. This time around, Masterson didn’t speak up in court, and his side didn’t have any witnesses.
Back when all this happened, Masterson and the women were all part of the Church of Scientology. The ladies said they told the church about Masterson but got told not to go to the police, fearing they’d be kicked out. The church said they didn’t stop anyone from talking to the police.
“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,” said CBS News legal expert Jessica Levinson after 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.”