“That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson found guilty of forcible rape

    Danny Masterson (right) and his wife Bijou Phillips (left).

    1st June 2023 – (Los Angeles) Actor Danny Masterson, known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” has been found guilty on two counts of forcible rape by a Los Angeles jury. The verdict followed a retrial in which Masterson was charged with raping three women between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. The jury, consisting of seven women and five men, spent 6 1/2 days deliberating since being handed the case on 17th May. They were deadlocked on the third rape charge against Masterson.

    This was the second trial against the actor. In 2020, he was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear involving the same three women. However, last year’s jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision, leading to a mistrial on 30th November. Prosecutors confirmed in January that they wanted to retry the actor, and Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo rejected a defence effort to have the charges dismissed.

    During the retrial, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller argued that Masterson drugged and raped each of the three victims and it was time to hold him accountable. Defense attorney Philip Kent Cohen questioned the credibility of the alleged victims and urged jurors to acquit his client. Mueller, in his rebuttal argument, told jurors that the three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, like Masterson, and that the church retaliated against them.

    Masterson had been free on bail since his arrest in June2020 by the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division. In December 2017, Netflix fired him from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy series “The Ranch” amid sexual assault allegations. Masterson denied the allegations and said he looked forward to clearing his name.

    The retrial was closely watched by those in the entertainment industry and the #MeToo movement. The verdict brings a measure of justice to the three women who accused Masterson of rape. However, the outcome has also raised questions about the Church of Scientology’s role in the case and whether its influence had any impact on the retrial.