If convicted on all counts, the That '70s Show actor could get 45 years to life in prison.
Danny Masterson Charged with Three Counts of Rape "By Force or Fear"
If convicted on all counts, the That '70s Show actor could face 45 years to life in prison.
By Anthony Breznican
June 17, 2020
Actor Danny Masterson has long been accused of acts of sexual violence, and on Wednesday the That ’70s Show actor was finally arrested after being charged with the rapes of three women in separate incidents dating back to 2001 and 2003.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office charged the 44-year-old with three counts of "rape by force or fear." "If convicted as charged, the defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison," the district attorney's office said in a statement.
The complaint accuses him of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001. He is also charged with committing two other assaults in 2003, one against a 28-year-old woman in April, and another against a 23-year-old woman between October and December of that year.
The case will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division, who stated that all of the alleged rapes occurred at the actor's Hollywood Hills home.
Prosecutors noted that they declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases, "one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the crime alleged."
Masterson has been held on $3.3 million bail. He is represented by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, who previously represented Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson against sex crime charges. In a statement to the Associated Press, Mesereau insisted that Masterson is innocent.
“We’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify," the attorney said. “Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out,” Mesereau said. “The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
The criminal complaint doesn't name the victims, but the timeline of the accusations matches those of four women who accused Masterson of sexual assault in 2016 and 2017 as part of the #MeToo movement. Last year, they sued Masterson, along with the Church of Scientology, to which he belongs, alleging that the powerful and secretive organization stalked and intimidated them for coming forward with their police reports. Masterson and Scientology officials all denied wrongdoing.
Masterson responded to the suit with a statement: “This is beyond ridiculous. I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court—and look forward to it because the public will finally be able [to] learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”
In the lawsuit, the women each claim Masterson forced himself on them or took advantage of them when they were intoxicated and unable to consent.
Masterson is set to be arraigned on Sept. 18.
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