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01st Jun 2023

That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson found guilty on two charges of rape

Patrick McCarry

Danny Masterson

“It seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused,” the actor stated when the accusations were first made.

Actor Danny Masterson, who appeared in That ’70s Show and The Ranch, has been found guilty on two charges of rape by a jury in Los Angeles.

Masterson, 47, was taken into custody after the verdict was read out, and will now await sentencing. He could be jailed for as long as 30 years.

Three women, all former members of the Church of Scientology, had accused Masterson of sexual assault, taking place at his house in Hollywood, between the years on 2001 and 2003. Masterson was also a Church of Scientology member. The jury could not agree on the third count of rape against Masterson.

Masterson’s wife, the actress and model, Bijou Phillips, was in tears as the verdict was read out and her husband was taken from the court in hand-cuffs. The couple married in 2011 and have one child together.

The accusations first came to light in 2017, during the height of the #MeToo movement but he strenuously denied any wrongdoing. There was an earlier trial, in December 2022, but no decision was reached.

Danny MastersonDanny Masterson (left) pictured in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017, and (right) during an MTV Bowling event in Los Angeles, in 1999. (Credit: Getty Images)

Danny Masterson written out of Netflix show

Danny Masterson’s big break was as Steven Hyde in That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006. He had supporting parts in movies such as Face/Off and Yes Man and appeared in another sitcom, Men At Work, from 2012 to 2014.

He teamed up with ’70s Show colleague Ashton Kutcher for Netflix comedy, The Ranch in 2016 but was written out of the show a little over a year later when the rape allegations came to light.

During the trial, claims were made by Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson accused the Church of Scientology of trying to cover up the allegations through coercion and offering large sum Non-Disclosure Agreements [NDAs]. Anson told jurors:

“The Church taught victims, ‘Rape isn’t rape, you caused this, and above all, you are never allowed to go to law enforcement.’

A lawyer with close ties with the Church of Scientology is reported to have emailed the district attorney’s office complaining about how the church was portrayed in the retrial of Masterson.

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