The US actor Danny Masterson (47, "The Wild Seventies") has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for rape. Judge Charlaine Olmedo set the sentence yesterday in Los Angeles. Masterson's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.
The actor was found guilty in a criminal trial at the end of May. Twelve jurors found him guilty of raping two women in 2003. In a third case of rape allegations by another woman, the jury could not agree on a unanimous verdict.
Masterson had always denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. All sexual acts were consensual, the actor asserted during the trial. Masterson attended the announcement of the sentence in silence, the Los Angeles Times reported. Several family members were in the courtroom, including Masterson's wife, actress Bijou Phillips.
First criminal trial inconclusive
It was the second case against the actor. The first criminal trial ended inconclusively in November 2022. At the time, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in any of the three cases. The responsible judge then declared a so-called mistrial. The prosecution reopened the case this year.
"This has been a long and arduous journey for Mr. Masterson's victims," Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón wrote in a statement. He praised the women for their courage in going to court. He wants to ensure that Los Angeles is no longer a "hunting ground" for a Hollywood elite that feels entitled to exploit women.
Last February, former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein (71) was sentenced to an additional 16 years in prison in Los Angeles for sex crimes. At a trial in New York in 2020, he had already received a prison sentence of 23 years for rape and sexual assault.
Police investigations since 2017
Masterson's victims spoke in court yesterday before the judge set the sentence. According to Variety, one of the women called the actor a "true coward and heartless monster."
The police investigation began in 2017. A former girlfriend of the actor was also among the plaintiffs. The women described similar circumstances, that Masterson drugged them in his home and then raped them. The controversial Scientology organization, which calls itself a church, was also addressed in the proceedings. Masterson is a prominent member, and the plaintiffs were also members of the organization at times, as US media reported.
Masterson has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011. The couple has a daughter. The actor became known with the comedy series “The Wild Seventies,” in which he played Steven Hyde, who always wore sunglasses, from 1998 to 2006.