Danny Masterson Found Guilty on 2 Counts of Rape

Jury couldn't reach a verdict on third count against ' That '70s Show' star
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 31, 2023 5:15 PM CDT
Danny Masterson Found Guilty on 2 Counts of Rape
Danny Masterson appears at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., June 7, 2017.   (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP, File)

A jury found That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson guilty of two out of three counts of rape Wednesday in a Los Angeles retrial in which the Church of Scientology played a central role. The jury of seven women and five men reached the verdict after deliberating for seven days spread over two weeks. The jurors could not reach a verdict on the third count, which alleged Masterson raped a longtime girlfriend. They had voted 8-4 in favor of conviction. Masterson was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, and will be held without bail until he is sentenced. No sentencing date has been set, but the judge told Masterson and his lawyers to return to court Aug. 4 for a hearing. The 47-year-old actor could face 30 years to life in prison.

His wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, wept as he was led away. Other family and friends sat stone-faced, the AP reports. "I am experiencing a complex array of emotions—relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness—knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior," one of the women, whom Masterson was convicted of raping at his home in 2003, said in a statement. The woman whose allegation left the jury deadlocked said: "While I'm encouraged that Danny Masterson will face some criminal punishment, I am devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me."

Prosecutors, retrying Masterson after a deadlocked jury led to a mistrial in December, said he forcibly raped three women in his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. They told jurors he drugged the women's drinks so he could rape them. They said he used his prominence in the church—where all three women were also members at the time—to avoid consequences for decades. Masterson did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses. The defense argued that the acts were consensual and attempted to discredit the women’s stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time. (Read more Danny Masterson stories.)

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