Huge TV star sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for two counts of rape

Former That '70s Show star Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following his conviction for two counts of forcible rape.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence on Thursday, 7 September.

The 47 year old actor – best known as Steven Hyde in the popular US series – was convicted at a retrial in May, while a verdict was not reached by the jury on a third rape charge.

Masterson's brother, Malcolm in the Middle star Chris Masterson, and actress Leah Remini, a former Scientologist-turned-activist, were seated in the audience in court at the time and were reportedly shocked to hear the guilty verdicts.

Masteron's wife, actress Bijou Phillips, was also reported to have let out a cry in the courtroom when the verdict was revealed.

The actor was accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home.

He was first arrested in June 2020 and charged with raping three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003.

The victims were members of the Church of Scientology at the time of the assault, where Danny Masterson was a lifelong member.

All three have since left the church and said the church dissuaded them from reporting the actor to the police.

Prosecutor Ariel Anson had said in the retrial's closing argument that Masterson had taken advantage of his position as an “upstart” in the church.

“Like all predators, the defendant carefully sought out his prey,” he argued.

“The church taught his victims that rape isn’t rape, that you cause this and above all you aren’t allowed to go to law enforcement. What better hunting ground? In Scientology, the defendant is a celebrity and he’s untouchable.”

Masterson starred on That '70s Show – a sitcom about an eclectic group of friends on the verge of adulthood – for all eight seasons between 1998 and 2006.

When Netflix rebooted the series as That '90s Show, Masterson was the only member of the original cast not to feature in it.

He went on to star in Netflix's The Ranch, alongside Ashton Kutcher, but was fired after rape allegations were first made against him in 2017, and his character was then written out of the series.

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