“That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson was convicted on two counts of rape Wednesday at his retrial in Los Angeles.
The seven-woman, five-man jury could not reach a verdict on a third count, which alleged Masterson raped a former girlfriend, after deliberating for over a week, The Associated Press reported.
Masterson was led from the courtroom in handcuffs while his wife, the actor and model Bijou Phillips, wept. His family and friends sat in stunned silence.
The 47-year-old actor faces up to 30 years in prison and his sentencing is set for Aug. 4.
The verdict came some six months after Masterson’s first trial, where he also faced charges of raping three women he met through the Church of Scientology ended in a mistrial, with jurors leaning towards acquitting the actor.
Masterson was charged with raping the three women — identified at trial as Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2 and Jane Doe #3 — at his Hollywood Hills home from 2001 to 2003.
All three accusers are former members of the Church of Scientology, to which Masterson still belongs.
“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,” Jane Doe #2 said after the verdict was handed down. “I am disappointed that he was not convicted on all counts, but take great solace in the fact that he, the Church of Scientology, and others, will have to fully account for their abhorrent actions in civil court.”
Jane Doe #3, whose count the jury did not convict Masterson on, said she was “devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me. “
“Despite my disappointment in this outcome, I remain determined to secure justice, including in civil court, where I, along with my co-plaintiffs, will shine a light on how Scientology and other conspirators enabled and sought to cover up Masterson’s monstrous behavior,” she said.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón thanked all of the women who came forward in the case.
“Their courage and strength have been an inspiration to us all,” Gascón said in a release following the verdict. “While we are disappointed that the jury did not convict on all counts, we respect their decision. The verdicts handed down by the jury in this case were undoubtedly a difficult one to reach and we thank the jurors for their service.”
Just as in his first trial, Masterson never took the stand. And Masterson’s defense attorneys declined to call any witnesses.
Masterson, who has been free on bail since his June 2020 arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, has steadfastly denied all the allegations leveled against him by the women.
The sitcom star has also denied assaulting a fourth woman, identified as Jane Doe #4, who told the court during his first trial he had raped her, too.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo initially denied the prosecution’s request to put Jane Doe #4 on the stand in the first trial, but changed her mind after prosecutors argued that Masterson’s lawyer opened the door by suggesting that Masterson’s three other accusers colluded against him. Masterson was not criminally charged with raping the fourth woman.
District Attorney Reinhold Mueller put Jane Doe #4 on the stand again at Masterson’s retrial along with a fifth woman, who testified the actor raped her in 2000 after a cast party in Toronto, Deadline reported. The fifth woman did not testify in the first trial. Unlike Masterson and the three Jane Does he is charged with raping, the additional witnesses are not scientologists.
Both of Masterson’s trials have focused a lot of unwanted attention on the Church of Scientology which the Jane Does have accused of trying to cover up the allegations against the actor.
At the retrial, Olmedo made it clear once again that Scientology was not a defendant. But the judge again allowed witnesses to testify how they were pressured by church officials not to talk to police about the rape allegations.
Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw has denied those allegations and insisted, repeatedly, that church doctrine requires members to “abide by all the laws of the land.”
Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles, Corky Siemaszko from New York City