The Verdict and Sentencing
According to BBC News, Danny Masterson, known for his role in the TV series “That ’70s Show,” was recently sentenced following his conviction for sexual assault. Masterson was found guilty in May, and during the sentencing, Judge Charlaine Olmedo allowed victims to read impact statements. One woman told Masterson, “I forgive you. Your sickness is no longer mine to bear.”
Emotional Impact and Witness Testimonies
During the hearing, actress Leah Remini, a prominent former Scientologist, was present to support the victims. The victims expressed regret for not having reported Masterson earlier. Despite the emotional trauma and complex legal battles, Alison Anderson, a lawyer representing two of the victims, praised the victims for their “tremendous strength and bravery.”
BREAKING: Hollywood celebrity Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for r*ping two woman at his home in Hollywood Hills.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) September 7, 2023
Hollywood: Scum of the Earth.
Masterson, who starred in "That '70s Show" and is a member of the Church of Scientology, allegedly… pic.twitter.com/fb8wOQU6I6
The Scientology Factor
Prosecutors argued that Masterson’s prominence in the Church of Scientology helped him evade accountability for his crimes. Several victims, who were also members of the Church, claimed that they were discouraged from reporting the assaults. One survivor was even told she would lose her Church membership unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement and accepted a $400,000 payment.
The Ongoing Trials and Appeals
Masterson’s conviction came after a re-trial, as the first jury was unable to reach a verdict. He was ultimately found guilty of raping two of the three women who accused him. Despite this, NBC News reports that Masterson’s legal team insists the battle is far from over, promising to appeal the decision.
Further Implications and Reactions
The case drew attention not just for the high-profile defendant but also because it cast a spotlight on the Church of Scientology. While the Church was not officially on trial, the case raised questions about its role in covering up such incidents, allegations the Church vehemently denies. Meanwhile, Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips, was seen breaking down in tears during the sentencing.
The Voice of Victims and Advocacy Groups
Victims of Masterson have been acknowledged for their courage in coming forward, and this case has attracted attention from advocacy groups. Voices in Action founder Jessica Barth, who has been instrumental in the #MeToo movement, also attended the sentencing, highlighting the broader struggle against sexual assault in Hollywood.
In summary, the Danny Masterson case serves as a complicated tapestry of sexual assault, Hollywood fame, and religious institution influence, with severe ramifications for all involved. The story is far from over, with appeals on the horizon and ongoing debates about the roles of power and institutional complicity in such cases.