More than four months after the mistrial was declared, Danny Masterson is back in the sexual assault trial. A jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in November, but prosecutors vowed to retry the case despite leaning toward acquittals of the six men and six women. that 70s show The star is accused of forcibly raping three women from 2001 to 2003 and has maintained his innocence.
One presence that will again loom large during the trial is the Church of Scientology as Masterson is one of its highest ranking members. Three of his accusers are former Scientologists who claim they were harassed and threatened by church officials after they came forward. A judge ruled that the women would be allowed to discuss how their fear of Scientology played a role in their reporting, or not reporting, the alleged assaults to the police. As jury selection begins Monday, it is expected that prospective jurors will be asked their views on the church as well as the #MeToo movement, just as both topics were big last year.
Masterson’s rape case has been six years in the making. Here’s how we got here.
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they launched an investigation after three women reported being sexually assaulted by Masterson in the early 2000s. A rep for the actor starring in Netflix the ranch those days, denied the allegations And one of the accusers was his “longtime girlfriend”. Masterson’s spokesperson insisted that it was part of an anti-Scientology crusade and called out ex-Scientologist, Leah Remini.
We are aware of the allegations (of the alleged victim) which are 16 years old. It was only after[the alleged victim]came in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson. The alleged incident took place in the middle of their 6-year relationship, after which she remained his longtime girlfriend. Significantly, during their long relationship she made several inconsistent claims that she had previously been raped by at least 3 other famous actors and musicians.
When Danny ended the relationship she continued to pursue him, even threatening to beat up his current wife, Bijou Phillips, unless she left him. In fact, we are informed by the church that the only demand she (the alleged victim) made to the church after breaking up with Danny was asking for their help to intervene so that the breakup doesn’t become permanent.
We also know that about 14 years ago a woman referenced in the blog made sexual assault allegations that the LADP interviewed several witnesses and determined that the claim had no merit. Based on my reading of the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated by the promotion of Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series as the (alleged victim) associates with Leah Remini only further Returns.
A fourth woman later came forward with similar allegations against Masterson.
As the #MeToo movement swept Hollywood, Netflix fired Masterson amid the ongoing investigation. The actor said he was “deeply disappointed” by the decision and “looks forward to clearing my name.”
“I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems that as soon as you are You are accused, you are presumed guilty.” Masterson declared. “I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all. In the meantime, I want to express my gratitude to the cast and crew that I have worked so closely with over the past three seasons. I I wish him nothing but success.” I am also very thankful to the fans who have supported me and will continue to do so.”
Four of Masterson’s accusers sued the actor and the Church of Scientology, including their leader David Miscavige, allegedly stalking him in hopes of silencing him.
“When those women came forward to report Masterson’s crimes,” the lawsuit read in part, “the defendants conspired to invade the privacy of them and their families, harass, harass, and intentionally cause them emotional distress and Caused silence and scared them.”
Masterson and Church both deny the allegations. Despite many appeals, the case will go to court, not through church-led mediation as Scientology leaders had hoped. The suit was brought as a defense in last year’s lawsuit Claim This whole thing is “a shameful money grab.”
Masterson was arrested and charged with rape, facing a maximum sentence of 45 years in state prison to life in prison. He is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001; A 23-year-old woman and a 28-year-old woman in separate incidents in 2003. All the alleged crimes took place at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office noted that they declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson from two other women, one for insufficient evidence and the other for the alleged offense based on the statute of limitations.
“Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we are confident that he will be when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have an opportunity to testify,” the actor’s high-powered defense attorney, Tom Mesario, told Yahoo Entertainment. Time.
“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in utter shock to see that charges are suddenly being filed as a result of these nearly 20-year-old allegations, but they and their family take comfort in knowing that the truth is finally out.” will come,” continued Mesario. “People who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know that the allegations are false.”
Masterson pleaded not guilty to three charges of forcible rape.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge heard three of Masterson’s accusers explain in detail their alleged assaults. He ruled that the actor should stand trial.
When the trial began, Scientology was a hot-button topic. The defense wanted the court to bar any mention of the church, while the prosecution argued the three women, all of whom were Scientologists at the time of the alleged attacks, should be able to say whatever they wanted. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlene Olmedo landed in the middle, allowing the women to discuss the church if it was relevant to the events.
“The evidence presented in criminal cases often involves topics that are viewed with disdain by the public, including gangs, guns, and violence,” Olmedo Said, “The fact that any person has a negative view of a particular subject matter does not, per se, make that person unfit to serve as a juror.”
When Jane Doe #1 took the stand as the prosecution’s first witness, she testified that a church ethics officer coerced her into “to make peaceWith Masterson when she claimed the actor had impregnated her against her will in 2002.
“My understanding, my whole life, was that you can never be a victim,” the woman explained. “Nothing happens to you that you didn’t do. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself in life, it doesn’t matter how terrible you are, you are responsible. You made it.” “
Jane Doe #1 continued a relationship with Masterson, claiming she was sexually assaulted by Starr at his home in April 2003. She broke down on the stand while recalling the alleged incident. The woman testified that after drinking what Masterson had given her, she began to feel disoriented. She passed out in her bed, and when she awoke, claimed that Masterson was on top of her. The woman claimed she tried to fight him off, but the actor reached into a drawer on a nightstand and pulled out a gun and threatened her by saying “f*** off.” After the alleged rape, the woman said she went to meet her ethics officer.
“My understanding is that I will be immediately convicted of a high crime. A high crime comes with the penalty of expulsion from Scientology,” Jane Doe #1 said on the stand. “My life would be over. My parents would have to be separated from me. My daughter couldn’t go to her school… I would have nowhere to work or live. I would have nowhere to go.”
In April 2004, Jane Doe #1 wrote a letter to the church’s head of international justice, asking for permission to bring criminal charges against Masterson. He believed he had been refused, but still did so two months later with the LAPD. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office decided not to press charges at that time. The woman eventually settled with Masterson for $400,000.
Jane Doe #3, also an ex-Scientologist, testified about an alleged “terrorist campaign” by the organization when she came forward with claims against Masterson. The woman, a longtime girlfriend of Masterson, alleged that he raped her in 2001 while she was sleeping.
“I asked him, ‘What happened last night?’ I asked him if I fell because I was in pain ‘down there,'” she testified. “He laughed at me and said he had sex with me there.” Masterson is believed to have confirmed that she was unconscious the entire time.
In 2003, Jane Doe #2 alleged that she was raped at Masterson’s home after he supplied her with alcohol that left her feeling “numb”. The woman claimed he took her to his bed where he beat her like a “rag doll”. Jane Doe #2 did not report him to the church for fear of being declared a “suppressive person”. When she left the organization, she later realized that the incident was rape.
A fourth woman was allowed to testify who claimed that Masterson raped her twice in 1996. Her story was similar to the allegations of the other three women; However, her allegations did not lead to charges.
After more than five weeks of grueling testimony, jurors began deliberating on November 15. After three days, the group, composed of seven women and five men, informed the judge that they were at an impasse. They were ordered home for 10 days, but upon their return, two tested positive for COVID-19. The deliberations had to start with two alternatives, but the result remained the same.
In a note to the judge, the jurors said, “We are not even close to reaching a unanimous decision in either case, and are confident that will not change.” A mistrial was declared.
Prosecutors announced that Masterson would be tried for a second time with a new jury. The previous hung juries leaned toward acquittals on three counts with votes of 10–2, 8–4, and 7–5. Judge Charlene Olmedo denied The defense requested a dismissal of the case and noted how the prosecution called only 16 of 36 possible witnesses.
“It appears that there are many other witnesses that people can choose from,” Olmedo said. “Mr. Masterson has been charged with multiple counts of serious and violent felony – forcible rape. If true and Masterson is convicted, society will not only be saved from a violent felony, but its must be protected.”
Masterson’s defense team filed a motion at the eleventh hour to try and delay the April 17 start date, but was quickly denied. The actor remains free on his indictment on bail set at $3.3 million.