Actor Danny Masterson was convicted of two counts of rape Wednesday in his second trial on charges that he sexually assaulted several women he met through the Church of Scientology in the early 2000s.
Jurors hung on a third rape count. Jurors previously hung on all counts against Masterson during a trial in late 2022.
The “That ’70s Show” actor was facing over 40 years for 3 counts of rape, but it is unclear at this time how the sentence will change with only 2 of them guilty.
After the first mistrial, Masterson’s attorney Philip Cohen said the case was “about nothing other than the credibility of the three accusers and that credibility could only be determined by comparing, contrasting and focusing on the ever-evolving statements given by the women.”
In closing arguments, prosecutor Ariel Anson said:
“Like all predators, the defendant carefully sought out his prey.
“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.”
According to The LA Times:
The victims — identified in court as Chrissy B., Jen B. and N. Trout — were all practicing Scientologists when they met Masterson through the church.
Jurors convicted Masterson of sexually assulting Jen B. and N. Trout but were unable to reach a verdict on the allegations against Chrissy B.
Two of the women said they waited more than a decade to come forward because church officials discouraged them from contacting law enforcement, leaving them in the impossible situation of choosing between their faith and accountability for the man who allegedly raped them.
All of the women had relatives in Scientology and feared they would be excommunicated and labeled “suppressive persons” if they went against Masterson and the church.
Danny Masterson, the former star of “That ’70s Show,” was convicted Wednesday on two counts of forcible rape. He faces a potential sentence of 30 years to life in prison on the two charges.https://t.co/QloLGffvFA pic.twitter.com/SjHhfDhCPr
— Variety (@Variety) May 31, 2023
A jury has found celebrity Scientologist Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of rape and they are hung on a third count.
This is a major blow to Scientology and Danny Masterson's Scientology enablers.
The women who were raped by Danny have been waiting 20 years for…
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 31, 2023