Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years in prison following rape convictions

Miu von Furstenberg 5 Min Read
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Danny Masterson RAGE Official Launch Party - Inside
Actor Danny Masterson attends RAGE Official Launch Party at Chinatown’s Historical Central Plaza on September 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Bethesda Softworks)

Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of rape.

The actor was found guilty on two counts of forcible rape in May. The jury was hung on a third charge during the trial after the seven men and five women deliberated for eight days.

30 years was the maximum sentence Masterson could receive. Masterson's legal team noted that the 47-year-old plans to appeal due to the trial's “substantial” errors.

“We are very disappointed in the sentence the judge handed down today,” Shawn Holley, attorney for Masterson, told reporters outside the courthouse in video shared by Deadline. “However, for the past several months a team of the top appellate lawyers in the country has been reviewing transcripts of the trial. They have identified a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues which they will address in briefs to both the state and federal courts.”

Danny Masterson T-Mobile Presents Google Music At TAO Nightclub At T-Mobile Google Music Village At The Lift - Day 2 - 2012 Park City
Danny Masterson attends the T-Mobile Presents Google Music at TAO, a nightlife event at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2012 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Getty Images)

“The errors which occurred in this case are substantial and unfortunately led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence,” she continued. “And though we have great respect for the jury and for our system of justice, sometimes they get it wrong and that's what happened here. Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes on which he's been convicted and we, and the appellate lawyers, who are the best and the brightest in the country, are confident that these convictions will be overturned.”

Alison Anderson, partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, and attorney for Jane Does 2 and 3, said in a statement, “Niesha and Chrissie have displayed tremendous strength and bravery, by coming forward to law enforcement and participating directly in two grueling criminal trials.

“Despite persistent harassment, obstruction and intimidation, these courageous women helped hold a ruthless sexual predator accountable today, and they are not stopping there. They are eager to soon tell the fuller story of how Scientology and its enablers tried desperately to keep them from coming forward.”

The judge heard impact statements from both victims before issuing Masterson's sentence.

Danny Masterson The Variety Studio at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival - Day 4 - 2012 Park City
Danny Masterson attends Day 4 of The Variety Studio during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival held at Variety Studio At Sundance on January 24, 2012 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Getty Images)

“When you raped me, you stole from me,” said one woman who Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”

“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she said. “The world is better off with you in prison.”

The other woman Masterson was found guilty of raping said he “has not shown an ounce of remorse for the pain he caused.” She told the judge, “I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I am so sorry, and I’m so upset. I wish I’d reported him sooner to the police.”

Masterson watched the women without visible reaction as they spoke.

Danny Masterson Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Gangster Squad" - Arrivals
Danny Masterson arrives at Warner Bros. Pictures' “Gangster Squad” premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on January 7, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Church of Scientology previously claimed the use of religion in Masterson's trial violated First Amendment rights after he received the initial guilty verdict.

“The Church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone — Scientologists or not — to law enforcement,” a statement said. “Quite the opposite, Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land. All allegations to the contrary are totally FALSE. There is not a scintilla of evidence supporting the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers. Every single instance of supposed harassment by the Church is FALSE, and has been debunked.”

The former That '70s Show actor was on trial for the second time in less than six months after his first ended in a mistrial.


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