Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison Thursday after being found guilty of two counts of forcible rape in May.
The That 70’s Show actor faced 30 years in prison on the two convictions, the verdict of which came in the second rape trial against Masterson after the jury deadlocked in his first trial, resulting in a mistrial.
(Masterson was charged with three counts of forcible rape, but the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision on the third count.)
Following impact statements from the victims, Masterson’s lawyer notified the court that the actor opted not to make his own statement prior to sentencing. After the judge denied the defense’s request for a new (and third) trial, Masterson’s lawyers asked that the two sentences be concurrent instead of consecutive. However, the judge disagreed, sentencing the 47-year-old disgraced actor to prison for the next three decades and potentially beyond.
The May 31 verdict followed a month-long trial of emotional testimony from the three women whose allegations are linked to the charges, recalling violent allegations that Masterson drugged them before raping them. The victims also claimed that the Church of Scientology protected Masterson, and discouraged them from coming forward with their allegations.
“We want to express our gratitude to the three women who came forward and bravely shared their experiences. Their courage and strength have been an inspiration to us all,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement after the guilty 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.”
The Church of Scientology was a major topic throughout the trial. Masterson is a prominent Scientologist, and all of the women who accused him are former members of the organization. The women told the court that the organization had told them that they couldn’t have been raped and going to the authorities could lead to severe repercussions from the church. Representatives for the organization have denied the claims, calling them fabrications.
Masterson also faces a civil suit from the accusers, which was scheduled to go to trial following the criminal proceedings.
The third Jane Doe accuser — who previously publicly identified herself as Chrissie Carnell Bixler, wife of Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala — expressed her disappointment that the jury didn’t convict him on the charges tied to her allegations, but similarly said she hopes to find justice in the civil trial.
“I thank the jury for its service, and while I’m encouraged that Danny Masterson will face some criminal punishment, I am devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me,” she said. “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.”
“Niesha and Chrissie have displayed tremendous strength and bravery, by coming forward to law enforcement and participating directly in two grueling criminal trials,” Alison Anderson, attorney for Jane Does 2 and 3, said in a statement Thursday to Rolling Stone.
“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. They are eager to soon tell the fuller story of how Scientology and its enablers tried desperately to keep them from coming forward.”