Danny Masterson was sentenced Thursday to the maximum 30-years-to-life in prison for raping two women in 2001 and 2003.
Masterson, 47, will be eligible for parole after 25½ years but can be held in prison for life. He did not visibly react to the sentencing from the judge. Masterson had earlier waived his right to speak at the sentencing hearing.
The former “That ’70s Show” star was found guilty of the two charges in May. At the time, the jury could not agree on a third count of rape brought by another Jane Doe, which would have upped his potential sentence to 40 years-to-life.
The first rape victim, Chrissy B, said in a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing that the actor called her “stupid, untalented, embarrassing, trash.”
Masterson, who will get credit for the 115 days he has already served, has been in custody since his conviction after being deemed a flight risk. He entered the Los Angeles courtroom at 8:51 a.m. wearing a blue suit and open white shirt, looking pale and gaunt. He smiled at his wife, actress Bijou Phillips, and his family when he came in, then sat and stared directly at Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo.
Olmedo allowed the victims to deliver impact statements before the sentencing.
Deputy DA Ariel Anson read the statement from the first victim, Chrissy B, at her request. Chrissy said she initially saw the actor as “someone who loved me,” but said he became insulting and abusive. “I believed him when he called me stupid, untalented, embarrassing, trash.”
The statement from Chrissy continued: “I entered that relationship an 18-year-old girl with very little life experience. I was very naive and trusting. Within a short period I was stripped of every friend I knew, my family, my job, and a belief that could never be realized.”
In her victim impact statement, Jane Doe 2 said that with Masterson’s conviction in May, “I quietly began to feel lighter… I don’t have to carry your shame around with me anymore. Now you have to hold that shame. And now you have to sit in a cell and hold it.”
She added that she has been “terrorized, harassed by the cult of Scientology,” who she said covered up Masterson’s criminal behavior. All three women are, like Masterson, members of the Church of Scientology.
Jane Doe 1 also said she had faced intimidation from the church and that a church ethics officer “made it very clear that Danny was untouchable… This man had the power to expel me, excommunicate me. He made my life hell from that point on. Danny was a celebrity, and therefore untouchable.”
Former Scientologist Leah Remini was in the court. Jane Doe 1 thanked her “for lending me her full support, and giving me safe passage through the halls” of the court.
L.A. prosecutors chose to retry Masterson in May after a hung jury and mistrial last November in a previous attempt.
The three women testified that Masterson drugged and sexually assaulted them at his Hollywood home.
The judge denied a motion for a new trial filed by Masterson’s attorney Shawn Holley on Tuesday. Prosecutor Reinhold Mueller called the request “not a motion for new trial but a request to dismiss.”
In court on Thursday, Holley argued for a 15-year sentence, saying that it was “fair and just” and “serves the interests of justice.”
Holley said, “I will not minimize the conduct for which Mr. Masterson has been convicted, and I will not minimize the experience of the Jane Does,” but added that with the longer sentence, “Mr. Masterson will likely die in prison.”
In a statement after the sentencing, Holley expressed confidence the judge’s decision would not hold up on appeal, saying a team of lawyers had reviewed transcripts of the trial and “identified a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues which they will address in briefs to both state and federal appellate courts.”
“Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted and we and the appellate lawyers — the best and the brightest in the country — are confident that these convictions will be overturned,” Holley said.
Holley cited “substantial” errors that “unfortunately led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence. And though we have great respect for the jury in this case and for our system of justice overall, sometimes they get it wrong. And that’s what happened here.”
Prosecutor Mueller spoke to media afterward, reiterating that the DA’s office opened the case in late 2016 but didn’t file charges until June 2020.
“I’ve gotten to know the victims in this case quite well over the years and I can tell you they are strong,” Mueller said. “Today, they got [justice]. The judge imposed a sentence that we believed was the appropriate sentence. I’m extremely proud of the victims in this case for coming forward, for enduring the long time it took to get to justice today, but I was so happy to see them in court, and they were able to get up there and give their impact statements and have their voices heard. I’m just very pleased. I also want to thank the jury in this case.”
Mueller added he was “absolutely not concerned” about an appeal and denied accusations of religious discrimination by the Church of Scientology against the prosecuting team and the judge.
“There’s absolutely nothing to that,” Mueller said. “Everything that we have done has always been with an eye toward what is materially relevant in the case to help explain why certain victims were behaving in a certain way.”
Jeremy Bailey contributed to this report.
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