Free to say whatever they wanted in open court after Danny Masterson was formally sentenced to 30 years in prison, the three women who testified against the “That ’70s Show” star gave lengthy, detailed and emotionally supercharged victim impact statements that spoke of additional unreported attacks, more creepy behavior and further Scientology intervention not mentioned over two trials.
One such statement took a direct swipe at Ashton Kutcher — without naming Masterson’s former costar — and the “many cowards who can claim they just never saw him rape anyone.” Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis were among several of Masterson’s family, friends and former colleagues who wrote character statements on his behalf before sentencing, and who quickly faced online backlash when the leniency letters surfaced last week.
The victims read their impact statements aloud last Thursday in a Los Angeles court, minutes after Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo ordered the maximum possible sentence for Masterson. But reporters are restricted to manual note-taking from inside the courtroom, and details were lost as most observers were scrambling to file urgent sentencing dispatches.
The statements materialized Tuesday when Scientology blogger Tony Ortega obtained the court records and posted the transcripts, in their entirety, at his site the Underground Bunker.
“Of course, there are many cowards who can claim they just never saw him rape anyone,” Niesha Trout, who self-identified after going as Jane Doe 2 during trial, said in her impact statement. “Yeah, that’s generally not how sexual assault or rape works. We know that. For those of you living under a rock, who might have publicly stated before this trial they hoped he’d be found innocent, let me state this: I read that, and my own daughters could read that, too.”
That was a clear reference to an April interview that Kutcher did with Esquire, in which he said he’d hoped Masterson would “be found innocent of the charges brought against him.”
The excerpted statements below contain disturbing descriptions of abuse, mental health struggles and other potentially upsetting details. The entire transcripts can be read over at Underground Bunker.
JANE DOE 3, [as read by Deputy DA Ariel Anson]
I understand that, for many, it’s difficult to believe that anyone would stay in a relationship like the one I was in with Danny Masterson. … How can I tell anyone that had I gotten myself into a situation where I was regularly mentally and emotionally abused and raped repeatedly? That’s partly why I focused on the one rape that I reported to Scientology.
There was one question that I wished I had been asked that I never was, one question that perhaps would make people understand. And the question I needed someone, anyone, to ask me was: Why did you hide from Danny Masterson for over two hours in your roommate’s bedroom the day after he came to your house party? Because there was a reason, and Mr. Masterson knows that reason. He always has.
And I know the reason for why I ultimately ignored my intuition and forced myself to view what he did to me not actually as it was. Because Mr. Masterson was very charming, so charming. In fact, he convinced my roommates that, perhaps, what he had done to me the night before wasn’t so bad.
After he left, after waiting the two hours while I hid, my roommates told me: How sweet is he? How romantic is it that this poor guy waited for you for over two hours? Who does this? Give him a chance. Apologize to him.
And so I abandoned my intuition and did just that. When he called me, I apologized to him and accepted a date. Two weeks later, I moved in with him.
When you’re raped, it’s not your surface that’s the most defiled. It damages you on a cellular level. I honestly still don’t even have the words to properly describe what being raped does to you. I just know the symptoms. I’ve suffered insomnia. I would oftentimes stay awake for 24-hour periods. I hate the dark.
I cannot sleep next to anyone, not even my husband, my sweet husband. … He’s never, in 14 years of marriage, ever made me think he would harm me in any way. Yet, I cannot sleep in bed next to him.
I had been diagnosed with PTSD, general anxiety and panic disorder. I have also developed severe trichotillomania. I haven’t been diagnosed agoraphobic, but I can count on two hands the amount of times I’ve left my home in the last few years. I have physical health issues. I throw up. I started getting blinding migraines accompanied by visual auras. I go through phases where I have severe body pains like my nerves and part of my body are on fire.
This and so much more is the life sentence Mr. Masterson and Scientology have given me.
JANE DOE 2 [Niesha Trout, as read by herself]
[After the conviction] I described that old, bad feeling as a dense cube or jagged stone of fear and shame lodged inside my chest that turned on a terrible axis in me that snagged persistently at my life force. Now, all at once, this stone was leaving me.
I didn’t entirely understand it at the time. But that stone was you, Danny. Now. just to walk around town freely that I’ve lived in for years without the lingering anxiety of seeing you or your minions meant I was no longer in your proxy, that I don’t have to carry your shame around with me anymore.
And now, you have to carry it. You have to sit in a cell and hold it. It was always your shame anyway, Danny. Now you will come to see how heavy it is.
The body is a relentless witness. I still have to contend with what you did to me that night, to take a life’s worth of therapy of repair because every time I think I’m OK, that rape comes back to throw that night around me, around in me as actual physical pain to say Hi, Niesha, you’re not done with me yet.
Scientology, who knew you had been raping its members but made concerted efforts to not only punish your victims for being assaulted by you but to cover up all the rapes leading to even more victims made by you. … Like clockwork, since the week I came forward to police, I have been terrorized, harassed and had my privacy invaded daily by the cult of Scientology for almost seven years now. But I don’t regret it.
Being a truthful, sturdy person is its own reward. You wouldn’t know. When you raped me, you stole from me. That is what rape is. A theft of the spirit.
You disfigured my life. You stole some crucial pieces of my self-worth and lessened my capacity for joy. You made every part of me turn on myself, worst of all, for so many years afterwards.
The rape deformed my capacity to trust others and warped my ability to discern danger or goodness appropriately since life was now in the more active prison of hatred, shame and fear you forced into me that night.
And you were someone in my community who I peripherally knew that my close friends vouched for. Danny is a great guy, they said.
Hear me, or don’t, when I say: You did this to me and all of your victims intentionally. You wanted my light. You steal women’s radiance. You treated us like we were less than trash, beneath you. But deep down, you coveted precisely those beautiful things in us that you could not find in yourself.
That is why you try to destroy women’s lives with such ferocity and delight. There is no other reason. You do it to fill the gaping abyss within you. Your affliction isn’t interesting. Slap any label on it you want. Your emptiness and cowardice will be your true legacy.
JANE DOE 1 [as read by herself]
We both went to Scientology schools as kids. It was the only community I knew my whole life until I was raped by Mr. Masterson. April 24th, 2003, I worked half a day, picked up my daughter from her school carpool, dropped her off at my parents’ house.
I then packed an overnight bag and went to my friend Brie Shaffer’s house. She was Mr. Masterson’s assistant and also a Scientologist. I got to Brie’s house around 5:00. And sometime after midnight, so April 25th officially, I would end up being raped by her boss.
After being drugged and raped and then waking up, I got dressed. I still don’t recall what I wore out the door, Mr. [Philip] Cohen [Masterson’s defense attorney]. But I do know one thing you didn’t ask me. I never could find my underwear. I know this because when I got home, I didn’t have any on.
And I remember being upset and embarrassed about the idea that my underwear were somewhere at Danny’s house.
I knew Danny wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop. So I reported my rape to LAPD in June of 2004. … And I’m so sorry because, why I am so upset is that I spent a year doing what I did and I know yours [looking at Jane Doe 2] was after mine. So it was really painful today but, I think, necessary. I wish I had reported him sooner to the police.
I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all women should they come in contact with him in an isolated setting, isolated from those who could protect them from, him isolated from those who now so easily claim they never saw that kind of behavior of the defendant.
Of course, there are many cowards who can claim they just never saw him rape anyone. Yeah, that’s generally not how sexual assault or rape works. We know that. For those of you living under a rock who might have publicly stated before this trial they hoped he’d be found innocent, let me state this: I read that, and my own daughters could read that too.
Testifying in court was not easy. From day one of his appearance in September 2020, he packed the halls with his neighbors and so many of the people who covered for him.
There was a South African man who assaulted me when I was a teen training in Scientology headquarters in Florida. He came to court despite my protest, and he was aware of him. And he did what he could to intimidate and harass me.
The first couple of years post the attack and rape were really dark. I lost everything pretty much that I knew. I lost my religion. I lost the ability to be in contact with almost every person I had known or loved my entire life because I was deemed an enemy to the group having been declared by Scientology for reporting the rape to the LAPD.
I was given one concession. I was able to remain in contact with my parents in consideration for the millions they donated to Scientology. I had to find an apartment with little to no references. I didn’t exist outside of the Scientology world.
I had to find employment outside of the Scientology dominated industry that I worked with, my parents’ business. I worked three jobs, sometimes four at a time. I had to start my life all over at 29. And the ugly truth is, I didn’t want to live. And it seemed the world I knew didn’t want me to live.
I remember crying myself to sleep and wishing I could not wake up. That was the first time. For most of ’05 and ’06, it was a regular occurrence. I had extreme suicide ideation but too much love and concern for my daughter and parents to hurt them that way; or else I would have done it, I think.
I spent the last 20 years with a super extreme fear of the dark. It can be so much of a social handicap and issue for others around me. I need a night light. I prefer all of the lights on in the house if have my druthers. … I can wake up in either fight mode or flight mode if my husband should accidentally roll over or touch me. He knows I sometimes hide in the closet. He has to repeat, “It’s me, it’s me.” … I have screamed out the windows of our bedroom in the middle of the night in tears, “I’m not OK, I’m not OK,” sobbing uncontrollably. I don’t even know what the neighbors think.
I had a list of more to share, but I don’t think I’m required to rip my soul completely open to illustrate just how much the actions of the defendant can both nearly end a life or destroy so many aspects of one’s life. And we who do survive to fight back are left shattered in a billion pieces. … In closing, on sentencing I just wanted to say one thing. I lost my family. Our lives were destroyed. He took lives.