LOS ANGELES — “That ‘70s Show” star Danny Masterson was behind bars Friday, a day after the three women who accused the actor of rape gave wrenching victim impact statements — and after a Los Angeles judge sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison.
They described in graphic detail how Masterson “drugged and raped” them between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. They also described the fallout they suffered after they accused an “untouchable” member of the Church of Scientology of being a rapist.
“I didn’t choose to be born into Scientology, just as I didn’t choose to be raped by Danny Masterson,” one of the accusers, identified at trial as Jane Doe #1, said in her statement.
Like Masterson and the two other accusers, Jane Doe #1 was once a member of the Church of Scientology. And the women have accused the controversial church of trying to silence them, an allegation a Scientology spokesperson has vehemently and repeatedly denied.
After Masterson’s sentencing, the church released a statement that said, in part, “The Church was not a party to this case and religion did not belong in this proceeding as Supreme Court precedent has maintained for centuries.”
Masterson, 47, was convicted in May of raping Jane Doe #1 and another woman identified at trial as Jane Doe #2. But the jury could not reach a decision on the third accuser, who was identified as Jane Doe #3 and is a former girlfriend of Masterson’s.
Nevertheless, all three women were allowed to submit sentencing statements to the court Thursday, before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo sentenced Masterson.
This is some of what they said:
Jane Doe #1 told the court that her mother, who remains a Scientologist, has shunned her since she told police 20 years ago that Masterson raped her. She said she broke the church’s “code” by speaking out against an “untouchable” like Masterson.
Ever since, Jane Doe #1 said she acknowledges Mother’s Day by rereading an old letter she got from her mom. “She loved me then, I think. She seemed to care what happened to her daughter.”
The Masterson accuser described how she was not able to find her underwear after the rape and how she smelled of vomit. She said that after reporting the sexual assault she lost “pretty much everything,” including many of the people who were once her friends. She said at age 29 she had to start over.
“And the ugly truth is I didn’t want to live,” she said. “I remember crying myself to sleep and wishing I would not wake up.”
Now a married mother of three daughters, she told the court that Masterson arranged for the son of one of his friends to tell one of her girls that her mother was a “liar” and that Masterson never raped her.
“Mommy, what is rape?” the girl later asked her, she said.
Masterson “has not shown an ounce of remorse for the pain he caused,” she said, and urged the judge to give him a lengthy sentence “for the safety of all women.” She concluded by telling the court there was more she could say about what Masterson did to her but didn’t want to “rip my soul completely open.”
Jane Doe #2 directed part of her statement directly at Masterson, telling him that the day he was convicted something inside her “shifted” for the better.
“But healing is not some linear, simple thing,” she said. “The lasting effects of rape are pernicious as they hack silently away at the daily efforts one tries to make toward a life with meaning. “
She called the Church of Scientology Masterson’s “enabler and protector” and said she had been “a brainwashed member for seven years at the time of the assault.”
At first, she said, she stayed quiet. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, she said “I could not sit with this secret and tough it out knowing you’d strike again, knowing the danger women were in and that many others needed justice too.”
“In my heart, I had no choice but to come forward,” she said. “And because of already having been threatened with Scientology’s strict policies against reporting members to law enforcement, and deliberately being shown their extensive policies in exacting ruinous punishment on defectors who speak out against its prized members— I decided to report my rape to law enforcement anyway, with the full understanding that my life could be demolished again in a new way for doing so.”
Since then, she said, “I have been terrorized, harassed.”
“But I don’t regret it,” she said. “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.”
An actor, Jane Doe #2 said her career “nose-dived within a couple months after the rape.”
“Your heinous attack on me snuck its way through my body and my experiences so stealthily, hijacking the life I was building diligently for myself,” she said.
Still, she said, “It is worth noting, since I know you take pride in hurting women, that you never took my integrity.”
In closing, Jane Doe #2 said she forgave Masterson but added: “Your sickness is no longer my burden to bear.”
Jane Doe #3 told the court that she regularly wrestled with this question: “How can I tell anyone that I had gotten myself in a situation where I was regularly mentally and emotionally abused, and raped repeatedly?”
Masterson was both “charming” and controlling and when she began her relationship with the actor she was “an 18-year-old girl with very little life experience.”
“He’d hurt me. He’d ignore me. I’d grovel at his feet apologizing to him for what he did to hurt me. Then he’d show me kindness,” she said.
As a result, Jane Doe #3 said she’s spent most of her life “viewing my body as a crime scene.”
“When you’re raped, it’s not your surface that’s been most defiled,” she said. “It damages you on a cellular level.”
Jane Doe #3 said she has been married for 14 years but can’t bear to sleep beside her husband because of what happened.
“I regularly wake up with deep bruises and scratches on my hands and arms,” she said. “In 2017, I punched a hole in the wall behind my bed during my sleep. I’m always fighting monsters.”
Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles, Corky Siemaszko from New York City.