Danny Masterson, a well-known actor, has been found guilty of rape charges in his retrial. The verdict, announced on Wednesday, convicted Masterson of two counts of rape by force, while the jury remained undecided on the third charge. As a result, he will remain in jail without bail until his sentencing.
Facing a potential life sentence, Masterson will return to court on August 4 for a hearing before Judge Charlaine Olmedo at the Los Angeles Superior Court. However, the date for his sentencing has not yet been determined.
The jury, composed of seven men and five women, deliberated for eight days before reaching their decision. This retrial followed the mistrial of Masterson’s initial trial, which took place only months ago.
The actor, now 47 years old, faced three counts of rape by force or terror for alleged assaults that occurred between 2001 and 2003 in his Hollywood Hills residence. If convicted, Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison.
Upon hearing the guilty verdict, actor and model Bijou Phillips, Masterson’s wife, reacted with shock and sobbed as her husband was taken away. Others in the courtroom remained expressionless.
One of Masterson’s accusers, in a statement provided by attorneys from Boies Schiller Flexner, expressed a mix of emotions, including relief, exhaustion, strength, and sadness. The accuser highlighted the significance of holding Masterson accountable for his criminal behavior, stating that justice has been served for the rape that occurred in 2003.
Another accuser, identified as Jane Doe, commended the jury for their service but expressed disappointment that Masterson had evaded criminal culpability for his actions against her. Despite this setback, she remains committed to seeking justice through legal means, including filing a civil lawsuit to shed light on the role of Scientology and others in covering up Masterson’s behavior.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Masterson used drugs to facilitate the rapes, and the victims, who were all members of the church at the time, feared reporting the assaults due to the church’s policies against involving outsiders in internal disputes.
Masterson’s defense team argued that the acts were consensual and attempted to undermine the credibility of the accusers by highlighting inconsistencies and changes in their testimonies over time, suggesting a coordinated effort on their part.
The trial included disturbing and deeply personal testimonies from two women who stated that Masterson assaulted them after providing them with alcohol in 2003. A third woman recounted waking up to find Masterson raping her and having to physically resist him. She had been in a relationship with him for five years at the time.
The district attorney, George Gascón, acknowledged the jury’s verdict and expressed gratitude for their service. He emphasized the importance of preventing sexual assault and committed to continuing education on consent, healthy relationships, and bystander intervention to create a safer and more equitable world.
Masterson, who had been out on a $3.3 million bond, was arrested in June 2020. Throughout the legal proceedings, he maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The defense highlighted inconsistencies in the accusers’ accounts, arguing that these discrepancies cast doubt on Masterson’s guilt. Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, criticized the district attorney for overlooking these contradictions, suggesting that they were crucial in establishing reasonable doubt.
Cohen filed a motion in January to dismiss the charges, asserting that a new trial would likely yield the same outcome as the previous one. However, Judge Olmedo declared a mistrial in November due to the jury’s inability to reach a unanimous decision.
The case has garnered significant attention due to Masterson’s celebrity status and the serious nature of the allegations. As the legal proceedings progress, the victims’ bravery and determination continue to serve as an inspiration to others.