Danny Masterson, the actor celebrated for his role as Steven Hyde in the popular TV series ‘That ’70s Show,’ is now facing a 30-year to life prison sentence after being found guilty of forcibly raping two women. The verdict was delivered on September 7th, 2023, by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo.
Masterson, a 47-year-old actor, was initially arrested in June 2020, facing allegations of raping three different women in incidents dating back to 2001 and 2003. He had vehemently denied all accusations and posted a $3.3 million bail, temporarily avoiding incarceration. However, the recent sentencing provides some relief to the victims who endured two decades without justice.
One of the survivors courageously spoke out in court, stating,
“When you raped me, you stole from me. That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
She was assaulted by Masterson in 2003 and added,
“You are pathetic, disturbed, and completely violent. The world is better off with you in prison.”
Judge Olmedo reached her decision after hearing powerful statements from the survivors and pleas for leniency from the defense. Masterson, who had been in custody since May, appeared in court wearing a suit but remained silent in response to the survivors’ statements. He maintains his innocence, and his legal team plans to appeal the ruling.
Another survivor declared,
“He has not shown an ounce of remorse for the pain he caused. I knew he belonged behind bars for the safety of all the women he came into contact with. I am so sorry, and I’m so upset. I wish I’d reported him sooner to the police.”
During the sentencing hearing, Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips (a model and actress), his brother Chris Masterson (known for ‘Malcolm in the Middle’), and Leah Remini (a former Scientologist turned activist and actress) were also present.
Masterson opted not to speak in court and displayed no visible reaction. Under the law, he will serve a minimum of 25 ½ years in prison before becoming eligible for parole, but the possibility of lifelong incarceration remains.
Judge Olmedo, before delivering the sentence, addressed Masterson, saying,
“I know that you’re sitting here steadfast in your claims of innocence and thus no doubt feeling victimized by a justice system that has failed you. But Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. One way or another, you will have to come to terms with your prior actions and their consequences.”
In contrast, Shawn Holley, Masterson’s lawyer, argued in court,
“It’s his life that will be impacted by what you decide today and the life of his 9-year-old daughter, who means the world to him and to whom he means the world.”
After the hearing, Holley reiterated her stance, stating,
“Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted.”
She expressed confidence in her team of appellate lawyers, who have identified significant constitutional and evidentiary issues in the sentencing order, suggesting the possibility of overturning the judgment.