A US jury has been knowledgeable that Danny Masterson allegedly exploited his “untouchable” standing inside the Church of Scientology to keep away from penalties for drugging and sexually assaulting ladies.
The actor, identified for his position as Steven Hyde within the hit sitcom That ‘70s Present, is at present on trial for rape costs relationship again to 2001-2003. This marks his second trial after the primary led to a mistrial again in December 2022. Masterson has pleaded not responsible to all costs.
Within the closing arguments for the trial on Could 14, prosecutors claimed that Masterson used medicine to incapacitate his victims, successfully eradicating their capacity to refuse sexual advances, after which leveraged his place to keep away from prosecution.
“The defendant medicine his victims to achieve management. He does this to remove his victims’ capacity to consent,” mentioned prosecution lawyer Ariel Anson. “You don’t wish to have intercourse? You don’t have a selection. The defendant makes that selection for these victims. And he does it over and again and again.”
Danny Masterson in September, 2017. Credit score: Getty/Paul Archuleta
Masterson has denied all allegations made towards him. In his defence, his lawyer Philip Cohen argued in courtroom that his accusers’ accounts contained inconsistencies that known as their credibility into query.
Prosecutor Anson additionally instructed that the Church of Scientology, an organisation Masterson has lengthy been related to, performed a job in reinforcing the actor’s perception that he was immune from any authorized penalties of his alleged misconduct. She additional claimed that the Church had insurance policies designed to discourage members from reporting such incidents to the police.
“The church taught his victims ‘rape isn’t rape, you triggered this, and above all, you might be by no means allowed to go to legislation enforcement,’” she mentioned. “In Scientology, the defendant is a celeb and he’s untouchable.” The Church has denied instituting any such insurance policies.
The actor’s former co-star from That ‘70s Present, Leah Remini, who was additionally a outstanding member of the Church earlier than leaving and turning into a vocal critic, testified throughout each trials that Masterson had raped her in 2003.
Whereas there isn’t any conclusive bodily proof that Masterson drugged his alleged victims, Anson cited the testimony of a police toxicology professional testifying to the signs suffered by the ladies.
Earlier this yr, Ashton Kutcher, one other forged member from That ‘70s Present, commented on the case and voiced his hope that the allegations are false. Kutcher referred to Masterson as a mentor who had helped him all through his profession.
In the event you need assistance or help concerning sexual assault, rape, or harassment, please seek the advice of the web sites of Rape Disaster within the UK or RAINN within the US.