© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actor Danny Masterson is arraigned on three rape charges in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003, at Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
By Rollo Ross
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women about 20 years ago in a case that stirred controversy around the Church of Scientology.
The 47-year-old actor and prominent Scientologist, who starred in the retro TV comedy for eight seasons until 2006, was convicted in June in a second trial. A jury deadlocked on a charge that he raped a third woman.
Judge Charlaine Olemdo announced the sentence in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The case drew attention in part because Masterson met the women through the Church of Scientology, and his accusers said the organization discouraged them from contacting law enforcement.
The Church of Scientology denied that claim and said Masterson’s religion should not have been an issue in the case.
The women said Masterson drugged and raped them in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003 at his house in the Hollywood Hills.
Allegations against Masterson hurt his career. When he was first accused of sexually assaulting multiple women in 2017, he was fired from the Netflix (NASDAQ:) series “The Ranch.”