Danny Masterson, best known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years to life in prison on two counts of rape dating back to early 2000. Masterson’s links with Scientology Church as well as its purported involvement in silencing victims have brought this case into the public light.
Role of Scientology in the Case
The Church of Scientology’s doctrines played a significant role in the delay of the accusations coming to light. Victims stated that the church’s policies dissuaded them from reporting a fellow member to authorities. One such doctrine from the church’s literature, “Introduction to Scientology Ethics,” was highlighted during the trial. The book was cited as discouraging Scientologists from reporting fellow believers to the police. Although the church denies any such policy, Judge Charlaine Olmedo ruled in favor of the existence of such a policy based on the evidence presented.
Victims’ Heart-Wrenching Testimonies
Various victims shared their harrowing experiences, detailing violent assaults at the hands of Masterson during the prime of his career. Chrissie B., a former girlfriend of the actor, shared her tumultuous relationship with him, culminating in a violent assault. Another victim, Jen B., recounted her drink being spiked, followed by a traumatic encounter with Masterson. N. Trout similarly shared a story of being isolated and assaulted after being served a drugged drink.
The Impact of Coming Forward
Coming forward with their testimonies did not come without its costs for the victims. Jen B., a second-generation Scientologist, found herself excommunicated from both her family and the church. Despite the immense pressures and alleged harassment, victims such as N. Trout expressed no regrets about their decision to stand against Masterson.
The Defense’s Take
Masterson’s defense team firmly believes in his innocence. They argue that the convictions were not supported by the evidence and have identified several evidentiary and constitutional issues to be presented in appellate courts. The defense emphasized Masterson’s lack of a criminal record and his philanthropic actions as factors to consider in his sentencing.
Church of Scientology’s Legal Battles Continue
The Church of Scientology’s involvement in the case has sparked controversy and criticism. While the church’s spokeswoman, Karin Pouw, criticized the introduction of church doctrines during the trial, the legal complications for the church seem to be far from over. Apart from Masterson’s case, the church is facing pending lawsuits, including from former Scientologist and activist Leah Remini, who alleges years of harassment and intimidation from the organization.
Danny Masterson’s conviction and sentencing have revealed troubling issues surrounding religious organizations’ influence in criminal matters, and their potential involvement. It serves as an important reminder of the necessity of fighting injustice regardless of pressures or consequences; victims will remain the focal point in pursuit of justice as legal battles continue to rage in courts across America.