That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson was arrested and charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003, the Los Angeles County District Attorney announced Wednesday.
Masterson, who was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear, is scheduled for arraignment on September 18th. He was arrested by the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division on Wednesday morning, and released soon after on $3.3 million bail. If found guilty of all charges, the actor faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
According to the complaint, Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and another 23-year-old woman sometime between October and December 2003, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. All three alleged incidents occurred at Masterson’s Hollywood Hills home.
Additionally, Lacey said the DA’s office “declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases, one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the crime alleged.”
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, rape allegations against Masterson resurfaced, resulting in his firing from the Netflix series The Ranch. There were also accusations that the Church of Scientology — of which Masterson is reportedly a member — played a role in intimidating the actor’s alleged victims; in August 2019, four women filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church, claiming they were stalked after they filed sexual assault reports against the actor with the LAPD, the Hollywood Reporter wrote.
Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau said in a statement soon after the actor’s arrest (via Variety), “Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify. Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
In 2016, the state of California modified their statute of limitations laws related to felony rape, eliminating the 10-year time limit previously tied to sexual assault allegations.