posted ago by winn ago by winn +74 / -0

Actor Danny Masterson has been found guilty of raping two women between 2001 and 2003 in a retrial.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for more than a week before reaching a verdict on two of three charges. Jurors were given the case last week, after prosecutors finally finished their rebuttal following all-day closing arguments.

Jury unable to reach verdict in 2022 In 2022, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case against the actor involving rape allegations by three women, and Los Angeles Judge Charlaine Olmedo declared a mistrial. This week, prosecutors said in their closing argument on Tuesday that Masterson had drugged the women in order to assault them, then relied on his status as a prominent member in the Church of Scientology to avoid consequences for decades.

"You don't want to have sex? You don't have a choice," Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson told the jury.

"The defendant makes that choice for these victims. And he does it, over and over and over again."

After the closing arguments, Masterson's attorney, Philip Cohen, made a motion for a mistrial, one of several that he made during the three-week trial, because of the prosecution's mention of drugging, which was not part of the charges.

Judge Olmedo rejected the motion, and said the prosecution was acting within the bounds of her pre-trial decision by allowing them to assert that the women were drugged.

In the 2022 trial, Masterson, 47, pleaded not guilty to raping three women at his home between 2001 and 2003.

During the defence's closing, Mr Cohen told jurors the women's accounts were so full of inconsistencies, there was more than enough reasonable doubt for jurors to acquit Masterson.

He emphasised the lack of any physical evidence of drugging, with the investigation that led to Masterson's arrest coming 15 years after the alleged rapes.

"Miss Anson presented a case as if she was arguing a drugging case," Mr Cohen said. "Maybe it's because there is no evidence of force or violence."

Scientology played an outsized role during the trial. Masterson is a member, and all three women are former members.

Prosecutors said the institution protected him, and helped convince the women that they were not raped, and could not go to authorities to report a fellow Scientologist in good standing. The church denied having any such policy.

Masterson played the roles of Steven Hyde in That '70s Show, Milo Foster in Men at Work and Jameson "Rooster" Bennett in The Ranch.