Thursday, 01 December 2022 – A mistrial was declared in American actor Danny Masterson’s rape case on Wednesday, November 30, as the jury could not reach a decision on whether the actor was innocent or guilty.
The 47-year-old actor who has been charged with three counts of forcible rape over incidents that occurred between 2001 to 2003 involving three accusers, sat through a five-week trial in which jurors heard testimonies including one from a woman who said she thought she was “going to die” when the former “That ’70s Show” star allegedly choked and raped her in April 2003.
The victims, who were members of the religious group, Scientology, at the time of the incidents, said they had fears of being alienated should they report Masterson, a prominent member of the Church.
They also revealed that the religious practices they followed at the time didn’t allow them to think the incidents were rape.
Recounting her experience after she tried reporting the actor to other Church members, one of the women said she was told to “stop blaming” him because according to Scientology, “You can never be a victim. Nothing ever happens to you without it being your fault.”
She also recalled being unconscious and waking up to Masterson on top of her, his penis in her vagina. She said she tried to push the actor off but he pulled her hair. At some point, Masterson put his hand around her throat.
The woman identified simply as Jen B also disclosed that she was given a choice after the incident; either sign a $400,000 non-disclosure agreement or risk being excommunicated from Scientology, her family, and friends.
Another victim identified as Chrissie B, who was also a former girlfriend of the actor, told jurors that she met Masterson at a party in 1996 when she just turned 18. About a year into the relationship, she said Masterson became emotionally and sexually abusive.
She said Masterson raped her twice in the Hollywood Hills home they had shared in 2001. During one of the incidents, Chrissie B. said she woke up to Masterson’s full weight on top of her. Despite screaming and objecting, Chrissie B. said Masterson continued to rape her.
Masterson’s defense attorneys however argued that the three accusers had changed their stories over the years.
Defense attorney, Philip Cohen, who questioned the motive and character of the alleged victims, said despite repeated warnings from Los Angeles Police Department investigators, the three accusers had spoken with one another and already “contaminated” the case by exchanging details of their encounters with Masterson.
Cohen who recalled how prosecutors depicted his client as a “commanding scary, abusive monster” even though his former girlfriend admitted on the stand she had willingly had sex with him after her alleged rape, also recalled how the accusers contradicted themselves while on the stand.
“The key to this case is not when they reported it. It’s what they said when they reported it, what they said after they reported it and what they said at trial.”
Following the mistrial, prosecutors must now make a decision on whether to retry Masterson, a decision they have to reach by March 2023.