Danny Masterson has been charged with three accounts of rape by force or fear, to which he pleaded not guilty, and the trial is moving forward with evidence from the prosecutors. All three allegations are dated back to Masterson’s height of fame from 1998 to 2006 when starring in the sitcom That ’70s Show as the character Steven Hyde.
Prosecutors have presented evidence to support the claims that Masterson “raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003.” All incidents reportedly occurred in Masterson’s home, and the rapes were achieved through force or fear.
So far only two of the women accusing Masterson of rape have come forward: Chrissie Carnell Bixler and Bobette Riales. They shared that they’ve experienced “continued harassment” from the actor, as well as from the Church of Scientology, of which he is a member. Masterson is also facing a 2019 court case from four women that claim he and the Church of Scientology have stalked, invaded privacy, and conspired to obstruct justice.
The rape trial has experienced several Covid-related delays, and as Masterson approaches his one-year anniversary of arrest, five months have passed since he pleaded not guilty to his charges.
Danny Masterson is being represented by Thomas Mesereau, the famous attorney who represented both Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby in their own sexual misconduct cases. During a hearing last year, Mesereau said his client was “absolutely not guilty and we’re going to prove it.”
Since the allegations surfaced, he has been removed from his role on the Netflix show The Ranch. The show also stars Ashton Kutcher, an actor who shared the spotlight with Masterson on That ’70s Show. Kutcher is now married to Mila Kunis, the actress who played Masterson’s girlfriend, Jackie, on That ’70s Show. The couple was criticized for maintaining their friendship with Masterson after being seen partying with him at a 2019 wedding. However, since the allegations of rape against Masterson, Kutcher has not come forward with a public statement about his old friend.
Today prosecutors are presenting evidence to convince the judge overseeing the case that Danny Masterson should stand trial in the rapes of the three women. Time will tell if the case will continue to move forward and if justice needs to be served. If Masterson is charged as guilty, the 43-year-old could face up to 45 years in prison.