Over two-and-a-half years after Netflix fired Danny Masterson from The Ranch over the sexual assault allegations against him (following the legal cases stalling out in the court system), the actor has been formally charged with three counts of rape by force or fear by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. As Variety reports, he faces up to 45 years behind bars if convicted, and he awaits arraignment on September 18. CNN adds that Masterson was arrested but released on $3.3. million bail.
KTLA reports some specifics on the cases that led to these charges:
Masterson allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, according to a criminal complained filed against him. He is also accused of raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003. Sometime between October and December of that year, he allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman who he invited to his home.
Variety notes that the DA declined to pursue charges in two other cases, one of which faced a statute of limitations expiration and the other due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
These charges follow a lawsuit filed in late 2019 from four of Masterson’s rape accusers against the actor and the Church of Scientology. The women alleged that they were stalked and harassed because they went to police with their accusations against Masterson. The lawsuit’s claims strongly resembled those made by other opponents of Scientology about the organization’s alleged use of “fair game” retaliation practices against perceived enemies. In 2017, ex-Scientologist Leah Remini helped raise public awareness of the cases against the That ’70s Show actor by interviewing multiple Masterson accusers on her documentary TV series.
Following the announcement of charges, the Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali tweeted a statement from Masterson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau:
“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 now the allegations to be false.”