Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Danny Masterson’s Sexual Assault Allegations and Case: What to Know

By Michael Feb 20, 2024

Danny Masterson made headlines in 2017 when he was first accused of sexual assault. He has since pleaded not guilty after being charged in June 2020 with allegedly raping three women.

Four women claimed in March 2017 that Masterson sexually assaulted them in the early 2000s. A fifth woman came forward in December 2017, claiming that while she was dating the actor, he “repeatedly raped” her.

Masterson maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty in January 2021 to three counts of rape. His first trial began in fall 2022, which ended in a mistrial. Masterson went back on trial in spring 2023 when he was convicted of two counts of rape.

The actor was sentenced in September 2023 to 30 years in prison. That same month, his wife Bijou Phillips filed for divorce.

Scroll down for more details on Masterson’s sexual assault case, trial and his civil lawsuit:

This is an ongoing article that was originally published in January 2022 and last updated in February 2024.

Initial Allegations
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Us in March 2017 that they were investigating claims that Masterson sexually assaulted multiple women in the early 2000s. No charges had been filed at the time.
The LAPD’s investigation was prompted by multiple police reports and journalist Tony Ortega’s report of three women’s alleged accounts of rape, sodomy or sexual assault, which he posted on his blog, The Underground Bunker. (Four women were on the record at the time, claiming they were assaulted by the actor.)
In one of Ortega’s posts, he claimed that one victim approached Leah Remini, who was a Scientologist like Masterson for decades, and told her what allegedly happened. The woman was then advised to file a police report by Remini, according to Ortega.
“I met with the LAPD. I met with Detective Reyes [of the robbery-homicide division, who was assigned the case], and I told her these victims deserve to be heard,” Remini told Ortega at the time. “I asked her to do the right thing by these girls, and I told her that the world is watching.”
The Dracula 2000 actor’s rep issued a statement denying all claims of sexual assault that same month. “We are aware of [the victim]’s 16-year-old allegations. It was only after [the victim] was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson,” the rep said at the time. “The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their six-year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend.”
Booted From ‘The Ranch’
“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a spokesperson for the streaming company told Us in a statement in December 2017. “[Monday] was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”
Masterson played Jameson “Rooster” Bennett on the Netflix series for three seasons alongside former That ‘70s Show costar Ashton Kutcher before he was fired in the wake of his sexual assault allegations.
Greg Gayne/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock
Breaks His Silence on Firing
Masterson reacted to being ousted from The Ranch in December 2017, telling Us in a statement, “I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch.”
He denied the “outrageous allegations” against him at the time, claiming, “Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one.”
The actor said he looked “forward to clearing my name once and for all,” before thanking his former castmates and the show’s crew for the time they spent together. “I wish them nothing but success. I am also so thankful to the fans that have supported me and continue to do so,” he added.
Tyler Golden/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock
More Allegations
Masterson’s ex-girlfriend Bobette Riales came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct in December 2017, bringing the count up to five women claiming the Beethoven’s 2nd actor allegedly assaulted them in the early 2000s.
“I stayed quiet long enough. Danny Masterson repeatedly raped me,” Riales claimed via Twitter at the time. “All I seek is justice and to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else as it has for some time. My truth will be heard.”
Riales also showed Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who is one of Masterson’s exes and another accuser, support, tweeting, “I applaud her strength as well #metoo #sisters.”
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
DA Holds Off on Charges
A source at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office exclusively told Us in February 2018 that despite the “heinous” sexual misconduct claims against Masterson, the DA’s office was not ready to press charges.
“Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked the deputy district attorney Reinhold Mueller, handling the Danny Masterson rape investigation, for further investigation after the case was formally presented to her almost three months ago,” the source explained. “This case is being taken very seriously and does have top priority within the sex crimes division of the office. Not because of Mr. Masterson’s celebrity status, but because of the heinous allegations by the alleged victims.”
The insider added: “This is a high-profile case, and it needs to be airtight before any decision is made about charging Danny Masterson.”
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Church of Scientology Sued
Four of the five women who accused Masterson of sexual assault filed a lawsuit against him, the Church of Scientology and the church’s leader, David Miscavige, in August 2019. His exes, Bixler and Riales, were reportedly identified in the lawsuit. The other two women were listed as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2.
The accusers claimed that Masterson and the church engaged in stalking, physical invasion of privacy and conspiracy to obstruct justice after the women reported their allegations against the New York native to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2016 and 2017.
Masterson denied the allegations in a statement to Us at the time, saying, “This is beyond ridiculous. I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court— and look forward to it because the public will finally be able to learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman.”
A litigation attorney for the Church of Scientology also reacted to the lawsuit, telling Us in a statement, “From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt.”
The Charges
Masterson was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear, LA DA Jackie Lacey announced in June 2020, three years after he was first accused of sexual assault. The actor was arrested on June 17 and released later that day on $3.3 million bail. His arraignment hearing was set for September of that year and could face up to 45 years to life in a state prison if convicted.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges for two of the five alleged assaults due to insufficient evidence and statute of limitations. Masterson was, however, accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman between October and December 2003 in his home.
“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,” his criminal defense attorney said in a statement to Us after he was charged.
A Robust Defense
In June 2020, a source exclusively told Us that Masterson had a “robust” defense prepared after being charged with three counts of rape. “It should be pointed out the alleged victims are currently suing Danny for significant financial damages,” the insider said. “Danny will not be accepting a plea deal, despite pressure he will get to take it. Period.”
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Pleading Not Guilty
Us confirmed in January 2021 that Masterson pleaded not guilty to all of the rape charges against him. His attorney, Tom Mesereau, entered a plea of not guilty on all charges on his behalf during a court hearing.
“We want a fair trial and an unbiased jury. We want a jury that is not contaminated by negative media coverage, and in the interest of fairness,” Mesereau said at the time. “We’re requesting that there be no media presence.” The prosecutor, however, did not agree with Masterson’s lawyer’s request and set a preliminary hearing for March of that year.
Plans for 1st Trial
In May 2021, a judge ordered Masterson to stand trial on the rape charges made against him. All three women testified at the preliminary hearing, where the judge ruled that prosecutors had enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Selling His Home
Amid his legal issues, the Chicago 8 actor and his wife, Bijou Phillips, listed their Los Angeles five-bedroom home in August 2021 for $6.9 million. The mansion sold four months later for $6.2 million, according to Dirt. (The pair are parents of daughter Fianna, born in 2014.)
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Judge Rejects Subpoenas
A judge rejected Masterson’s request for a variety of subpoenas in August 2021 after his legal team asked for information related to Remini’s anti-Scientologist TV show, in addition to anything about church leader David Miscavige and his wife, Shelly.
His attorney claimed the information would help them investigate the alleged “inconsistences” with accusing witness’ accounts at trial. The judge, however, called the request an “overt attempt to obtain privileged information in LAPD files” and denied access to the files.
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
No Scientology Arbitration
An appeals court ruled in January 2022 that Masterson’s accusers do not have to take their case to a religious arbitration panel run by the Church of Scientology after claiming in a civil suit that Masterson and Miscavige stalked and harassed them.
“Scientology’s written arbitration agreements are not enforceable against members who have left the faith, with respect to claims for subsequent non-religious, tortious acts,” the California Court of Appel ruled. “To hold otherwise would bind members irrevocably to a faith they have the constitutional right to leave.”
Amanda Schwab/Starpix/Shutterstock
Dismissal Denied
In February 2022, the actor sought to have the criminal rape charges dismissed. He was unsuccessful, and his trial is set for August 2022.
The Trial Begins
Opening statements in the trial began in October 2022. Although the defense sought to have any mention of Scientology barred from the proceedings during a pre-trial hearing, the request was denied.
“Try as Masterson’s team might to keep that evidence out, I think it’s inevitable that it will become an element in the trial, and the prosecution will likely use this to their benefit to explain the extremely long delay in reporting these allegations to law enforcement,” Joshua Ritter, a defense attorney and former Los Angeles County prosecutor, said in a statement to Us.
According to Deadline, the first of Masterson’s three accusers — whose names are not public — testified on October 19. Jane Doe No. 1 alleged that the actor forcibly raped her in 2002 and said that she “couldn’t breathe” during the assault. “I went unconscious. When I came to, he was still on top of me,” she claimed.
In November 2022, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous vote on the three charges Masterson faced causing the judge to declare it a mistrial. The case will be retried in April 2023.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome in this trial, we thank the jurors for their service,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to Us at the time. “We also want to give our heartfelt appreciation to the victims for bravely stepping forward and recounting their harrowing experiences. We also are thankful for the hard work of the prosecution team and we will now consider our next steps as it relates to prosecuting this case.”

Second Trial Date
After the judge denied a defense request to dismiss the case in January 2023, a date of April 17 was set for jury selection for the second trial.
“It appears there are many other witnesses the People could choose to call or different arguments the People could choose to make,” Judge Charlaine Olmedo said at the time. “A different outcome at a retrial is at least a possibility.”
Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Why Isn’t Hyde on ‘That ‘90s Show’?
While Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama all reprised their roles in Netflix’s sequel series, Masterson’s That ‘70s Show character, Hyde, is not part of That ‘90s Show. Hyde also isn’t included in a flashback sequence of the OG characters in the Forman’s infamous basement and his absence isn’t addressed.
The Verdict Is In
News broke in May 2023 that Masterson was found guilty of raping two women in 2003, but the jury could not reach a verdict for a November 2001 allegation involving an ex-girlfriend. He is set to return to court on August 4, 2023.​ With the two charges, he could face a prison sentence of 30 years to life.
A 2nd Verdict Is Reached
Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on September 7, 2023, after he was convicted of two counts of forcible rape during his sexual assault retrial. 
“Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice,” the judge told the actor in court. “Your actions 20 years ago today were criminal, and that’s why you are here.”
Following the trial, Masterson’s defense lawyer Shawn Holley announced they will appeal in state and federal court outside the criminal courts, per Deadline.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Prison Carousel
Masterson’s mugshot was released in December 2023, and he began his 30-year prison sentence at North Kern State Prison in Delano, California. Us confirmed in late January 2024 that Masterson was transferred to maximum-security prison Corcoran State Prison in Central California. The famous prison once housed Charles Manson.
Us confirmed in February 2024 that after just a few weeks, Masterson was once again moved. This time, he was relocated to medium-and-minimum-security facility Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, California.

By Michael

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