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That '70s Show's Danny Masterson Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Rape Convictions

Content warning: sexual assault

Danny Masterson, who played the character of Steven Hyde on the beloved sitcom "That '70s Show," has been sentenced to prison after being found guilty of raping two women 20 years ago, according to the Associated Press. The scene in the Los Angeles Superior Court was reportedly emotional as Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down a sentence of 30 years to life in prison for the crimes, which occurred at Masterson's Hollywood residence in 2003.

Masterson, who had been held in custody since his conviction in May, reportedly displayed no emotion as he was confronted by his victims. "Your emptiness and your cowardice will be your true legacy. You are pathetic, disturbed, and completely violent," one woman told him, as reported in Variety. "The world is better off with you in prison."

Throughout the proceedings, Masterson has maintained his innocence. Judge Olmeda chastised him during the sentencing, saying, "Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person's voice and choice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that is why you are here."

Masterson faces justice

Danny Masterson's conviction in May came after two arduous court battles, the first of which ended in a hung jury and the second of which ended in convictions for two out of three counts of rape after seven days of jury deliberation. Although the women had alleged that Masterson drugged them before the assaults, the prosecution in the first trial only implied that aspect of the case. During the retrial, which ultimately ended with Masterson's conviction, the prosecution directly addressed the druggings.

The Church of Scientology also played a role in the case. Masterson is known as a prominent member of the Church, and all three plaintiffs were also members at the time. While the church denied any wrongdoing on its part, several of the women spoke about pressures they allegedly faced from the institution. 

Prominent Scientology critic Leah Remini spoke out after the sentencing

Danny Masterson's accusers testified that the Church had attempted to forbid them from going to the police in the aftermath of being assaulted. The Church denies any such coercion, but one woman testified that she had been expelled from its ranks after going to the police, following which she was cut off from "every person I'd known or loved" and subsequently suffered from suicidal ideations, per reporting in Variety. 

The publication also noted that actor, former Scientology member, and current critic of the church Leah Remini was present at the sentencing. After the sentencing, Remini released a statement on Twitter that read, in part: "The women who survived Danny's predation fought tirelessly for justice. Their tenacity, strength, and courage have given hope to all victims of Scientology that justice is possible. For that, we will forever be grateful."

Today's sentencing marks the end of Masterson's legal battle. "I am experiencing a complex array of emotions — relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness — knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior," said one of the women.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).