Actor Danny Masterson, known for his roles on That 70s Show and The Ranch, has been arrested and charged with raping three women in the early 2000s, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
According to a news release, Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman whom he’d invited to his home in the Hollywood Hills in 2003, a 28-year-old woman the same year, and a 23-year-old woman in 2001. Each of the alleged attacks took place in Masterson’s home. He’s charged with three counts of rape by force or fear, and faces up to 45 years to life in prison if convicted.
In a statement, Masterson’s attorney said that, “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.”
“Complete shock” might not be the right way to put it, since Masterson has been under investigation for rape for three years now. In 2017, Village Voice journalist Tony Ortega reported that the Church of Scientology pressured three of Masterson’s accusers not to report his alleged actions to police. (Masterson and the accusers were all members.) Following the accusations, Masterson was cut from his role on The Ranch and dropped by his talent agency.
In a 2019 lawsuit filed against both Masterson and David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology, Masterson’s accusers—now totaling four—said that both parties “conspired to and systematically stalked, harassed, invaded their and their family’s privacy, and intentionally caused them emotional distress and silence and intimidate them.”
One of the women, Chrissie Bixler, was in a several years-long relationship with Masterson and said she joined Scientology “per his orders.” She accused Masterson of forcing her to have sex with him, and alleged he became violent when she didn’t. In one case, she said he dragged her “naked across their bedroom floor while berating her appearance. He then threw her, still naked, into the hall and locked the bedroom door.” Masterson’s other three accusers—identified as Bobette Riales, Jane Doe #1, and Jane Doe #2—describe being drugged by Masterson and subsequently sexually assaulted in similar fashions.