The case against Danny Masterson will move forward after a judge dismissed a motion filed by the defense, claiming that the rape allegations against Masterson exceeded the statute of limitations.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter ruled in favor of prosecutors who argued that since the case involves rape accusations, it falls under California’s “one strike” law, reserved for crimes that involve some form of sexual assault. These crimes are exempt from statutes of limitation, per a state law that former Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2016, following the 60 women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual abuse going back 50 years.
Masterson, best known for his role in That ‘70s Show, was arrested in June and charged with three counts of rape by force or fear, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.
The sexual assault allegations against him first emerged nearly three years ago, when four women who knew Masterson through the Church of Scientology accused him of raping them in separate incidents in the 2000s. Three of the women told authorities that they didn’t come forward sooner because the Church had pressured them to keep quiet.
Masterson continues to deny the allegations. “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,” Masterson said through his attorney last year. “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.”
Now that the case can proceed, Masterson will appear in court in early November for his arraignment. And because Monday’s ruling also dismissed Masterson’s attorneys’ motion to bar reporters from the courtroom, press will be allowed to attend the hearings.