`That 70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson charged in 3 rapes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson was charged with the rapes of three women in the early 2000s, Los Angeles prosecutors said Wednesday, the culmination of a three-year investigation that resulted in a rare arrest of a famous Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era.
The three counts of rape by force or fear against Masterson were filed Tuesday, and an arrest warrant isssued. Masterson, 44, was arrested late Wednesday morning, jail records showed. He was released a few hours later after posting bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 18.
Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau said his client 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.”
Prosecutors allege that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home between October and December of 2003.
If convicted, he could face up to 45 years in prison.
Prosecutors declined to file charges in two other Masterson cases that police had investigated, one because of insufficient evidence and the other because the statute of limitations had expired.
Masterson has been married to actor and model Bijou Phillips since 2011.
“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,” said Mesereau, who has previously represented Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby in their trials for sexual crimes.
“The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
The women, whose names were not made public, issued a statement through their attorneys saying they have suffered “harassment, embarrassment and re-victimization” since they began cooperating with authorities.