Actor Danny Masterson’s trial
In tears on Wednesday, the woman who claims “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson sexually assaulted her at his Hollywood Hills home in 2003 described how she tried to fend him off by gripping his hair and shoving a pillow at him, but she feared she was going to die.
The first witness for the prosecution is one of three women who have accused the actor of raping them between 2001 and 2003. She is known in court by the initials “J.B.”
After Masterson threw her in his hot tub on April 25, 2003, she claimed she drank around half of a “very sweet” and “extremely fruity” vodka cocktail he offered her on her second day of the witness stand. She also said she felt “weak” and warned that she was going to vomit.
She said that Masterson carried her into his master bathroom despite her protests, shoved his fingers down her throat, causing her to vomit, and then “washed” her breasts with soap while she swung at him in the shower.
Then, she claimed, he carried her to his bed, where she fell asleep or was knocked out. She remembers waking up on Masterson’s bed to discover her fellow Scientologist lying on top of her.
During his penetration, the lady claimed she grabbed the back of his hair and forced a pillow into his face. She claimed that as the actor put all of his weight on her, he pushed the pillow back into her face, and she felt “smothered.”
She sobbed as she continued, “I could not breathe.”
The woman told the jury that after falling unconscious once more, she awoke to find him still on top of her and grabbed his throat. She stated in court that Masterson grabbed her throat and she felt like she was going to pass away.
The claimed victim cried, “I can’t do this,” which led Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo to order a five-minute pause.
The lady said that after a brief interval, Masterson said, “You like this,” and warned her not to tell anybody about the alleged prior incident with Masterson in 2002.
She claimed that after hearing commotion outside the bedroom door, the actor urged her to stop talking after she saw him go into a nightstand drawer and get a revolver. The lady testified to the jury that she hid among the shirts in Masterson’s closet while he was out of the bedroom, finally passed out again, tried to wake up discreetly, and then was carried back to the bed.
She added that when she subsequently woke up, Masterson was not at the house.
The lady testified that despite worries that she would be branded a “suppressive person” by the Church of Scientology, of which she and Masterson were both members, she chose to go to the Hollywood station of the Los Angeles Police Department in June 2004 to report what had occurred.
She claimed that not charging Masterson at the time made her feel “scared,” and that she later signed a non-disclosure agreement for which she was paid $400,000 over the course of a year. She claimed that after receiving another call from Los Angeles police, she spoke with the other two alleged victims.
The woman is scheduled to take the witness stand once more on Thursday.
Despite stating that there was “nothing improper with delayed reporting,” defence counsel Philip Kent Cohen said that the three alleged victims disregarded police orders not to discuss their claims with one another or prospective witnesses. He claimed that if they did, they would “contaminate” the case and lose all credibility.
According to Masterson’s attorney, “you’re going to hear (that) after being directed, coached, and scolded by the LAPD, these women all speak to each other” and to witnesses.
The case, according to the defence attorney, is not about Scientology, church doctrine, or whether Masterson was a “bad guy” or a “bad boyfriend,” but rather about “three nights with three women” and whether the prosecution can establish forced rape.
Two of the three women contacted church ethics officers about what had occurred, and they were dissuaded from originally reporting their rape charges, according to deputy district attorney Reinhold Mueller, who testified before the jury.
According to the prosecutor, who noted that those who disobey the church’s directives can be labelled as a “suppressive person” and shunned by their family and friends who are involved with the church, one of the alleged victims was reportedly told, “If you’re going to tell me it’s rape, it’s not rape.”
A church ethics officer reportedly told one of the other alleged victims, a former longtime girlfriend of Masterson, that she was never to use the word “rape” again. Outside of the jury’s view, The judge informed the council on Tuesday that there won’t be a lot of discussion about Scientology throughout the trial.
After being detained by the Robbery-Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, Masterson has been out on bail ever since.
Netflix said in December 2017 that Masterson had been sacked from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy “The Ranch” due to claims of sexual assault.
The actor expressed his disappointment at the time, saying that “you seem to be presumed guilty the instant you are accused.” Additionally, he “denied the absurd charges” and expressed excitement for “clearing my name once and for all.”
The three women involved in the criminal case and one other woman who was not a member of the church filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology in August 2019 alleging they were stalked and harassed after reporting alleged sexual assault against the actor to Los Angeles police.
Due to inadequate evidence in one case and the statute of limitations in the other, the District Attorney’s Office decided not to charge Masterson with sexual assault in connection with two other alleged events.