LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty Monday to allegations that he sexually assaulted three women at his Hollywood Hills home.
The 45-year-old actor, best known for “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch,” is accused of raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.
He was ordered to stand trial May 21 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who said that she “found all three witnesses to be credible and the evidence sufficient to support the charges.”
The judge found the three alleged victims’ delays in reporting the alleged attacks to be reasonable given the tenets of the Church of Scientology, of which the actor is a longtime adherent.
The judge noted that the women hesitated to contact police for fear of running afoul of Church of Scientology rules and ending up isolated from friends and family members.
Masterson — who surrendered his passport to court officials — has denied the allegations and remains free on $3.3 million bail.
The criminal complaint, filed last June, alleges that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He is also charged with raping a woman who was 28 at the time and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his home some time between October and December 2003, according to L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.
Jennifer B. testified that she was a second-generation church member when she met Masterson and struggled to maintain her composure as she described the alleged sexual assault. She told the judge that she drifted in and out of consciousness the night of the incident in April 2003 after Masterson gave her a drink mixed with drugs and vodka.
“I came to and he was on top of me and he was inside of me,” the woman testified.
She said she tried to fight Masterson off with a pillow. Later, he took a pistol out of a dresser drawer and waved it in her presence in the way that a gang member would give a gang sign, she said.
Christina B. — a former girlfriend who had a six-year, live-in relationship with the actor — testified that she reported to a church ethics official that she believed she was the victim of rape during an alleged incident of non-consensual sex with Masterson.
Masterson was arrested in June of 2020 by Los Angeles police.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence on one and the statute of limitations on the other.
In December 2017, Netflix announced that Masterson had been fired from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy “The Ranch” amid sexual assault allegations.
The actor said then that he was “very disappointed” and “it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.” He also “denied the outrageous allegations” and said he looked forward to “clearing my name once and for all.”
A pretrial hearing has been set for Aug. 9. Masterson’s attorneys are expected to file a motion seeking to appeal the decision to proceed to trial.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)