LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of actor and ‘That ’70s Show’ star Danny Masterson, who is accused of drugging three women and assaulting them at his Hollywood Hills home, and is expected to that it contains testimony about the Church of Scientology.
Masterson, now 46, was charged in June 2020 with triple rape by force or fear.
He is said to have raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He is also accused of raping a then 28-year-old and a 23-year-old woman he invited to his home between October and December 2003, according to assistant prosecutor Reinhold Müller.
Masterson is a longtime supporter of the Church of Scientology, and the alleged victims were also Scientology members.
“On the one hand, it’s a fairly simple sexual assault case with horrific allegations, but he’s involved in this Scientology thing because Danny Masterson isn’t just a Scientology celebrity, the three women he’s accused of raping were at that time all Scientologists. Tony Ortega, editor of The Underground Bunker and pool reporter on the trial, said Thursday.
The actor claims the sex was consensual.
A civil lawsuit filed in August 2019 against Masterson and the Church of Scientology by the three women involved in the criminal case and one woman who was not a member of the church alleges they were stalked and harassed after allegations were made at Los had raised allegations of sexual assault against the actor by the Angeles police.
“The problem is that the women say they didn’t come forward sooner because they were afraid of retaliation from the Church of Scientology,” Ortega said. “Therefore the judge admits some statements about Scientology.”
According to Ortega, all three alleged victims are scheduled to take a stand alongside Lisa Marie Presley.
The district attorney’s office declined to press sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence for one and the statute of limitations for the other.
City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.