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One in every of Danny Masterson‘s three rape accusers took the stand in Los Angeles Superior Court docket on Tuesday, tearfully recounting what she described as a calculated transfer by the That ’70s Present actor to drug her and sexually assault her.
Prosecutors have alleged that Masterson, 45, who has been free on bond since his June 17, 2020, arrest, raped a 23-year-old lady someday in 2001, a 28-year-old lady in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old lady between October and December of 2003. He has been formally charged with three counts of rape by power or worry. The entire alleged rapes occurred at his Hollywood Hills house.
He may resist 45 years in jail if discovered responsible. Masterson has vehemently denied the fees, and his lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, has repeatedly stated he’ll show his shopper’s innocence.
The accuser, who has recognized herself solely as Jen B., spoke on the preliminary listening to, which is going down to find out if Masterson’s case will go to trial.
She testified that 18 years in the past, in April 2003, she headed to That ’70s Present star’s home to choose up a set of keys. As soon as there, she claims she was satisfied to stay round for drinks with the actor and a few mutual pals — all the folks concerned, together with Jen. B. and Masterson, had been concerned with the Church of Scientology, which is how they knew one another.
She stated she accepted a drink from Masterson, and roughly 20 minutes later her imaginative and prescient turned “blurry” and the actor pushed her right into a scorching tub.
She stated when she obtained out she couldn’t even sit up. A mutual buddy, Luke Watson, tried to assist her.
“I couldn’t stroll or stand, so he put me on the tile on the bottom,” stated Jen B., who started crying however remained composed all through her testimony. “I stated, ‘Luke, I can’t see,’ and he stated, ‘Open your eyes,’ and I didn’t know my eyes had been closed. I couldn’t open my eyelids. I felt actually, actually sick.”
She testified that Masterson carried her upstairs, the place she vomited, then put her in his bathe. She stated she started shedding consciousness however was awake to seek out Masterson soaping her naked breasts. She stated she tried to punch him within the face however was too weak and her hand solely landed flippantly on his chest.
She testified that he put her on the mattress and raped her and has solely flashes of reminiscence within the minutes that adopted. She stated that after she did not get Masterson off her by pulling his hair, she put a pillow in his face, however he pushed it again on her.
She stated he pulled a gun out of his nightstand drawer to threaten her.
Mesereau repeatedly requested Jen B. about inconsistencies between her 2004 police report and a 2003 “information report” — a doc that Scientology followers write up and file — because the church tried to mediate between her and Masterson. She acknowledged there have been variations however stated she tried to be truthful in each case.
Following the alleged incident, she claims, she had bruises on her wrists and neck, together with ache in her genital space.
Jen B. says she was hesitant to file a police report towards Masterson contemplating his robust ties with the church, and all of her family members suggested her towards it. She can be labelled a “suppressive particular person” and ostracized from the church — a devastating factor, contemplating most of her family and friends had been members.
She did ultimately file a police report roughly a 12 months later.
Mesereau stated she had “mischaracterized” the Scientology response.
Earlier than the listening to started, Mesereau argued that references to the church or harassment of ladies by officers and members shouldn’t be allowed. He alleged that the prosecution and lead detective within the case had proven “non secular bias in probably the most blatant kind.”
The choose declined to concern a blanket ban, however she stated she would enable the witnesses to debate the church because it affected their way of thinking. The church has denied ever partaking in any harassment.
Masterson, who was current in court docket, took notes however appeared unfazed by any of the testimony, in line with AP.
Mesereau, whose earlier shoppers have included Michael Jackson and Invoice Cosby, stated in court docket final 12 months that the fees had been the results of unfair hype from media shops and political strain to prosecute his shopper.
Masterson’s arrest got here after a three-year investigation that resulted within the uncommon prosecution of a well-known Hollywood determine within the #MeToo period. Regardless of dozens of investigations, most have led to no prices primarily based on lack of proof or an excessive amount of time having handed because the alleged sexual assaults.
Actor Danny Masterson charged with three counts of rape
The ladies who’ve accused Masterson of sexual misconduct claimed they’ve suffered “harassment, embarrassment and re-victimization” by the actor and the church, since Masterson and the church discovered they had been “co-operating with authorities.”
In 2017, actor Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology, accused the Los Angeles Police Division of overlaying up Masterson’s investigation in an effort to appease Scientology leaders.
Months later, Remini continued to talk out towards Masterson, and the finale episode of her Emmy-winning collection Scientology and the Aftermath was supposed to incorporate two of the 4 ladies who accused Masterson of sexual assault, however that episode was reportedly shelved in February 2019.
After months of back-and-forth, Remini’s two-hour particular, titled Ready for Justice, aired in August 2019. She interviewed Masterson’s accusers about their experiences with the previous The Ranch actor and condemned the Church of Scientology, alleging it was defending him from justice.
Masterson was fired from the Netflix collection The Ranch and quietly dropped by his former expertise company, United Expertise Company (UTA), after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating sexual assault allegations towards him.
“I’m clearly very dissatisfied in Netflix’s determination to write down my character off of The Ranch,” the actor wrote in an announcement on the time of his firing. “From Day 1, I’ve denied the outrageous allegations towards me. I’ve by no means been charged with against the law, not to mention convicted of 1.
“On this nation, you’re presumed harmless till confirmed responsible. Nevertheless, within the present local weather, it appears as in case you are presumed responsible the second you’re accused. I perceive and sit up for clearing my identify as soon as and for all.”
A litigation lawyer for the Church of Scientology additionally launched an announcement in August 2019 calling the lawsuit “a sham.”
In Tuesday’s testimony, Jen B. acknowledged prosecutors instructed her in 2004 that her case had been rejected partly as a result of there have been too many witnesses towards her. She returns to the stand Wednesday for the listening to that’s anticipated to final 4 days.
On Tuesday afternoon, Masterson appeared to be in good spirits, sharing a smiling selfie to Instagram along with his spouse, Bijou Phillips.
“Had probably the most lovely Uber driver drop me off at college right this moment,” he wrote within the caption.
For those who or somebody you understand is experiencing abuse or is concerned in an abusive state of affairs, please go to the Canadian Useful resource Centre for Victims of Crime for assist. They’re additionally reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— With information from Andrew Dalton of the Related Press
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