Actor Danny Masterson will face a second sexual assault trial later this year, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The 47-year-old actor, best known for his role on the sitcom That 70s Show, was accused of raping and assaulting three members of the Church of Scientology at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003, according to testimony at a Trial in November, a jury blocked the charges causing a mistrial.
When questioned about it, the jury said they were intent on acquitting Masterson, and prosecutors were reluctant to try him again. They announced this at a brief court hearing on Tuesday morning, according to a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office.
Also on Tuesday, a motion by Masterson’s attorneys to dismiss all charges was denied. Jury selection in the second trial is scheduled to begin on March 29.
Masterson’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. The actor has denied any wrongdoing.
Each of the accusers in the case testified that they met Masterson through their involvement with Scientology, and two said they delayed reporting the alleged assaults for fear the church would punish them for turning a church member over to the police .
One of the women claimed she became seriously ill after consuming a drink offered by Masterson, who then allegedly assaulted her in a bathroom at his home. She also claimed that he drew a pistol during the attack.
In a statement, two of the women whose allegations led to criminal charges said they were “pleased Danny Masterson cannot simply evade criminal responsibility” and that they would testify again against Masterson at the retrial. The third woman did not comment.
The Times does not name victims of alleged sexual assault unless they consent to be named or have spoken publicly about their allegations. Masterson’s accusers were identified in court with part of their names to protect their identities.
At some point in the first trial, prosecutors delved into the church’s arcane rules, suggesting that the women could have been declared “suppressive” individuals and cut off from their relatives in the church if they spoke out against Masterson.
“I was a Scientologist and Mr. Masterson is a Scientologist and you cannot report another Scientologist in good standing to the authorities,” testified a woman identified as Jen B. at the hearing. “My life would be over. My parents would have to separate from me. … I could never speak to any of my friends again. … I would have nowhere to work or live.”
Through a spokeswoman, Scientology officials complained that references to Masterson’s beliefs in the case showed bias against their religion. Church officials also said there are no rules in their faith that prohibit members from reporting crimes to the police.
Times contributor Noah Goldberg contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-10/l-a-prosecutors-to-retry-danny-masterson-on-sexual-assault-charges L.A. prosecutors to retry Danny Masterson on sexual assault charges