Actor Danny Masterson, known for his role as Steven Hyde on the sitcom “That ‘70s Show”, has been transferred to a California state prison to begin serving his sentence after being convicted of raping three women in the early 2000s.
Masterson was admitted to North Kern State Prison in Delano, California on December 27th to start his sentence of 45 days in county jail and 45 months in state prison. His mugshot from the prison shows an unrecognizable Masterson with a shaved head, looking weary as he faces years behind bars.
The 46-year-old actor was charged in 2020 with three counts of rape by force or fear stemming from incidents that occurred between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. He pleaded not guilty but was found guilty on all three counts in a trial concluding on December 7th.
Background of the Case
Masterson had been free on bail since his June 2020 arrest, but a judge revoked his bail at a December hearing when it was determined he was a flight risk. The judge ordered him to report to jail on December 14th, where he served just over a week before being transferred to state prison this week.
Prosecutors said Masterson used “force, fear or threats” over a period of years to sexually assault three women who were in their 20s and members of the Church of Scientology at the time. Masterson is a longtime Scientologist and the church was said to have gone to extremes to cover up the rapes and protect him from prosecution.
Two of the victims testified during Masterson’s trial that church officials warned them not to go to police with their accusations. One woman said she was told that by speaking out, she would be labeled a “suppressive person” in Scientology. Both women said Masterson raped them after spiking their drinks, causing them to slip in and out of consciousness.
Details of Prison Transfer
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released Masterson’s mug shot after processing him at North Kern State Prison, showing the bearded look he sported in court replaced by a shaved head and face. North Kern State Prison is a high-security all-male facility located 140 miles north of Los Angeles.
Masterson appeared stoic in the photo, wearing an orange jumpsuit and identification badge listing his California prison number and “CDCR inmate” status. His famous blue eyes look tired as he faces the prospect of serving the next 3 years and 9 months behind bars.
In a statement, the CDCR said Masterson was processed per agency protocol which includes medical and mental health screening, security risk assessment and custody classification to determine needs, programs and placement. He joins over 95,000 other inmates serving time in California’s 35 state prisons.
Reaction and What’s Next
Defense attorneys said they would appeal Masterson’s “disappointing” conviction, arguing there was “insufficient evidence” to support the charges. But legal experts said given the testimony at trial and jury’s unambiguous guilty verdicts, it was unlikely an appeals court would overturn the conviction.
For the victims, seeing Masterson transferred in handcuffs and a prison jumpsuit brought a sense of relief that justice was finally being served. “I feel so incredibly grateful,” said one of the women after Masterson’s sentencing. A lawyer for two victims said of the mug shot: “The look of dismay on Masterson’s face is worth all that we endured.”
Masterson must serve his full prison term before being eligible for parole. He also faces a civil trial in 2023 on sexual assault and harassment allegations from four women, along with charges he and the Church of Scientology stalked and intimidated victims.
Even in a prison uniform behind bars, Masterson’s legal battles are far from over. But his conviction shows that truth can prevail over harassment and attempts to silence victims, no matter how powerful the accused.
Table of Key Events
|June 17, 2020
|Masterson arrested and charged with raping 3 women
|October 18, 2022
|Trial begins in Los Angeles Superior Court
|November 28, 2022
|Jury begins deliberations after 4 week trial
|December 7, 2022
|Masterson found guilty on all counts
|December 14, 2022
|Judge revokes bail, orders prison surrender
|December 27, 2022
|Transferred to North Kern State Prison
This table outlines the key dates spanning Danny Masterson’s criminal rape case from his arrest to conviction to finally being imprisoned this week. It captures the over 2.5 year journey culminating in Masterson exchanging his Hollywood lifestyle for a stark prison cell.
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