Danny Masterson accuser claims actor raped her and said she was then told by Scientology leader to 'consider the consequences' of going to police
- Actor Danny Masterson's trial kicked off in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
- He's standing trial on three charges of forcible rape that the prosecution alleges happened between 2001 and 2003.
During the opening statements of actor Danny Masterson's criminal rape trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller offered the court an inside look at Masterson's house, flipping through slides that showed his backyard, jacuzzi, and master bedroom.
In those sections of the house, between 2001 and 2003, the prosecution said during opening statements, the "That '70s Show" actor raped at least three women, taking jurors on a macabre guided tour.
In 2020, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office charged Masterson with three counts of rape. Masterson and his legal team have denied the allegations, calling them "outrageous." He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and during opening statements Tuesday, Masterson's attorney said the women's accounts of the incidents had inconsistencies and that they had potentially discussed the details with one another.
On Tuesday, opening statements in the trial expected to last weeks centered on the three alleged rapes, but also veered into how the Church of Scientology responded to the allegations, which prosecutors have said intimidated the women and attempted to protect Masterson from potential consequences.
Masterson is a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, and although the trial is centered on what the accusers say happened in the actor's house, church leaders' response to the accusations will inevitably be a presence. The Church of Scientology is not a defendant in Masterson's criminal trial and declined to comment to Insider on the trial.
In 2019, four women filed a civil lawsuit against Masterson and the church, accusing Masterson of sexually assaulting them between 2001 and 2003. That suit led to the three criminal charges filed in 2020.
Prosecutors described the first alleged rape
During opening statements on Tuesday, Mueller alleged that on April 25, 2002, Masterson committed the first count of forcible rape that he is being charged with.
One of the women set to take the stand during the trial was identified as Jane Doe 1, or Jen B. They had a "brother-sister" relationship, Mueller said. Both of them were close friends with Brie Schaffer, Masterson's personal assistant in the early 2000s.
Jen B. was set to sleep at Schaffer's house, but on a whim, the pair went to join Masterson and others at the Electric Lotus restaurant, with Jen B. ending up at Masterson's house.
Masterson "brought her a fruity red drink in a coffee mug," Mueller told the court, adding that Jen B., who hadn't consumed alcohol that night, quickly became highly disoriented. The prosecution alleged that Masterson then dragged her, semi-conscious, into his jacuzzi, as she told him "no, no, no" and started to feel impaired and nauseous.
Then, Masterson told her about his jacuzzi rule, Mueller said, where the actor told guests, "you have 15 seconds to drop everything," before getting into his hot tub.
"After 5 to 10 minutes in the jacuzzi, things got worse," Mueller said. "She had a fear she was going to slip down in the water."
The prosecution told the court that after she became very nauseous, Masterson told guests at his house, "I'm gonna carry her upstairs, I'm gonna put my finger down her throat and I'm gonna make her vomit."
Mueller alleged that while fading in and out of consciousness, Jen B. was groped by Masterson in the shower, and later woke up to Masterson "with all of his body weight" on her, penetrating her. When she tried to hit Masterson with a pillow to stop, he smothered her with it, the prosecution said.
Mueller added that Masterson continued raping Jen B., and choked her until she was unconscious. After she regained consciousness, Masterson pulled a gun from the cabinet, the DA said, and told her "don't fucking move, don't fucking move."
She snuck into his closet, curled up under his clothing rack, and passed out.
According to the prosecution, Jen B. — who has also alleged that Masterson anally raped her months before the incident — told some close family members about the incident. And at her father's birthday celebration in Florida the next week, her family noticed bruises.
Internal Scientology processes are mentioned in the opening
When Jen B., a second-generation Scientologist who knew Masterson for years, tried to report the rape to Julian Swartz, her ethics officer at the Church of Scientology, he told her: "If you're going to tell me this is rape, this is not rape — you're not allowed to say the word rape, to go to the police or tell anyone. Doing so would be considered a high crime," the prosecution told the court, adding that Jen B. was told she could have been declared a "suppressive person" for reporting the incident, meaning that her family and friends would have to detach from her.
Years later, she tried to elevate the channels and wrote a letter to Scientology's International Justice Chief asking permission to go to the authorities, per the prosecution.
She was told to "consider the consequences," Mueller told the court. Later, in July 2004, she met with a Scientology attorney at her parents' house, and was told that if she did not sign an NDA then she'd be described as a "suppressive person."
Ultimately, in 2016 Jen. B went to the police with her claims, and a criminal investigation was launched.
An expert previously told Insider that Scientology would likely come into play during the trial given the high level of control the organization has over its congregants.
- Byju's shareholders vote to remove CEO, family; company calls vote invalid
- Engaging with competent authorities, use only genuine cheese, says McDonald's
- Apple's India revenue up 42% to $8.7 bn in 2023: Morgan Stanley
- Reserve Bank asks NPCI to help continue operations of Paytm app
- Top 10 places to visit in Andhra Pradesh