Jury selection begins in rape trial of 'That '70s Show' star Danny Masterson

Three alleged victims are expected to take the stand this week along with Lisa Marie Presley, according to sources.

Leanne Suter Image
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

The jury selection process began Tuesday in the trial of actor Danny Masterson, who is charged with raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of actor and "That '70s Show" star Danny Masterson, who is charged with drugging three women and assaulting them at his Hollywood Hills home, and it's expected to include testimony on the Church of Scientology.

Masterson, now 46, was charged in June 2020 with three counts of rape by force or fear.

He allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He is also charged with raping a woman who was 28 at the time and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his home sometime between October and December 2003, according to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

Masterson is a longtime adherent of the Church of Scientology, and the alleged victims were also Scientology members.

"On the one hand, it's a fairly simple case of sexual assault with awful allegations, but it's wrapped up in this Scientology thing because Danny Masterson is not only a Scientology celebrity, the three women he's accused of raping all were Scientologists at the time," said Tony Ortega, editor of The Underground Bunker and the trial's pool reporter on Thursday.

The actor maintains the sex was consensual.

A civil suit 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 filing sexual assault allegations against the actor with Los Angeles police.

"The issue is that the women say they didn't come forward sooner because they were worried about retaliation from the Church of Scientology," Ortega said. "That's why the judge is allowing some testimony about Scientology."

All three alleged victims are expected to take the stand along with Lisa Marie Presley, according to Ortega.

The District Attorney's Office declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence on one and the statute of limitations on the other.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.