Actor and North Shore native Danny Masterson is slated to face a trial for charges that he raped three women about two decades ago.
A Los Angeles judge last week ordered the “That 70’s Show” star — who grew up in East Williston and Garden City — to stand trial on three counts of rape from three separate women who have accused Masterson of assaulting them in 2001 and 2003, according to multiple reports.
The charges against the 45-year-old actor could result in up to 45 years in state prison, if convicted, reports say.
Masterson has pleaded not guilty to all three charges, with his lawyers insisting they would prove his innocence during a hearing last week, the Associated Press reported. The news agency identified Masterson’s lead attorney as Thomas Mesereau, who also represented Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson in their respective sexual misconduct cases.
Efforts to reach Mesereau or a representative of Masterson’s defense counsel for comment on the trial were unavailing.
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Masterson reportedly remains free on $3.3 million bail but was scheduled for an arraignment on June 7.
The Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member, has reportedly played a significant role in the case against the actor, whose credits include the sitcom “Men at Work” and the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy “Yes Man.”
Mesereau told the court that the three women and the witnesses in their respective cases were “tainted by anti-religious bias” against the secretive church, according to the AP. The women involved in the case were all former members of the church, the outlet reported.
A woman identified as Christina B. reportedly said she was in a five-year relationship with Masterson at the time of the alleged rape in 2001. She told the court that she awoke to Masterson raping her one night and fought him off by pulling his hair, the report said.
Masterson’s counsel argued that Christina B. “reframed” the alleged incident years after another claim of rape she reported did not result in charges, according to the report.
Another woman identified as Jen B. said she knew Masterson as a “friend from the church” where she was born a member, the AP reported. The woman told the court that Masterson, in 2003, took her upstairs from the hot tub at his home in Los Angeles and proceeded to rape her in his bedroom, according to the report. Masterson’s attorney reportedly claimed the two had consensual sex.
The third woman, identified as N. Trout, said Masterson raped her in 2003 after he told her in a text message to come over to his Los Angeles home. She told the court that she made it clear that the two would not be having sex, the report said.
Masterson’s counsel countered her claims, saying she was aware her trip to the actor’s house would result in sex, according to the report. Masterson’s attorneys also claimed N. Trout was seeking a relationship with the actor at the time, which did not end up occurring, according to the report.