On Wednesday, Danny Masterson was formally charged with forcibly raping three women between 2001 and 2003. Documents from the Los Angeles County DA detailed that The Ranch star is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December of 2001, a 28-year-old woman sometime between October and December, as well as a 23-year-old woman that same year.
In addition to the three counts of rape, the court also noted that the D.A.'s Office declined to file sexual assault charges in two additional cases. One was due to a lack of sufficient evidence, while the other had to do with the statute of limitations on the alleged crime. Should he be found guilty, he could be facing a maximum prison sentence of 45 years to life.
However, these charges come after years of allegations against the actor, which date back as far as 2016, and were kept in the spotlight by vocal accusers on social media, lawsuits and celebrity support. They also involve the Church of Scientology, a controversial religious organization, of which Masterson is a member. Here's a rundown of the events, from the initial investigation to his current arrest and pending court date.
Masterson was being investigated for sexual assault for about a year before the story started making headlines in 2016. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County DA's Office had reports from four different women, alleging Masterson had drugged them and raped them after they lost consciousness. Of the four, two of the women had been in a long-term relationship with the actor, who also spoke of multiple instances.prevnext
Chrissie Bixley on Twitter
One of the four accusers, Chrissie Bixley, had railed against Masterson on her Twitter account in 2016 and continued into 2017. She also spoke out against Scientology, claiming that the church was complicit in the crimes of powerful members.prevnext
Other Accusers Come Forward
As Bixley continued to speak out about Masterson throughout 2017, more accusers came forward, each of them with similar stories. These accusers also gained the support of actor Leah Remini, a noted Scientology critic (and former member) who even took aim at The Ranch star directly with her A&E miniseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which was designed to expose the inner-workings of the controversial organization.prevnext
A Lawsuit Filed
In August of 2019, Masterson was sued along with the Church of Scientology by four of his accusers Bixler, Marie Riales and two who remained anonymous, citing multiple incidents where they'd been followed, having their homes surveilled and property damaged. They allege this was done after they'd come out about their allegations. In response, Masterson has asked a judge to throw out the case based on a lack of specificity, calling it "shameful money grab" by a group of ex-girlfriends.prevnext
The Church of Scientology Intervenes
In response to the lawsuit, the Church of Scientology argued in court that the women agreed to ecclesiastical justice procedures when they first made their commitment to the church. This meant they couldn't make such claims against the church regardless of their affiliation, citing "religious arbitration."prevnext
Allegedly Poisoning Dogs
In January, Bixler took to Instagram claiming that their dogs were purposefully poised by members of the Church of Scientology. Her husband, At the Drive-In's Cedric Bixler-Zavala, also shared the news on social media.prevnext
Formal Charges and Arrest
After charges were announced on Wednesday, Masterson was taken into custody the following day by the Los Angeles Police Department, with records indicating he posted a $3.3 million bail that same day. Masterson has is currently being ordered to appear in court for his arraignment on Sept. 18.prevnext
"Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit," Masterson said about the charges. "I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused."prev