Danny Masterson, best known for his role as Steven Hyde in the sitcom That ’70s Show, has been charged with raping three women. During a court proceedings this week, the judge ruled against the defense team’s arguments about the cases exceeding the statute of limitations, ensuring the case would continue.
Masterson has been charged with at least three counts of rape that allegedly occurred between 2001 and 2003. The alleged victims choose to remain anonymous though two have been identified as at least 23 at the time, while the other was 28 when the rape reportedly occurred. One alleged victim had claimed that Masterson forced himself on her while in her own home, with each woman claiming he would allegedly drug them beforehand. One reported incident involved Masterson holding a gun to one woman’s forehead when she apparently woke up from her stupor.
The legal team defending Masterson, who has pled not guilty, consists of attorneys Sharon Appelbaum and Thomas Mesereau who, on October 19, argued that each allegation made against the actor surpassed the statute of limitations of California State, with the oldest reported incident being 19 years old. Though prosecutors convinced Los Angeles Judge Eleanor Hunter that due to their being multiple accusations and their serious nature, the “one strike” law would take effect, meaning the statute of limitations would be life and not applied in this case.
According to Penal Code 667.61 PC, the one strike law is defined as a “statute that imposes ‘sentence enhancements’ for certain crimes (if committed under specific aggravating circumstances). Depending on the facts of a case, this section could extend a sentence by 15 years, 25 years, or by life in prison.” It is usually invoked against defendants in the cases of a prior conviction or when torture and kidnapping are involved.
Masterson did not appear on that Monday but is expected to show up in November. He is currently out on bail and has been dropped from all Netflix projects.