Masterson was arrested Wednesday morning and released after posting bail, which was set at $3.3 million, the Associated Press reported. An arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18, and the actor faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
In 2017, HuffPost reported that the Los Angeles Police Department had suddenly stopped an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Masterson, best known for his roles in Fox’s “That ’70s Show” and Netflix’s “The Ranch.” The site wrote that four women accused Masterson of rape in the early 2000s. One accuser filed a police report in 2004, HuffPost reported, but said the case was dropped after more than 50 people from the Church of Scientology, where Masterson is a member, disputed the account.
Shortly after the story was published, one of the alleged victims found herself in conversation with a Netflix executive who told her (without realizing who she was) that he didn’t believe the women’s accusations. Shortly after, Netflix called the executive’s comments “careless” and “uninformed” and announced that Masterson was being written off “The Ranch.”
The allegations against Masterson had resurfaced more than a decade later in part because Leah Remini, an ex-Scientologist and vocal critic of the church, launched an A&E series titled “Scientology and the Aftermath,” in which she chronicled the organization’s alleged abuses. Remini said one of the alleged victims (also a Scientologist) approached her, and Remini encouraged her to go to the police.
Masterson has long denied the allegations, and on Wednesday, his attorney Thomas Mesereau released a statement: “Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify. Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”