A Los Angeles judge ruled Friday that actor Danny Masterson must stand trial on three counts of rape.
LA County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F Olmedo issued the ruling after hearing four days of evidence presented in emotional testimony from three women who say he sexually assaulted them in 2001 and 2003, CBSLA reported.
“I found all three witnesses to be credible and the evidence sufficient to support the charges,” said Olmedo.
Earlier this week, the 45-year-old actor, who starred in “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006, posted a smiling selfie outside the court as his wife, Bijou Phillips, dropped him off, as CrimeOnline has reported.
Masterson has denied the charges. One of Masterson’s attorneys, Thomas Mesereau, said his client had consensual sex with the women, and another attorney, Sharon Applebaum, told the court that the three women had formed a “sisterhood” that aimed to “take down Mr Masterson and take down Scientology.”
Masterson is a prominent Scientologist, and all three women are former Scientologists who told the court the religion’s teachings preventing them from reporting their allegations for years.
The defense attorneys also pointed to a civil lawsuit filed against Masterson and the church, saying the suit proved the women were only seeking financial gain. But Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller said the lawsuit was filed to stop harassment the women said they had been receiving from church officials.
The church has denied those allegations.
Masterson has been out on bail since charges were filed last June. He has been ordered back to court on June 7 for arraignment.
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[Featured image: FILE – Danny Masterson in 2015. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)]