In August, four women filed a lawsuit against Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology, alleging they were stalked and intimidated after accusing the actor of sexual assault

By Jodi Guglielmi and Aurelie Corinthios
June 18, 2020 03:14 PM
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Danny Masterson's alleged victims have reacted to him facing charges.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced that the That ’70s Show actor, 44, has been charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003.

Now, the four women who filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology in August, alleging they were stalked and intimidated after accusing the actor of sexual assault, are speaking out and thanking the D.A. for pressing charges.

"Since we were victimized and raped by Danny Masterson—and knowing we are not the only victims—all we have wanted was justice, accountability, and truth. Instead, we were subjected to continued harassment, embarrassment, and re-victimization by Masterson and the Church of Scientology, which has only worsened since they learned we were cooperating with authorities," the statement, given to PEOPLE by the women's attorneys, reads. "We are thankful that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is finally seeking criminal justice against Masterson after a three-year investigation. We are confident that the truth will be known and hope that the charges filed today are the first steps in this long journey of healing, justice, and holding those that victimized us accountable."

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“This is beyond ridiculous,” Masterson said in a statement to PEOPLE through his attorney after the civil suit was filed. “I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court — and look forward to it because the public will finally be able learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”

In a statement at the time, litigation counsel for the Church of Scientology told PEOPLE: “From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam.” (The actress, 49, was a member of the church for 35 years before making her split public in 2013. Since she left, she’s been an outspoken critic of Scientology.)

According to the D.A.'s Office, Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. Additionally, prosecutors allege that in April 2003, the actor raped a 28-year-old woman, and that between October and December of that same year he raped a 23-year-old woman whom he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home.

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division said all of the alleged crimes occurred at Masterson's home. The criminal charges are against Masterson alone; no charges have been brought against the Church.

In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau said, “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 statement continued. “The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”

If found guilty, Masterson could face a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison. Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Additionally, the D.A.’s Office declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases: one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the alleged crime.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.