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On Wednesday, a second accuser of Danny Masterson took the stand in a preliminary hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court to determine if his rape case will go to trial.
The woman, identified in court only as Christina B., claimed to have been in a relationship with Masterson for five years when her alleged rape took place in 2001.
Prosecutors have alleged that Masterson, 45, who has been free on bond since his June 17, 2020, arrest, raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003, and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003. He has been officially charged with three counts of rape by force or fear. All of the incidents are alleged to have happened at his Hollywood Hills home.
He could face up to 45 years in prison if found guilty. Masterson has vehemently denied the charges, and his lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, has repeatedly said he will prove his client’s innocence.
Mesereau denied Wednesday that what Christina B. described was rape.
“I tried pushing him off me, saying, ‘No, I don’t want to have sex with you,'” said Christina B. on the stand, according to the Associated Press.
“He wouldn’t stop. So I did something that I knew would make him angry and likely to get off me. I pulled his hair. He has these rules, ‘no touch hair rule,’ ‘no touch face rule.’ He had this thing about his hair, so I knew if I pulled it really, really hard, he would get off me. But what he did was he hit me.”
The alleged incident she described took place in the house she and Masterson would share throughout their six-year relationship, she claimed. Under questioning from Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, she said he hit her across the face with a loosely held fist then finally stopped, spat on her and called her “white trash.”
“You never said he was having sex with you, did you, you said he was trying to, correct?” Mesereau asked during cross-examination. He said that she was telling a different story than she had in her previous interviews with police and prosecutors.
The defence then played a tape of an interview with a police detective with Christine B. saying “correct” when the detective asked if Masterson was trying to have sex with her, then played recording of an interview with Mueller where she said Masterson was “putting himself inside me.”
In court, she responded that she had been using different language to describe the same thing.
Christine B., like Tuesday’s accuser Jen B. and the as-yet-unnamed accuser who will take the stand Thursday, was involved with the Church of Scientology, where Masterson is a member in high standing. She was urged to join by the That ’70s Show star, which she did in 1996.
Following the first alleged incident, she claimed there was another one month later — one that’s not cited in the charges. In court, she said that she blacked out, woke in pain and learned from Masterson he had raped her while she was unconscious. That prompted her to go to Scientology ethics officials.
She said the officials convinced her she was not raped, and she did not go to police to report Masterson until 15 years had gone by.
In court documents in an earlier civil lawsuit filed by Masterson’s accusers, the Church of Scientology denied all of the women’s allegations.
When Christine B. went to police in 2016, she did it to report the second incident, not the one Masterson was eventually charged with.
Mesereau cited this as evidence that she did not believe she had been raped the first time. He repeatedly challenged Christine B. on the issue, asking why she hadn’t considered it rape initially.
She broke into tears as she explained that the relationship had brought her to expect such things.
“Because it was normal!” she shouted.
The two women who have testified so far at the hearing both spoke to Scientology officials long before they went to police.
Jen B. acknowledged filming an interview with Leah Remini for her show Scientology and the Aftermath in 2017, saying she did so because she worried that no charges would be brought against Masterson and she felt it might be her only chance to be heard.
She said no when Mesereau asked her twice whether she had been paid for the interview. Mesereau also asked Christine B. whether she had gone to police at the urging of Remini, which she denied.
Jen B. said Tuesday that she was hesitant to file a police report against Masterson considering his strong ties with the church, and all of her loved ones advised her against it. She would be labelled a “suppressive person” and ostracized from the church — a devastating thing, considering most of her friends and family were members at the time.
It’s unclear if either woman or their loved ones are still affiliated with Scientology.
Remini’s two-hour special, titled Waiting for Justice, aired in August 2019. She interviewed Masterson’s accusers about their experiences with the former The Ranch actor and condemned the Church of Scientology, alleging it was protecting him from justice.
Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch and quietly dropped by his former talent agency, United Talent Agency (UTA), after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating sexual assault allegations against him.
Masterson’s arrest came after a three-year investigation that resulted in the rare prosecution of a famous Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era. Despite dozens of investigations, most have led to no charges based on lack of evidence or too much time having passed since the alleged sexual assaults.
The hearing continues Thursday.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— with files from Andrew Dalton of The Associated Press