- A major witness took the stand on the tenth day of actor Danny Masterson’s trial on rape charges.
- Jane Doe 3 alleged that Masterson raped her in 2001 and Scientology covered it up.
- During her emotional testimony, she had a panic attack and said she still feared the Church.
On the tenth day of actor Danny Masterson’s trial on rape charges, one of his accusers grew so terrified on the stand that she had a panic attack – but she told the court that she feared what awaited outside the courtroom even more.
The actor, a second-generation Scientologist famous for his “That 70s Show” role, sat cross-legged and clean-shaven in a blue suit before one of his accusers in a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom. A second of three accusers, all former members of the Church of Scientology, took the stand Tuesday, offering eerie testimony about her relationship with the actor and how the church responded to her reports.
Masterson and his legal team have denied the allegations, calling them “outrageous” and he has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.
The Church of Scientology is not on trial, but in testimony so far, accusers have claimed that through interactions with Church officials, they were either discouraged from reporting their allegations against Masterson to authorities. Both Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 3 have testified that Masterson’s “good standing” in the Church led officials to protect him and lash out against them.
“The Church is not part of the proceeding in question, notwithstanding the apparent intent of the District Attorney to shamefully center his prosecution on Mr. Masterson’s religion,” Karin Pouw, the international spokesperson for the organization, told Insider.
Before her testimony reached an emotional fever pitch Tuesday, jurors learned about how the accuser, who dated Masterson between 1997 and 2002 at the height of his sitcom fame, claimed she had “lived in terror” before coming forward.
A former live-in partner tells her story
Jane Doe 3 described a night in December 2001, when she went with Masterson to French restaurant La Poubelle, where they would eat multiple times a week. After one or two glasses of wine, Jane Doe 3 said that apart from leaving the restaurant, she couldn’t remember anything until the next day, when she woke up naked in Masterson’s bed.
“My whole body hurt,” Jane Doe 3 told jurors, adding that she felt pain in the back of her head, anus, and joints. On Monday, Jane Doe 3 testified about a November 2001 sexual assault, an incident which the DA’s office brought as one of the three charges of forcible rape against Masterson.
Jane Doe 3 said during the assault in December, she found Masterson in his home office the day after she said he raped her.
“He laughed at me and told me he had sex with me,” Jane Doe 3, who spoke in a nervous, trembling whisper, told the court. “I asked him if I was unconscious the whole time, and he said yes. It broke my heart because I really trusted him and didn’t believe he would take it that far.”
Jane Doe 3 said within days of the rape, she tried to report Masterson’s conduct through the Church’s celebrity center.
In June 2019, Masterson’s ex-girlfriend and three other women filed a separate, civil lawsuit accusing Masterson of sexually assaulting them between 2001 and 2003. The accounts in the civil lawsuit led to criminal charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in 2020.
In the civil suit, which is pending, the women alleged that the Church of Scientology and Masterson harassed and stalked them for coming forward with the sexual assault allegations. Scientology and Masterson have denied the allegations in the civil suit as well.
‘I thought Scientology had all the answers’
“I thought that Scientology had all the answers and would help him, you’re taught that it’s the sanest justice system,” Jane Doe 3 said. She claimed in court that when she described to her ethics officer Miranda Scoggins the December 2001 rape and of another instance in November 2001 when she alleged Masterson physically and sexually assaulted her, the Church rejected her narrative.
“When I reported what happened to me, she told me not to use the word rape and explained to me that you can’t rape someone that you’re in a relationship with,” Jane Doe 3 said.
She testified that Scoggins’ husband, Chris Scoggins, the chaplain of the celebrity center, also became involved in silencing her, telling her that she wasn’t filling her “hat,” or job, as a girlfriend. Rick Ross, the director of the Cult Education Institute, previously told Insider that the “granular levels of control” of the church would play into the criminal trial, even though Scientology is not a defendant.
“My job was to give him sex whenever he wanted — to ‘keep my exchange in.’ He provided for me, so it was kind of like a currency,” Jane Doe 3 said. As she spoke about what Church officials told her — that she could be excommunicated from friends and family as a “suppressive person” for reporting Masterson — a deep fear set in.
“I understood and it put me in a state of terror, I needed to do as I was told. They would destroy me, at the time he scared me so I did what I was told,” Jane Doe 3 said, adding that she felt that she had no choice but to comply with what officials told her. “I’m afraid I would not have survived.”
Later, she told the court that Chris Scoggins officiated a meeting between Masterson and her to arrange the terms of their breakup, “I remember not to sue him,” was one of the agreements, Jane Doe 3 said.
Jane Doe 3 grew fearful on the stand
While Jane Doe 3 retraced the Church’s involvement, she told the court “I’m trying not to panic,” pausing her speech while her breathing intensified. A break was called but Jane Doe 3 refused to leave the courtroom to avoid seeing people in the hallway. Last week, Jane Doe 1 insinuated that “half the courtroom,” was associated with Scientology.
“I don’t want to go out there!” Jane Doe 3 said as staff from the district attorney’s office consoled her.
Later in court, Jane Doe 3 said that she was scared when she eventually reported the December 2001 rape to the Austin Police. “I was terrified, because of Scientology,” she said.
“When’s the last time you feared retaliation for reporting?” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller asked her.
“Today,” Jane Doe said emphatically.
During cross-examination, Jane Doe 3 made a request of Masterson attorney Philip Cohen, asking that he not walk over to Masterson’s side of the courtroom, where he sat and near a bench filled with his friends and family.
“When you walk to that side of the courtroom, I don’t want to look over there,” Jane Doe 3 said.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit its website to receive confidential support.