NOTE: The following article contains graphic descriptions. Please read at your own discretion.
An ex-girlfriend of the actor danny masterson testified Tuesday that he had become increasingly abusive and controlling during their five-year relationship when he raped her in her bed in November 2001.
The woman, a model who had started dating Masterson in 1996, shortly before he gained fame as a comedy star. That 70’s ShowShe said there had been previous cases where she woke up in the night to find Masterson on top of her, and had agreed to have sex with him to avoid angering him.
That night, however, he said that he clearly did not consent and resisted.
“I told him, ‘No, I don’t want to have sex.’ She didn’t listen to me,” said the woman, the first to take the stand in the Los Angeles courtroom at Masterson’s. new trial for three counts of rape.
He spoke faster and became more emotional as the story continued. “So I kept begging him, like, ‘please get away from me, no.’ And he continued. And it was painful. And I remember trying to get his chest out of me. I couldn’t get it off of me.”
She said Masterson pinned her arms above her head to keep her down. As she fought, she was reminded of Masterson’s clearly stated “rules” that no one touches her hair or her face, which she had previously paid attention to.
“If I did this, I knew it wouldn’t be good. But I thought maybe it would make him stop,” she said.
She said she managed to free one arm and pulled her hair at the back of her head. She said he then punched her in the jaw with a partially clenched fist, spat at her and stormed off.
Masterson, who is accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003, is on trial again after the jury at his first trial was stuck on all three counts. She has pleaded not guilty and her lawyers have denied all accusations at trial, saying the women’s accounts are riddled with inconsistencies and not credible.
Mistrial declared in rape trial of Danny Masterson, jury ‘hopelessly deadlocked’
Masterson, 47, could receive 45 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.
The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they have been sexually abused.
Masterson’s ex-girlfriend said Tuesday the rape was an especially dark moment in a series of ugly incidents in their relationship.
She said that after a happy first year, he began trying to control his life and personality, often invoking Church of Scientology tenets. She had joined the church at the urging of Masterson, a lifelong member of hers, when her relationship became serious, isolating her from her family in Alabama and from non-member friends.
She testified that he became increasingly sexually aggressive towards her and physically violent, once dragging her out of the room naked by her hair when she refused to have sex.
She also testified that about a month after the November rape, she and Masterson went to dinner at a restaurant they frequented near her home. She said she drank a glass or two of wine with dinner, then couldn’t remember between getting up to leave and waking up alone and sore in bed until well into the next day.
She said that when she tried to explain the pain, Masterson admitted that he had had sex with her while she was unconscious.
“He started laughing at me,” he testified. “I asked her if I was unconscious the whole time and she said yes.”
Lead prosecutor Reinhold Mueller said in his opening statement Monday that Masterson had drugged her, as he had the other two accusers, though there would be no physical evidence of an investigation that didn’t begin until some 15 years after the alleged abuses. Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo is allowing the prosecution to make the claim in the second trial, where it was only implied in the first.
Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen, said in an opening defense statement Monday that those claims are all the prosecution has, telling jurors: “There are no drug charges in this case.”
Masterson is not accused of raping the woman the night he believes she was drugged. Prosecutors did not share his reasoning for omitting it, but without his ability to recount the moment and without forensic drug evidence, it would have been difficult to prove within the law.
But the night ultimately led her to report it to her ethics officer at the Church of Scientology. She testified that she was told that what Masterson had done to her was not rape, that it was not possible given her relationship status. She said that she was also told that it violated church policy for her to go to the police and report a fellow Scientologist like Masterson.
The church, in a statement issued after similar testimony in the first trial, vehemently denied having such a policy. The woman went to the police in 2016, long after she had left the Church.
She returns to the stand for further cross-examination on Wednesday at the trial, which is expected to last four weeks.
The trial, which began with jury selection last week, drew more attention online in part because the actor Leah Reminicandid commentary on the trial.
Remini, who left the Church of Scientology in 2013, said he was present in court during opening statements on Monday.
She claimed that Masterson’s lawyers tried to get her thrown out of the courtroom over incorrect assumptions that she would be called as a witness in the trial.
“I attended to show my support for the women who were not only brutally raped by Danny, but were then subjected to years of harassment by Scientology,” Remini, 52, wrote.
She went on to claim that the Church and its leader David Miscavige are trying to “waste court time with shameful and petty attempts to get someone who is supporting survivors of sexual violence removed.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime for help They are also available toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— With files from Sarah Do Couto of Global News