The actor Danny Masterson, known for his roles in the sitcoms “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch,” has been charged with raping three women in the early 2000s, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said on Wednesday.
Masterson, 44, is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman whom he had invited to his home in Hollywood Hills some time between October and December of 2003, the district attorney’s office said in a news release. He is also accused of raping a 28-year-old woman that same year as well as a 23-year-old woman in 2001. All of the allegations of rape occurred in the actor’s home, the news release said.
Masterson was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear, and faces a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison if convicted.
The actor played Steven Hyde in “That ’70s Show” between 1998 and 2006 and starred in the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” before he was fired in 2017.
In a statement, Masterson’s lawyer, Tom Mesereau, said that the actor is innocent and that Masterson and his wife are in “complete shock” that the “nearly 20-year-old allegations” have resulted in charges.
“The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false,” the statement said.
The district attorney’s office said that it had declined to file separate sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases because, in one instance, there was insufficient evidence and, in another, because of the statute of limitations.
Masterson was arrested on Wednesday morning and was later released on statutory bail, his lawyer said. His bail was set at $3.3 million, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Masterson’s arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18.
In 2017, after Netflix fired Masterson from “The Ranch” amid allegations that he had raped four women, the actor responded that “law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit.” It is unclear whether those four allegations overlap with the ones that resulted in charges, but they all stemmed from the early 2000s.