A woman who accused “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson of raping her in April 2003 said Friday that she fears retaliation from the Church of Scientology for testifying against him.
The woman, who prefers to be identified as Jane Doe #1, told a jury that she fears the church could also go after her three children. She said she filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the church in 2019 as a way to “sue for peace.”
“It’s the only way for them to stop,” she said. “You have to sue for peace. That’s the policy.”
Masterson, a lifelong Scientologist, is on trial in Los Angeles for three alleged forcible rapes dating from 2001 to 2003. Jane Doe #1, who was a Scientologist at the time of the alleged rape, has testified that she feared being excommunicated for reporting Masterson to the police.
She said Friday that she left out some information in her initial report to the police in 2004 because she wanted to protect the church and its officials, including leader David Miscavige and Susan Watson, the president of the church’s Celebrity Centre International.
“I thought maybe I wouldn’t get in as much trouble for going to the police,” she said. “Maybe they would listen and do what was right, and I wouldn’t piss them off at the ultimate level and their leader. I thought I could report the crime and keep my family and my life.”
Philip Cohen, Masterson’s attorney, completed his cross-examination on Friday morning. He continued to go over discrepancies between the initial police reports and her statements to law enforcement after the investigation was reopened in 2016.
He focused in particular on her claim that Masterson brandished a gun during the alleged rape, a detail that was not included in the initial reports. At one point, he had her stand up and demonstrate for the jury how Masterson was holding the gun. She said that Masterson grabbed it out of a nightstand and held it up while lying on top of her.
During a break in testimony, Judge Charlaine Olmedo harshly criticized Cohen for the tone of his questions, saying he was being “incredibly condescending.”
“I’m not sure that’s the persona you want to present to this jury,” Olmedo said.
Cohen has sought to limit any mention of Scientology and did not ask any questions about it over two days of cross-examination. Cohen also objected when Reinhold Mueller, the lead prosecutor, asked Jane Doe #1 if her decision to leave the church had caused her to change her perspective on whether her initial sexual encounter with Masterson, in September 2002, was consensual.
Jane Doe #1 had testified at a preliminary hearing last year that it had, saying, “I am no longer told how I should view what happened to me by the Church of Scientology.”
During a break, Olmedo admonished Cohen for making the objection, and repeated her pretrial ruling, which allowed discussion of Scientology for certain purposes.
“I am not kicking Scientology out of it,” she said, comparing Cohen to a “vexatious litigant” on the issue.
Olmedo also lambasted Cohen for suggesting that Jane Doe #1 had waived doctor-patient confidentiality by referring to a conversation with her therapist.
Olmedo has become angry with both sides as she tries to enforce her ruling on the admissibility of Scientology evidence. On Tuesday, she scolded Mueller for “inundating” the case with irrelevant testimony related to church beliefs and practices.
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