Sex claims, Scientology, a TV actor from “That ’70s Show,” the real-life daughter of one of the ’70s singing stars in “The Mamas & the Papas” and an LAPD confirmed probe – it all seemed Saturday like a complicated tabloid-inspired plot for a Hollywood small-screen series.
But whether there’s truth behind any of the sex claims, the Los Angeles Police Department is, in fact, investigating sexual assault allegations against former “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson.
Masterson, not necessarily a household Hollywood name, immediately rebutted the allegations and said they’re an effort to promote an anti-Scientology TV show hosted by actress Leah Remini.
LAPD Officer Drake Madison confirmed that the Sexual Assault Section of the department’s Robbery-Homicide Division is conducting the investigation.
“Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000s,” Madison said.
Masterson, 40, has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him, according to Madison.
Masterson played Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show” and has been married to Bijou Phillips, the daughter of The Mamas & the Papas’ John Phillips, since 2011. They have one child.
News of the investigation was first reported in a blog on the website The Underground Bunker, run by longtime journalist and editor Tony Ortega. For more than 20 years, Ortega has written about the Church of Scientology, to which Masterson belongs.
A statement released by Masterson’s publicist to The Hollywood Reporter rebutted the allegations, saying the initial complaint was filed by the actor’s former girlfriend of about six years. The statement contends that “during their long relationship she made numerous inconsistent claims that she was previously raped by at least three other famous actors and musicians.”
“When Danny ended the relationship she continued to pursue him, even making threats to beat up his current wife, Bijou Phillips, unless she left him,” according to the statement. “In fact, we are informed by the church that the only demand (the alleged victim) made of the church after Danny broke up with her was asking for their help to intervene so the breakup would not be permanent.”
The statement also acknowledged a second woman who initially went to police 14 years ago with a sexual assault allegation, but “the LAPD interviewed numerous witnesses and determined the claim had no merit.”
According to The Underground Bunker report, the LAPD reopened the investigation into the second woman’s claims after the more recent report was filed. It was unclear when the alleged third victim came forward.
The statement from Masterson’s publicist to The Hollywood Reporter made no reference to the third alleged victim, but concluded, “Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since (the alleged victim) came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.”
Remini told The Underground Bunker that Masterson’s ex-girlfriend approached her before her A&E Scientology television series began airing, and Remini encouraged her to file a police report.
Remini also said she got personally involved in the case, even meeting with one of the detectives and telling her “these victims deserve to be heard.”
“I asked her to do the right thing by these girls, and I told her that the world is watching,” Remini told the blog.
The LAPD confirmed its probe Friday.
— City News Service
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