Danny Masterson, star of That 70s Show, was found guilty of two counts of rape by a jury at a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday. This is Masterson's second trial, in which the Church of Scientology played a central role.
Masterson’s wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, gasped when the verdict was read and wept as he was taken into custody, while a group of family and friends sat stone-faced behind him throughout both trials, AP reported.
47-year-old Masterson gained fame with his portrayal of Stephen Hyde, an adolescent rebel in the 1998 sitcom, That 70s Show. The actor had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Masterson reportedly met the women through the Church of Scientology. The women said that the organisation had discouraged the women from going to law enforcement. "The church has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone, Scientologists or not, to law enforcement," the Church of Scientology said in a statement.
The trial which lasted for two weeks, could not reach a verdict on a third charge that alleged that Masterson raped a long-time girlfriend. He will be held without bail until he is sentenced. Masterson's lawyers argued that the acts were consensual.