"That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson was charged with the rapes of three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
The three counts of rape by force or fear against Masterson were filed Tuesday, and an arrest warrant isssued. Masterson, 44, was arrested late Wednesday morning, jail records showed. He was released a few hours later after posting bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 18.
Prosecutors allege that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003, and a 23-year-old woman he invited to his home between October and December of 2003.
All three victims said the assaults allegedly took place at his Hollywood Hills home.
Masterson faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison if convicted, a news release said.
Masterson's attorney Tom Mesereau said his client is innocent, and "we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify.”
Prosecutors declined to file charges in two other Masterson cases that police had investigated, one because of insufficient evidence and the other because the statute of limitations had expired.
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Masterson has been married to actor and model Bijou Phillips since 2011.
“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out," said Mesereau, who has previously represented Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby in their trials for sexual crimes.
"The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
The women, whose names were not made public, issued a statement through their attorneys saying they have suffered "harassment, embarrassment and re-victimization” since they began cooperating with authorities.
“We are thankful that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is finally seeking criminal justice against Masterson,” the statement said. "We are confident that the truth will be known and hope that the charges filed today are the first steps in this long journey of healing, justice, and holding those that victimized us accountable.”
The alleged rapes came at the height of Masterson’s fame as he starred on the retro sitcom “That ’70s Show” alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace. The series ran on Fox TV from 1998 to 2006 and has had a long afterlife in reruns.
He had reunited with Kutcher on the Netflix western sitcom “The Ranch” when the LAPD investigation of him was revealed in March 2017. The news did not have immediate career repercussions for Masterson, but later in the year, after allegations against Harvey Weinstein shook Hollywood’s culture, he was written off the show.
Masterson decried the Hollywood atmosphere that led to his losing the job, and also suggested at the time that his high-profile membership in the Church of Scientology was leading to his persecution.
He said in a 2017 statement that “in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.