UPDATED: The Los Angeles Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation on sexual assault allegations against “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson, which the actor has vehemently denied.
According to journalist Tony Ortega, best known for his extensive reporting on the Church of Scientology, the Church allegedly covered up the allegations — stemming from the early 2000s. The LAPD didn’t comment on Scientology’s involvement with the investigation.
“The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson,” reads a statement from the LAPD obtained by Variety on Friday. “Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000’s.”
Masterson denied the claims in a statement sent by his rep to Variety, saying the “false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series.” The accuser’s name has been redacted from the below statement.
“We are aware of [the alleged victim’s] 16-year-old allegations. It was only after [the alleged victim] was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson. The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their six-year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend. Significantly, during their long relationship she made numerous inconsistent claims that she was previously raped by at least three other famous actors and musicians.
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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. 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.
We are aware also that approximately 14 years ago a woman referred to in the blog made allegations of sexual assault and that the LADP interviewed numerous witnesses and determined the claim had no merit. 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] only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.”
According to a police report obtained by Ortega, Masterson’s publicist, Jenni Weinman, who sent Variety the above statement, is listed as a witness to one of the sexual assaults.
Ortega reports that the women — Masterson’s fellow Scientology members — were pressured by the church not to report their accusations to the police. No charges were filed against the actor. The victims came forward after reaching out to Remini as a result of her A&E Scientology docu-series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.”
“I met with the LAPD. I met with Detective Reyes, and I told her these victims deserve to be heard,” Remini told Ortega’s Underground Bunker. “I pointed out to her that there was a framed picture of a Scientologist on their wall, actor Michael Peña. Do you know what that says to a young Scientologist who comes here to seek justice? My experience with the LAPD has not been good. I asked her to do the right thing by these girls, and I told her that the world is watching.”
Remini’s rep didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Masterson played Steven Hyde in the long-running Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show.” He currently stars opposite Ashton Kutcher, another “’70s Show” alum, in the Netflix comedy “The Ranch.” The 40-year-old is married to Bijou Phillips.