LOS ANGELES (AP) — In hours of emotional testimony, a woman told a judge Tuesday that she was going in and out of consciousness on a night 18 years ago when she discovered actor Danny Masterson
“When I awoke, he was on top of me and inside of me,” said the woman, who identified herself only as Jen B
on the witness
stand. “The first thing I remember is grabbing his hair
to pull him off.”
The testimony came during a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court
, where a judge is deciding whether there is probable cause to order a trial
for the “That '70s Show” actor, who is accused of raping three women. The Associated Press
does not usually name people
who claim to have been victims of sexual abuse, but will occasionally use their names when they choose to come forward and identify themselves.
Masterson has pleaded not guilty and his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, has stated that he will prove his innocence.
Jen B. testified that she and Masterson were in the same group of friends
who were all affiliated with the Church of Scientology in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and that she went to Masterson's house on April
25, 2003, to pick up a set of keys and got stuck there.
She said Masterson had given her a drink with vodka in it at her request, her first of the night, but she was "blurry," weak, and queasy about 20 minutes later, and had no strength to resist Masterson's jacuzzi.
She claimed she couldn't even sit up when she got out, and a mutual friend, Luke Watson, attempted to assist her.
“I couldn’t walk or stand, so he put me on the tile on the ground,” Jen B., who began crying but remained composed throughout her testimony, said. “I said, ‘Luke, I can’t see,′ and he said, ‘open your eyes,′ and I didn’t realize my eyes were closed. I couldn’t open my eyelids. I felt really, really sick.”
She testified that Masterson carried her upstairs, where she vomited, and then placed her in his shower, where she lost consciousness but awoke to find Masterson soaping her bare breasts. She said she tried to punch him in the face but was too weak and only landed lightly on his chest.
She testified that he raped her and she had only flashes of memory in the minutes that followed, and that after she failed to get Masterson off her by pulling his hair, she shoved a pillow in his face, but he pushed it back on her.
He allegedly threatened her by drawing a gun
from his nightstand drawer.
Mesereau pressed her on why the gun was not mentioned in a police
report she filed the following year during cross-examination.
“Do you think the cops just forgot to put it in?” Mesereau asked, after Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo objected to the question.
Mesereau repeatedly questioned Jen B. about discrepancies between her 2004 police report and a 2003 "knowledge report" she completed about the incident for the church as it attempted to mediate between her and Masterson, and she acknowledged there were differences, but she said she tried to be truthful in every case.
When Mesereau asked if she had told mutual friends at the time that Masterson was the best sex partner she had ever had, she responded quickly and vehemently, "no."
Jen B. testified that bruises appeared on her wrists and neck area in the following days, and she experienced excruciating pain in her anus and vagina, where she felt as if she had been repeatedly stabbed.
She claimed that the Church of Scientology leadership, of which her parents and all of her friends were members, strongly discouraged her from going to the police, stating that if she made a report against a member in good standing like Masterson, she would be labeled a "suppressive person."
“I would lose my family and everyone I knew,” she predicted, but she went to the police anyway in June 2004.
Mesereau stated that she had "mischaracterized" Scientology's response.
Mesereau argued before the hearing that references to the church or harassment of women by officials and members should be prohibited, claiming that the prosecution and lead detective in the case had demonstrated “religious bias in the most blatant form.”
The judge refused to issue a blanket ban, but she did say she would allow the witnesses to talk about the church if it affected their mental state.
The church denied engaging in any harassment in a civil lawsuit
filed by the women against the church and Masterson.
Jen B. acknowledged in her testimony on Tuesday that prosecutors told her in 2004 that her case had been rejected in part because there were too many witnesses against her. She returns to the stand on Wednesday for the four-day hearing.
Masterson, 45, sat in court, occasionally taking notes, and had no clear response to the testimony; he was charged in a Los Angeles County
court with three counts of rape by force or fear for alleged attacks in 2001 and 2003.
Andrew Dalton, AP Entertainment Writer
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