Danny Masterson’s wife Bijou Phillips has filed for divorce, less than two weeks after Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after being found guilty of two counts of forcible rape, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed.
“Ms. Phillips has decided to file for divorce from her husband during this unfortunate time. Her priority remains with her daughter. This period has been unimaginably hard on the marriage and the family. Mr. Masterson was always present for Ms. Phillips during her most difficult times of her life. Ms. Phillips acknowledges that Mr. Masterson is a wonderful father to their daughter,” Phillips’ attorney Peter Lauzon told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
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The filing was submitted on Monday and was first reported by TMZ. It follows the verdict that arrived in the second rape trial against the That ’70s Show actor after the jury deadlocked in his first trial, resulting in a mistrial.
Masterson’s lawyers asked for the term to be served concurrently rather than consecutively after being denied a request for a new (and third) trial. The judge rejected the defense’s request and sentenced Masterson to prison for the next three decades.
In both cases, the Church of Scientology was a major focus throughout the trial. Masterson is a prominent Scientologist and all three women who accused him of rape are former members of the organization. Of the three, two of the women accused the church of discouraging them from reporting the rapes to authorities. Representatives for the organization have denied the claims.
One of the women — who previously publicly identified herself as Chrissie Carnell Bixler, wife of Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala — previously testified that after she had been attacked by Masterson in December 2001 and reported the rape to the church’s “ethics officer,” she was told that “you cannot rape someone you’re in a relationship with.”
Another victim, who accused Masterson of rape in 2003, testified that she was told by a Scientology “Master-at-Arms” not to use the word “rape,” and that she was warned about keeping any allegations within the church.
Masterson also faces a civil suit from the accusers that was scheduled to go to trial following the criminal proceedings.
During his sentencing, Bixler, expressed her disappointment that the jury didn’t convict him on the charges tied to her allegations but said she hopes to find justice in the civil trial.
“I thank the jury for its service, and while I’m encouraged that Danny Masterson will face some criminal punishment, I am devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me,” she said. “Despite my disappointment in this outcome, I remain determined to secure justice, including in civil court, where I, along with my co-plaintiffs, will shine a light on how Scientology and other conspirators enabled and sought to cover up Masterson’s monstrous behavior.”
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