- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2017

An investigation into rape allegations against actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show,” has “inexplicably stalled,” the Huffington Post reported Thursday, citing “multiple sources” familiar with the matter who say there’s mounting evidence worthy of taking the case to court.

The Huffington Post “spoke to five sources for this story inside and outside the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office,” the website said. “All of the sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to a reporter about an ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

One such assault stems from a 2003 encounter allegedly between Mr. Masterson and the victim, a fellow member of the Church of Scientology, a religious cult that has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, particularly from former members who claim it is abusive and overly invasive into the private lives of its members.

Huffington Post reported that the Church of Scientology “intervened and submitted over 50 affidavits from Scientologists who denied the woman’s account.”

Neither prosecutors nor attorneys for Mr. Masterson returned comment about the claims, the Huffington Post noted. 

Meanwhile, independent investigative journalist Tony Ortega, a staunch critic of Scientology, claimed on his eponymous website that Los Angeles prosecutors convinced A&E network host Leah Remini to hold back an episode of her series “Scientology and the Aftermath,” which features interviews with the victims until such time as the DA’s office makes a decision on pursuing charges.

A former Scientologist herself, Ms. Remini took to Twitter Thursday to thank both the Huffington Post and Mr. Ortega for their interest in the allegations against Mr. Masterson.

“Thank you to @yashar and @TonyOrtega94 for caring about this story,” she tweeted.

In an email Friday afternoon to The Washington Times, a representative for the Church of Scientology dismissed Ms. Remini’s documentary series, saying the actress “profits by spreading hate and religious intolerance,” and pointing to a Church website which dismisses its former parishioner as a “hater at heart.”

While best known for his role as Steven Hyde on “That ‘70s Show,” Mr. Masterson’s latest role is a supporting character in the Netflix original comedy “The Ranch,” which is due to release its third season on Dec. 15.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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