UPDATE, 8:30 PM: After a very brief turn in Charles Manson’s old prison, Danny Masterson has another new home behind bars.
Serving out the opening months of a 30-year sentence, the convicted rapist has been moved to the cushier digs of California’s Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. Unlike the harsher conditions and even harsher residents at the Golden State’s high security Corcoran State Prison, where the Helter Skelter leader spent his last two decades before dying in late 2017, the Men’s Colony is a medium and minimum-security facility.
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Concerns for “the inmate’s well-being” begot the 47-year-old That 70s Show actor’s move in the last week or so, according to a law enforcement source. In custody since being found guilty on May 31, 2023 of two rapes in his second trial and held in DTLA and then North Kern State Prison, Masterson was moved to Corcoran State Prison on January 29 and barely lasted two weeks.
Not eligible for parole until 2042 and denied bail as potential flight risk last month while appealing his retrial verdict and sentencing, Masterson will now be able to pursue more endeavors at the Men’s Colony than just trying to stay alive.
Inmates like Masterson who are housed in the Men’s Colony West Facility “have the opportunity to take advantage of increased academic and career/technical education, as well as self-improvement programs including: cognitive behavior therapy programs, substance abuse education, criminal thinking, anger management and family relationships,” says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s description of the venue.
There have long been concerns and reports about drugs, cell phones and more being smuggled into the Men’s Colony due to the supposed ease of tossing such item over the low slung fence that surrounds the prison.
First built in 1954, the Men’s Colony sits almost dead center between LA and San Francisco.
Housing a population of about 3,400 inmates in total, portions of the Men’s Colony was slated to be closed down late last year with staff layoffs of about 300 expected. Part of an overall CDCR reduction in the state budget due to declining prison populations, it is unclear if the closures of three of the four units in the West Facility of the Men’s Colony has taken place as planned.
The CDCR say that Masterson has a “tentative date” with parole officials in May 2038 “for consultation with incarcerated person” – though any actual parole would still be at least four years and one month after that sit-down.
And, of course, calendar items aside, moving to another prison doesn’t solve all of Masterson’s legal problems.
The actor is a co-defendant in a civil case by several women from his criminal case who are alleging the Church of Scientology harassed them and their families after they went to police with their sexual assault claims. Including a failed attempt to get the US Supreme Court to intervene, the Church has tried every avenue possible to get the case tossed out or taken behind closed doors for arbitration. Now the plaintiffs are seeking to have Scientology named a “criminal enterprise” due to its “pattern of racketeering activity,” say the plaintiffs in the civil case against the David Miscavige-led organization and Masterson. Whether that amended complaint will be allowed by an LA Superior Court judge remains to be seen.
PREVIOUSLY, JAN 31 PM: Sentenced to 30 years to life for two rapes, Danny Masterson is now bunking down in Charles Manson’s last home.
Along with serial rapists, killers and the man who murdered Bill Cosby’s son, the That 70s Show actor is now a resident of California’s Corcoran State Prison. Transferred from DTLA to North Kern State Prison on December 27, the 47-year-old Masterson was moved to the men-only maximum-security prison on January 29, a law enforcement source says.
Masterson is being held in the prison’s highest security level unit, I hear – in no small part for his own protection.
In terms of getting out, state corrections records have Masterson being able to seek parole in 2042.
That date is pretty much in accordance with the 20 years that Judge Charlaine Olmedo back at sentencing in September gave the actor before he could seek to exit confinement. The date is based on Masterson not getting into any trouble behind bars. “Parole eligible dates may also change based on a variety of other reasons, including court orders, changes in law, and routine audits,” notes Masterson’s online file.
One of the largest employers in the region, Corcoran State Prison is currently over capacity with approximately 3,700 inmates – 42 of whom are on death row. There is also a 47-prisoner strong Protective Housing Unit for those requiring “extraordinary protection from other prisoners.” One of those prisoners up until 2013 was Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. However, among the hardened criminals in the much-investigated facility, the most well-known has to be Charles Manson.
The “Helter Skelter” killer was incarcerated at Corcoran from March 1989 to his death at the age of 83 in November 2017.
Masterson was first arrested in 2020 over the then alleged assaults that occurred between 2001 and 2003. After his arrest, and during his first mistrial and subsequent second trial, The Ranch actor was out on bail of $3 million. When the guilty verdict was delivered on May 31, the potential “flight risk,” as Judge Olmedo said at the time, was led out of court and into the nearby Twin Towers LA County jail by sheriff’s deputies. Masterson was sentenced in September.
Last week, Judger Olmedo refused Masterson’s lawyers request that their client be freed on bail during his appeal.
“If defendant’s conviction and sentence are upheld on appeal, he will likely remain in custody for decades and perhaps the rest of his life,” wrote the judge on January 24. “In light of the fact that defendant has no wife to go home to, defendant now has every incentive to flee and little reason to return to state prison to serve out the remainder of his lengthy sentence should his appeal be unsuccessful,” Judge Olmedo noted, with reference to the ongoing divorce proceedings between Masterson and Bijou Phillips.
Masterson’s attorneys do still plan to file an appeal, I’m told.
The criminal case is not the only legal challenge Masterson faces.
Masterson, along with the Church of Scientology is a co-defendant in a civil harassment case by a number of the Jane Does from the criminal trial and members of their families. Having failed to get the Supreme Court to step in to stop the case, the David Miscavige-led church is up against potential RICO claims and Masterson is being linked to more rape claims in the civil matter. That is set to go to trial on September 22, 2025.
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