Danny Masterson of That '70s Show charged with raping 3 women

That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson was charged with the rapes of three women in the early 2000s, Los Angeles prosecutors said Wednesday.

Actor and his wife are 'in complete shock,' lawyer says

Actor Danny Masterson arrives at Warner Bros. Pictures' Gangster Squad premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 2013. (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters)

That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson has been charged with the rapes of three women in the early 2000s, Los Angeles prosecutors said Wednesday.

The three counts of rape by force or fear come after a three-year investigation of the 44-year-old Masterson. The charges were filed Tuesday and an arrest warrant was issued, prosecutors said.

The District Attorney's Office said in a statement that it had declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases because of insufficient evidence and because of the statute of limitations.

It's not clear whether Masterson has been taken into custody.

He is charged with raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in early 2003 and a 23-year-old woman in late 2003.

Masterson's attorney, Tom Mesereau, said his client "is innocent, we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify."

"Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out," Mesereau said in a statement.

"The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false."

Masterson, who has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011, was written out of the Netflix comedy series The Ranch in December 2017 when a police investigation on the allegations against him first came to light.

Dozens of actors, politicians, businessmen and musicians have lost their jobs since 2017 when sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein fuelled the #MeToo movement. Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault in February and sentenced to 23 years behind bars.

With files from Reuters