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Woman Says Danny Masterson Told Her ‘Diseases Were In the Mind’ When She Complained About Him Raping Her Without a Condom

Two photos, one on the right of Danny Masterson and one on the left of his lawyer, Philip Cohen, and prosecutors Reinholdt Mueller and Ariel Anson

(l-r) Defense attorney Philip Cohen, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson, actor Danny Masterson. (photos by Meghann M. Cuniff/Law & Crime)

A woman testified Wednesday that actor Danny Masterson raped her on two occasions in 1996, describing waking up to him having sex with her after a night of drinking and having fun with fellow movie cast mates.

Actress Tricia Vessey also said Masterson raped her months later after showing up at her apartment and inviting her to drink from a flask that she said tasted like whiskey but, according to her testimony, may have contained a drug that knocked her unconscious.

In the first encounter, she remembers Masterson “was rough” and felt him “pounding” her with his penis as she briefly gained consciousness.

“I just remember sort of trying to take in what was happening. I was pretty disoriented and honestly, I don’t think I was conscious for very long,” Vessey said. Vessey was identified in court as Tricia V., but she’s told journalists she’s OK being identified publicly by her full name.

Asked in court what she remembers about Masterson’s face at the time, Vessey said, “I was just completely confused and honestly, I don’t think I could have any coherent thoughts aside from confusion and not being able to really do anything about it.”

The second encounter occurred later in 1996, she said, after Masterson showed up outside her apartment and yelled up to her window, asking if she wanted to hang out.

Vessey reported Masterson to police in 2019 after learning that other women were accusing Masterson of rape. She had also personally spoken with a woman who said Masterson raped her in 2003 though she said she didn’t share her own experience. The woman, who has asked to be identified only by her initials N.T., testified last week.

Vessey said Wednesday said it took years for her to fully process what happened.

“I understood it to be nonconsensual, but I hadn’t consciously actually categorized it as rape, and when I had heard about the case, it just, it hit me,” she testified Wednesday. “I remember it just – it hitting me fully and having to sit with that.”

Masterson’s lawyer Philip Cohen asked her in cross-examination if her conversation with N.T. influenced how she now views her encounters with Masterson, but Vessey said her memory of what happened as not changed.

But she also said she didn’t know N.T. had said she’d hoped for romance with Masterson the night he allegedly raped her, and that she’d been OK with him digitally penetrating her and was hopeful they would start dating. She appeared a bit surprised by Cohen’s questions, which served as a summary of what Cohen likely will argue in his closing: that the sex between Masterson and N.T. was consensual, and N.T.’s views of it have morphed over time.

N.T. is one of three women who is listed as a victim in Masterson’s three forcible rape charges, which were announced in June 2020. Vessey is considered a witness to uncharged misconduct. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo allowed her testimony under California Evidence Code section 1108, which allows testimony about a defendant’s “past sexual misconduct, alleged and otherwise, when they are currently on trial for a sex crime.”

Answering questions from Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, Vessey said she met Masterson when they were cast together in a movie. (She didn’t name the movie, but it was Too Pure, a drama released in 1998.) She described their relationship as friendly but also marked by strange staring by Masterson, similar to stares N.T. described in her testimony.

After they finished filming, the cast partied at a restaurant, Vassey said, then ended up at Masterson’s home in Laurel Canyon, just outside Los Angeles, where they continued drinking and having fun. Masterson suggested everyone stay at his place, and Vassey remembers settling in a guest room with another male cast member, Justin Pierce, who took the bed as she went to sleep on the floor.

“I wake up to Danny trying to pull me up and out of the room” as he warned her that Pierce was “taking advantage of me.”

She said Masterson was “appearing to be brotherly, like he was looking out for me.” She tried to kick him away, but she remembers him “kind of hoisting me down the hallway,” then remembers waking up in what she assumes was his bed, with him on top of her.

She awoke again in the morning and saw Masterson “just smiling at me, in a way that was sort of very confusing to me, as if we had, I don’t know – like we were on a date or something sweet?”

“When you awoke that morning, did you have any part of your clothes on?” Mueller asked.

“No,” she answered.

“You were completely naked?” Mueller asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

Vassey said she “completely shut down and just got dressed and left the room.”

“I just didn’t know what to make of the situation. I didn’t like him and I didn’t think that he even liked me, and I just didn’t know how to process it,” she said, crying.

The second encounter occurred after Masterson showed up at her apartment and she invited him in. She remembers drinking what she thought was whiskey from a flask and “quickly becoming incoherent.”

“I just remember feeling extremely intoxicated and things just sort of degrading memory wise,” Vassey said. She remembers Masterson removing her pants, and she remembers telling she didn’t want to have sex.

“He was laughing and just continued on,” she said.

Masterson then started to penetrate her and “I was telling him to stop, but I was also telling him he didn’t have a condom on, and I was worried about him not using a condom,” Vassey said. “The only thing I recall him saying is that diseases were in the mind.”

She said she then lost consciousness “completely” and has no memory of anything “until the following day.”

Vassey said her final memory of the encounter “was me asking him about the condom and his response…that diseases were in the mind.”

Vassey is expected to be the final witness to testify about alleged sexual assault by Masterson. Cohen is expected to start calling witnesses next week. Prosecutors said Wednesday they will not be calling Lisa Marie Presley to testify, which follows Judge Olmedo’s decision to limit what Presley can testify about.

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.