By Rosy Cordero
June 17, 2020 at 06:44 PM EDT
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Danny Masterson has been charged with "forcibly raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Wednesday.

The That '70s Show star was arrested at 11:30 a.m. PT and was released after posting bond on a $3.3 million bail shortly before 3 p.m. Masterson denied all charges via a statement released by his attorney, Tom Mesereau.

“Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify," the statement said. “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. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”

According to the release from the L.A. County District Attorney's office, Masterson is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. Then in April 2003, the actor allegedly raped a 28-year-old woman, and between October and December of that same year, he is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home.

Lalo Yasky/Getty Images

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division, who is prosecuting the case, said all the alleged crimes occurred at the defendant’s home. If convicted as charged, Masterson faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison. Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18.

The charges follow numerous accusations of sexual misconduct against the actor. In August, four women filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology, alleging they were stalked and intimidated after accusing the actor of sexual assault.

The actor's ex-girlfriend Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Marie Bobette Riales, and two anonymous Jane Does accused Masterson and the church of engaging in stalking, physical invasion of privacy and a conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other allegations, claiming that they and their families were harassed in an effort to silence them, according to the complaint obtained by PEOPLE. (Bixler’s husband is also a plaintiff.)

“This is beyond ridiculous,” Masterson said in a statement to PEOPLE through his attorney in 2019. “I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court — and look forward to it because the public will finally be able to learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”

In a statement at the time, a litigation counsel for the Church of Scientology told PEOPLE: “From everything we have read in the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam.” (Remini, 50, was a member of the church for 35 years before making her exit public in 2013.)

According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, Masterson has been under investigation over the sexual assault allegations by the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. County District Attorney since 2017. He has repeatedly denied the claims.

The District Attorney’s Office also declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other cases, one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the crime alleged.

Masterson was dropped from the Netflix series The Ranch and by his agency, UTA, in the wake of the allegations. The four women who accused Masterson of raping them in the early 2000s claim in the lawsuit that they were systematically stalked and subsequently suffered emotional distress after filing reports with the LAPD.

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