Earlier this week, Broadway actor James Barbour (pictured at left) who played the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in lieu of defending against felony sex abuse charges arising out of the actor’s sexual contact with a 15 year-old girl. The AP reports the story here. The actor’s counsel is still appealing the denial of his request to publish ads seeking information from anyone “falsely accused” by the complainant in the Barbour case.
According to court opinion (available here), after the actor’s initial indictment on the felony charges, but before his arraignment,
[T]he District Attorney’s office provided information regarding the matter to the New York Daily News and the New York Post. The tabloid coverage in those two newspapers on December 6, 2006 included a cover page headline in the Post, “Beast of Broadway: Sex rap vs. ‘Beauty’ Star,” and both articles described charges that [James] Barbour seduced a 15-year-old fan into “groping” him and allowing him to “grope” or “molest” her, and that on another occasion the following month they engaged in oral sex. Both papers’ articles reported a hotline telephone number created by the District Attorney’s office for anyone else who might have similar criminal allegations to report against Barbour. In fact, the next day’s New York Post reported that at the arraignment, the People had provided information that another girl had come forward claiming Barbour seduced her seven years earlier, when she was 13, although the statute of limitations prevented any prosecution of the claimed crime. *** Barbour’s attorney, petitioner Ronald P. Fischetti, proposed to set up his own hotline, for any men who had been falsely accused by this complainant.
Initially, petitioner’s protestations that it would be unfair and inequitable for him to be denied use of the same investigative procedures used against his client by the police and prosecutors, while understandable, do not form an appropriate ground for vacating the challenged order. *** [I]t is hard to imagine many victims of sex crimes being willing to come forward if they found that their names were subject to being published in newspapers in relation to those crimes, in a purported effort by defense counsel to conduct investigations into possible grounds to impeach the victim’s credibility.
The full opinion is here. According to the AP report, notwithstanding his client’s guilty plea, Mr. Barbour’s attorney has appealed the intermediate court’s decision to the State’s highest court.
Hat tip to Ralph Stein.