Former Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat is avoiding jail time thanks to a plea deal he struck last week pleading guilty to a lesser charge in a felony indecent assault case from July 2017.
The 66-year-old actor pleaded guilty to annoying or accosting a person, getting a year of probation, TMZ reports. In November, Wopat pleaded not guilty to charges of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old girl during a July musical rehearsal in Waltham, Massachusetts. TMZ reports that according to police reports, he was accused of groping multiple women in the play and was also accused of putting his finger between the buttocks of one woman.
He allegedly told the 16-year-old, “I’m a creepy old man. You’re really talented and really cute," according to a police report. The accuser said Wopat allegedly hit her on the bottom with a script. According to reports, the alleged victim claimed Wopat put his fingers between her buttocks.
She reported the alleged incident to the police, who arrested Wopat in a traffic stop, finding two bags of cocaine in his vehicle. After his July arrest, a representative for Wopat said he was struggling with substance abuse.
The original charges against Wopat were indecent assault and battery, which are both felonies, as well as cocaine possession and two charges of accosting or annoying. Prosecutors reportedly dropped the felonies Friday as part of his plea deal. The cocaine possession charge will reportedly be dropped pending his year of probation.
At the time of Wopat's not guilty plea in November, his lawyer argued that his client was innocent. “Mr. Wopat’s been an entertainer for 40 years. He’s been in movies, TV, recording artist and given the state of affairs, if there had ever been a history of having any type of improper behavior, we all would have heard about it by now,” Neil Tassel told reporters. “He’s been nothing but a gentleman from everything we’ve ever heard.”
Wopat starred on the Dukes of Hazzard from 1979 to 1985 and took part in reunion specials. He also recently played Sheriff Jim Wilkins on Longmire.
In January, Wopat's Dukes of Hazzard co-star, John Schneider, said a Dukes reunion and tour was scrapped after Wopat's arrest. He made the allegation when explaining in court documents why he was "willing but unable" to pay his ex-wife monthly $18,911 spousal support payments, blaming his lack of income on the sporadic nature of being an actor and the fact that he was banking on a Dukes reunion. He reportedly owes his ex-wife, Elvira, over $150,000 total.
Schneider's court documents detailing his financial troubles were filed in an attempt to avoid jail time. He wound up serving five hours in the Los Angeles County Jail in June when his three-day sentence was cut short due to overcrowding.