WALTHAM (CBS) – Former ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star Tom Wopat pleaded not guilty in court to charges that he inappropriately touched a 16-year-old girl during a musical rehearsal in July.
Wopat, 66, was released on personal recognizance after appearing in a Waltham District Court on Friday. He did not speak to reporters while leaving court, and Wopat’s attorney, Neil Tassel, says his client is looking forward to his day in court and that he will be vindicated.
“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,” Tassel said. “He’s been nothing but a gentleman from everything we’ve ever heard.”
The indecent assault and battery charges against the former TV star stem from his Aug. 2 arrest in Waltham for drug and assault charges.
Wopat is accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old female cast member during a rehearsal of “42nd Street” on July 27.
According to a police report, Wopat allegedly said to the victim, “I’m a creepy old man. You’re really talented and really cute.” The alleged victim also says he hit her on the bottom with his script.
The victim reported the incident to police, who later arrested Wopat in his vehicle. When Wopat was pulled over, police found two bags of white powder believed to be cocaine.
During his August arraignment, Wopat was ordered to stay 100 yards away from the victim, and the Reagle Music Theatre. The victim, who was in court for his arraignment, said at the time, “I just don’t want him near me.”
Tassel, his attorney, said the court process is going to show that Wopat “has been the subject of an overzealous investigation.”
“He’s sad. He’s sad as someone who’s been a performer for so long provided a lot of enjoyment to his fans that for the time being he’s knocked out of commission by these allegations,” Tassel said. “That’s a hard pill for him to swallow.”
Wopat played Luke Duke in the 1980s sitcom.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports