Craig R. McCoy
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Police have charged the actor Gary Busey with three counts of sex crimes that they said took place when he allegedly groped at least two victims during Monster-Mania Con in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, earlier this month, authorities said Saturday.
Police in Cherry Hill said the 78-year-old Busey, who lives in Malibu, California, outside Los Angeles, was charged Friday with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and a single count of attempted criminal sexual contact. He was also charged with harassment.
Cherry Hill Township Police Lt. Robert Scheunemann said: “It was about contact. It was about touching.” Police said they had received “multiple complaints” about Busey’s conduct.
Authorities stated that the charges stemmed from Busey’s appearance at the convention at the Doubletree Hotel on Route 70 from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14. The semiannual event celebrates horror films and allows fans to meet performers.
A spokesperson for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Donna Weaver, would not answer questions about the charges. “We’re not commenting,” she said.
A spokesperson for Busey could not be reached for comment Saturday; neither could the event’s promoter.
Busey is best known for playing the late musician Buddy Holly in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story,” a performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.
He has never achieved the level of stardom promised by that nomination, but has appeared in numerous movies, including several horror films, such a 1985 adaptation of a Stephen King werewolf story, “Silver Bullet.”
In 1966, the Texas-born Busey left Tulsa, Oklahoma, to make it as a rock drummer in Hollywood. His band was signed to Epic Records, and when the band broke up, Busey began auditioning for television and film roles, according to his website. After roles in “Gunsmoke” and “Baretta,” his work in “A Star Is Born” won the attention of Dustin Hoffman, who hired him along with Busey’s son Jake for the film “Straight Time.” His work in 1987′s “Lethal Weapon” earned him a series of roles playing villains.
He has appeared in more than 100 movies, including “Point Break,” “Under Siege,” “The Firm,” “Predator 2” and “Slap Shot 2.”
Over the years, Busey has gained a reputation for erratic behavior that some have linked to a serious 1988 motorcycle accident in which he suffered head injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.
In 1995, he was arrested on drug charges after he took a near-fatal overdose of cocaine at his Malibu home. He has also been arrested twice on charges of spousal abuse.
In 2012, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with reported liabilities of $500,000 to $1 million.
In addition to his acting career, Busey has been a staple on reality TV, including appearances on such shows as “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008 and Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” in 2011. The Daily Beast later reported he had groped a woman employee on Trump’s show. Busey’s manager denied the allegations.
(Staff writer Chris Brennan contributed to this article.)