Tom Wopat, the former star of Dukes of Hazzardarrested last week in Massachusetts on charges indecent assault and cocaine possession, “firmly denies” he groped an actress in 42nd Street, and vowed to address his substance-abuse issues.
In a statement to USA TODAY Tuesday, Wopat said he didn’t do it and hopes to clear his name “concerning recent unfortunate events.”
Last week, prosecutors in Waltham, Mass., alleged Wopat grabbed the buttocks of a female cast member during rehearsal and charged him with indecent assault and battery. During his arraignment Thursday, he was instructed to stay away from his accuser.
“As a result of this incident,” the statement said, the actor “was forced by court order to leave a production of 42nd Street in Waltham … He is truly disappointed not to be on the stage with his fellow performers and wishes them success in this and all future endeavors.”
However, Wopat “firmly denies any wrongdoing, and after a thorough investigation by his defense team and a full airing of the facts, Tom has faith that the truth will be revealed and his good name will be restored,” the statement said.
“Mr. Wopat urges everyone to keep in mind that these are allegations; he’s alleged to have improperly touched an adult female performer during rehearsal in the presence of the entire cast and directing staff,” the statement said.
The statement added that Wopat regrets having to leave the regional theater production of the Tony Award-winning stage musical, which he had been scheduled to open at Waltham’s Reagle Music Theatre on Thursday, the same day he appeared in court to plead not guilty to the charges.
The theater announced then a different actor would play Wopat’s starring role. According to its website, Rich Allegretto will play the part of Julian Marsh for the remainder of the show’s run.
In the meantime, Wopat’s statement concluded, he will be taking “personal time to address his ongoing struggle with substance abuse. While death and illness in the family, combined with the intensity of his recent schedule, certainly contributed to his misstep, Tom definitely understands that sobriety is the sole course for a successful future and will take immediate steps to achieve it.”
Wopat’s spokesman, Dan Fortune, who issued the statement, declined further…