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Former child actor says Scott Baio harassed, assaulted him on 'Charles in Charge' set  1 Week ago

Source: USA Today  

Dueling press conferences on sexual misconduct allegations against Scott Baio competed for attention Wednesday, as a former child actor accused Baio of harassment and assault three decades ago and Baio sent out his lawyer and rep to label himself the victim of a "media witch hunt."

Baio was not present at a press conference at his lawyer's office due to his young daughter's illness. Instead, spokesperson Brian Glicklich and lawyer Jennifer McGrath read a statement from him: 

"For reasons I don’t understand, I am the victim of false claims that threaten everything precious in my life. … Mostly, I’m stunned. … I will not let this continue. … I will use every ounce of strength I have to fight this."

Polinsky's accusations added to those of his former co-star, Nicole Eggert, 46, who claims Baio and she were sexually intimate when she was underage. She appeared with Polinsky in Los Angeles at the offices of their mutual lawyer, Lisa Bloom. 

Polinksy, in addition to making his own allegations against Baio, backed up Eggert's accusations against Baio, who has strongly denied that Eggert was under 18 when their encounters occurred. 

“I saw their relationship develop on the set in the coming months and years, and it was very distressing to me to see a man I looked up to behaving in this way with someone who is very close to my age,” Polinsky said.

Glicklich said Eggert's credibility has been undermined by her allegedly shifting accounts of what happened and when, and by comparing video of what she has said in the media recently about her encounters with Baio compared to what she said five years ago. 

"Scott denies every single claim of inappropriate behavior, and if you examine the claims made they can be refuted with evidence," Glicklich said. "Frankly, if we go through all the individual accusations, we'll be here all afternoon. Scott denies all of them."

Polinksy, now 43, played a friend of Eggert's character on the show, with Baio, now 57, as the headliner playing a college student living with a family as a babysitter.

“I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 and 15 years old,” Polinsky told reporters. Bloom added what happened to Polinsky on the show amounted to "child abuse" of a little boy. 

Polinksy alleged “a pattern of abuse that was unrelenting” against him. He said Baio once pulled down his pants in front of more than 100 people, and another time he allegedly exposed himself to Polinsky.

He also said Baio assaulted him by throwing a cup of hot tea in his face after Polinsky startled him by faking passing a basketball to him. But he said he was not himself sexually abused by Baio. 

He said the harassment began during the first season of the show, when he walked in on Eggert sitting on Baio’s lap. Eggertsaid he “misjudged” the situation, and when Polinsky also tried to jump in Baio’s lap, Baio shoved him off and called him a gay slur. 

After that, they said, he was routinely bullied and harassed by Baio in "retaliation" for what he had seen. Eggert, who said she felt guilty about what she says happened to Polinsky, added that he was tripped, pushed around and regularly verbally abused by Baio because "he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Eggert and Polinksy said Baio was a "tyrant" on the show and that others on the show were aware of what was happening but were too afraid of losing their jobs to do anything about it. 

Bloom confirmed that both Eggert and Polinsky have met with Los Angeles Police Department detectives about their claims against Baio. The LAPD has confirmed to USA TODAY that they are looking into the allegations.

Given that all of the alleged events took place more than three decades ago, it is not clear what kind of criminal charges could result. The statutes of limitation then in effect have long since expired. 

Both Eggert and Polinksy said they are not interested in money and do not plan to file a civil suit. Eggert said an apology might be in order. 

Glicklich said that's not going to happen. "You can't apologize for something that's not true."

McGrath said Baio expects to be cleared by LAPD. Glicklich suggested Baio's accusers and their lawyer are seeking to damage him by near-daily media attacks. 

"This is not a dog-and-pony show, this is an honest attempt to impact in the media," McGrath said. "Mr. Baio’s reputation is being harmed in the community. This is devastating to him. Mr. Polinsky's claims are devastating to him."

 

 

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