It appears that no industry or organization is impervious to harboring sexual deviants. Following a spate of sexual abuse allegations against coaches, priests, teachers, and several other influential figureheads, Hollywood may prove to be the most recent victim in an epidemic sweeping the country. The past two weeks have witnessed three individual reports of child molestation filed against professionals rooted in the entertainment industry.
Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors, was charged in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 with sexually abusing a former client. According to an affidavit, “the victim said Weiss told him that what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry, and if the victim were to tell anyone it would ruin the victim’s career and hurt them both.” Scared of what might happen to his potential career, the victim kept quite for three years while Weiss allegedly continued to molest him. The victim claims that the abuse ended around the age of 15, when he severed ties with Weiss.
Just weeks before, Fernando Rivas was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. At 59 years of age, Rivas had established himself as an award-winning composer on the hit childhood series “Sesame Street.” According to his arraignment, Rivas was also charged with producing and distributing explicit child pornography.
Perhaps even more tragic, were the events revealed to the public on November 17 when the Los Angeles Times reported on registered sex offender Jason James Murphy. According to accounts detailed in the paper, Murphy worked as a casting agent in Hollywoood for years where he was responsible for the placement of children in kid-friendly movies. However, Murphy was accused of kidnapping a young child prospect. During the course of the kidnapping, Murphy committed several lewd and salacious acts with the young boy.
The recent epidemic of child molestation has many concerned with the well-being of their children in Hollywood. However, these revelations do not surprise the majority of former child stars, including Corey Feldman. Feldman, now 40, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. In an interview with ABC’s Nightline, Feldman acknowledged the increasing presence of pedophiles in Hollywood. “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman told the show.
Paul Peterson, now 66, offered his insight to the world of Holywood pedophiles when he heard of Feldman’s interview. “When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head.”
Continuing with the reoccurring theme, Alison Arngrim, star of “Little House on the Prairie,” confirms the allegations already mentioned about Hollywood pedophiles. She acknowledged that “this has been going on for a very long time… It was the gossip back in the ‘80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them. People talked about it like it was no big deal,” referring to the previously mentioned incident regarding Corey Feldman.
“I literally heard that they were ‘passed around,’” Arngrim said. “The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful – these were kids, they weren’t 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, ‘set guardians’ on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way.”
According to experts in the field of sexual abuse, TV and movie sets are particularly inviting to sexual predators. “A set in Hollywood with children can become a place that attracts pedophiles because the children there may be vulnerable and less tended to,” explains Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman. “One thing we know about actors, psychologically speaking, is that they’re people who like a lot of attention. Kids naturally like a lot of attention, and when you put a kid on a set who is unsupervised and getting attention from someone who is powerful, it creates a vulnerability for a very dangerous situation.”
According to these testimonies, and undoubtedly many more, pedophilia has run rampant in Hollywood. Now a board member for protect.org, Arngrim is a proponent for protecting children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. She believes the greed surrounding Hollywood provides the perfect environment to harbor pedophiles of all types.
“Nobody wants to stop the gravy train,” says Arngrim. “If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let’s press charges’? No, because it’s going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks. So, the pressure is there is not to say anything.”
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