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Broadway star in court on abuse charges

Dec. 7, 2006 at 10:48 AM

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Broadway actor James Barbour pleaded innocent in a New York court to charges of sexually abusing a minor.

Barbour, 40, who once played the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" said he was innocent of allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl in 2001, the New York Daily News said Thursday. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 20 on the nine-count indictment charging him with sexually abusing and endangering the welfare of minor.

Barbour said he was trying to help the girl, now 20, break into the theater business, the Daily News reported.

Prosecutor Maxine Rosenthal said another woman has accused Barbour of sexually assaulting her in California seven years ago when she was 13. The prosecutor said the second woman wasn't interested in pressing charges but volunteered to speak at Barbour's sentencing if he were convicted.

David Smith, Barbour's attorney, said his client "will be vindicated" at trial.

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