SARASOTA, Fla. -- Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens pleaded no contest Thursday to indecent exposure and agreed to produce an anti-drug video in a deal with prosecutors to avoid a trial on the misdemeanor charge.
A clean-shaven Reubens, dressed in a dark green suit, made the no- contest plea during a 10-minute hearing before Sarasota County Judge Judy Goldman. Then the actor made a quick exit from the courtroom without making a comment.
Under a plea bargain with prosecutors, Reubens paid a $50 fine, plus $85.75 in court costs. To fulfill a requirement of 75 hours of community service, the actor known as the bow-tied Pee-wee agreed to produce and write an anti-drug public service announcement and distribute it for free.
After six months supervision by the Salvation Army and the production of the anti-drug video, Reubens' case would be sealed and he would have no criminal record.
Reubens, 38, was arrested July 26 at the South Trails Cinema in Sarasota by sheriff's deputies who claimed they saw him masturbate inside the adult theater. The actor, a graduate of Sarasota High School, had been in town to visit his parents, Milton and Judy Rubenfeld.
Reubens' publicist, Larry Goldman, said that the plea was not an admission of guilt.
'Paul has maintained his innocence from the beginning,' Goldman said after the hearing. 'I felt the generosity and lenient sentence offered by the state verifies that innocence.'
Defense lawyer Richard Gerstein said a time-coded videotape shows Reubens was in the theater's lobby at the moment sheriff's deputies claim he was masturbating inside the theater.
'This was simply a plea of convenience,' Gerstein said. 'It was time for Mr. Reubens to get on with his life and his career.'
CBS canceled its scheduled reruns of Reubens' 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' after his arrest. But Reubens has been working on two new films, including 'Nightmare Before Christmas.' His only public appearance since his arrest had been at the September MTV Music Awards show, where he received a standing ovation.