By Meagan Murphy
f a spate of recent allegations proves true, Hollywoodmay have a hideous epidemic on its hands. The past two weeks have brought three separate reports of alleged child sexual abuse 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. His accuser, who was under 12 years old during the time of the alleged abuse, reported to authorities that Weiss told him “what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry.” Weiss has pleaded not guilty.
On Nov. 21, Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “Sesame Street,” was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. The Juilliard-trained composer was also charged with production and distribution of child pornography.
Registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, worked as a casting agent in Hollywood for years before his past kidnapping and sexual abuse of a boy was revealed by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17. Murphy’s credits include placing young actors in kid-friendly fare like “Bad News Bears,” “The School of Rock,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the forthcoming “Three Stooges.”
Revelations of this sort come as no surprise to former child star Corey Feldman.
Feldman, 40, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, unflinchingly warned of the world of pedophiles who are drawn to the entertainment industry last August. “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman told ABC’s Nightline. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry… It’s the big secret.”