Comic Actor Charged With Rape In Tennessee

CNN.com, Jul. 29

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN)—Actor Anthony Anderson, who appeared in the films “Me, Myself and Irene” and “Barbershop,” was charged Wednesday with aggravated rape after a woman told authorities she was assaulted on the set of a movie.

Anderson, 33, and Wayne Witherspoon, 42, both of Los Angeles, California, were taken into custody Tuesday night after the woman reported the assault, said Steve Shular, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department public affairs officer.

Anderson was in Memphis shooting a movie titled “Hustle & Flow.” Witherspoon was working on the film’s crew.

Charges were filed against both men Wednesday afternoon. Shular said bond was expected to be set at $20,000 for each man.

They will be arraigned in General Sessions Court Thursday morning, according to Jennifer Donnals, communications director for the Shelby County district attorney’s office.

Shular said the crew had been shooting at the Shelby County Correctional Center, a “work farm” for jail inmates, and the assault allegedly occurred at the site after production ended Tuesday.

Shular said an extra told deputies that she was “lured into a production trailer” by Witherspoon. She told authorities that Anderson was already in the trailer and that both men sexually assaulted her, Shular said.

“Witnesses reported seeing the woman leave the trailer screaming and without her clothes,” Shular said.

The woman was taken to a hospital, but authorities would not say Wednesday if she had been released.

A spokesman for Anderson in Los Angeles released a brief statement Wednesday saying that the actor “absolutely denies the heinous charges that have been made against him.”

“Anthony is a happily married family man who has never been accused of—no less involved in—anything remotely like this, and we are confident that when all the facts come out, he will be completely exonerated,” the statement said.

In addition to 19 movie credits, Anderson has co-created and starred in the TV sitcom “All About The Andersons” on the WB channel. The WB is a Time Warner company as is CNN.com.

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