In the latest case of Hollywood's spiralling sexual abuse scandal, Variety reports that a veteran 58-year-old Disney executive has been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse. Jon Heely, the longtime director of music publishing at Disney, was arrested nearly a month ago and charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. One of the reported victims was 15. The other was abused for four years starting at the age of 11, according to the charges.
His attorney Robert Helfend said Heely “vehemently denies these allegations.”
Heely, who oversees the licensing of music from Disney films, pleaded not guilty on Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to nine years and three months in prison according to The Daily News.
Oddly, the House of Mouse waited until yesterday to suspend the alleged pedophile. A spokesperson claimed the company had only just learned of Heely's arrest:
“Immediately upon learning of this situation tonight, he has been suspended without pay until the matter is resolved by the courts."
Heely’s attorney, Robert Helfend, denied the charges: “He vehemently denies these allegations and we will be fighting until the end to clear his name,” Helfend said. “It’s a shame, that’s all I’ve got to say."
Heely has been with Disney since 1981. He oversees licensing of the company's massive catalogue of film music. He also produced a series of Disney concerts around the world, including “Fantasia Live in Concert,” that feature orchestral performances and film clips.
The punchline: Heely's Twitter bio reads, “Disney Concerts and living to glorify God in all things.”