Disney Exec Accused of Molesting Children

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.

Prosecutors charged him with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. Heely pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the San Fernando courthouse on Thursday. He is due back in court on Jan. 10. If convicted, he faces up to nine years and three months in prison.

Heely has been with Disney since 1981, where he oversees licensing for Disney’s massive music catalog. The company waited some time before suspending him without pay.  Disney officials claimed they suspended the long-time executive as soon they learned of the abuse allegations.

Heely has worked for decades at Disney and further investigation by law enforcement officials will hopefully determine if there are other child victims. In addition to overseeing licensing of the company’s catalogue of film music, Heely produced a series of Disney concerts around the world, including “Fantasia Live in Concert,” featuring orchestral performances and film clips. The concerts may have given him access to children.

While Heely is perhaps the highest Disney official to be arrested on child sex abuse charges, this isn’t the first time the company has had these issues. Since 2006, at least 35 Disney employees in and around Florida have been arrested and accused of sex crimes involving children, CNN reported as part of a six-month investigation. So far, 32 of those cases resulted in convictions.

Since CNN’s investigation, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Florida) has proposed legislation that would add an exemption to the Polygraph Act of 1988, which makes it illegal for many private companies to polygraph employees. Ross wants companies working with children to be able to use polygraph testing to provide an additional level of screening for potential employees.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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