The 6:00 o’clock news has desensitized the world to some of the most heinous acts ever committed, but it’s especially shocking when these acts are committed by a familiar “trustworthy” face. It’s hard to separate actors from the roles they become famous for, especially when the role is saintly or wholesome. We never bat an eye anymore when a celebrity mug shot is plastered all over the media in the case of a DUI; which can seemingly be counted on at least once a month these days. News of violence or other forms of abuse against women and children involving celebrities however, is always difficult to digest. Like in the case of the unsettling news about an actor who many of us let into our living-rooms for over a decade, who was recently exposed as a long time pedophile. Here are 11 of the most disturbing crimes the rich and famous have been accused of.
11. Winona Ryder – Shop Lifting
This is easily the mildest case on the list, but nonetheless, still extremely confusing. The very well paid actress, Winona Ryder was found guilty of shop-lifting at the height of her career in 2001. It certainly came as disturbing news to most of us working class folk, who typically pay for the things we want, when it was revealed that the wealthy actress pilfered thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue. Just a few short years earlier, Winona was paid nearly $3 million for starring in Alien: Resurrection, just one of the many films for which she was paid very well to star in. The star was captured by surveillance cameras and later charged with grand theft, burglary and vandalism. Winona’s bizarre excuse for the crime was that a director had instructed her to shoplift in order to prepare for her next role. Perhaps most alarming of all is Winona’s admission to shoplifting having been a problem for 5 years before she’d ever been caught. The actress is worth a reported $14 million.
10. Adrian Peterson – Child Abuse
Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson was charged with reckless injury to a child after harshly disciplining his 4 year old son with a tree branch. Photographs of the child’s injuries were displayed on TMZ, which showed slash-like wounds. The news comes as a shock when just a year earlier, the NFL star lost a 2 year old son to a very similar instance of abuse. The toddler had succumb to his injuries after being brutally beaten by his mother’s boyfriend, Joseph Robert Patterson. Adrian was estranged from the little boy and only learned of his existence a few months prior to his death. Text messages from Adrian to his 4-year old’s mother surfaced online in which he states: “Got him in the nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has he biggest heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.” The NFL has suspended the football player with pay until his court case is resolved, for which the father has plead not guilty.
9. Michael Vick – Animal Cruelty
Michael Vick was recently signed to a $5 million contract as a quarter back with the New York Jets. Some are outraged by the news, feeling that Michael should have received a lifetime dismissal from the NFL, instead of just a fine and temporary suspension for his involvement in dog fighting back in 2007. Michael was charged with animal abuse for his involvement in a dog fighting ring, and subsequently spent almost 2 years behind bars. The football player admitted to the brutality of canines which included, hosing them down, electrocuting them, drowning them, shooting and even hanging them. Most of the animals involved were pitbull terriers. Among all the evidence that law enforcement discovered when raiding Vick’s property, was a “rape stand.” A device to which a female dog would be strapped, head fully restrained, so she could be raped by male dogs without fighting back.
8. Chris Brown – Domestic Abuse
It’s been 5 years since the shocking news and photographic evidence of Chris Brown’s attack on girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, was revealed to the world. The incident took place following Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammy party, and was allegedly provoked after Rihanna discovered signs of infidelity in Chris’s phone. Although still in the spot-light, Chris brown’s career has never fully recovered since the beating took place, and the singer has frequently found himself in trouble with the law ever since, recently released from jail after serving a 7 month sentence for violating probation.
7. Mike Tyson – Assault of 18 yr old/Domestic Abuse
Retired Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson was accused of raping an 18 year old beauty pageant winner in 1991, and after a year long trial, was sentenced to 6 years in prison of which he ultimately served three. The victim, Desiree Washington testified that she received a phone call from the boxer late one evening, inviting her to a party. An invitation she accepted where upon Tyson allegedly forced himself on her. Mike’s bodyguard later testified in favor of the 18 year old, confirming that she was in a state of shock after returning to the limo. Tyson’s then wife of 1 year, Robin Givens, claims that throughout their relationship, the athlete was extremely violent towards her. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Robin described life with Tyson as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine.”
6. Ray Rice – Domestic Abuse
The world was stunned when video footage of Ray Rice brutally abusing and man-handling his wife, Janay Palmer, surfaced. The two were engaged at the time of the incident and evidently were married shortly afterwards. The incident took place in an elevator at the Revel hotel in February, and the abuse is extremely difficult to watch. NFL officials came under fire for not properly punishing Ray at the time of the occurrence, and justified their actions, or lack there of, by maintaining that they had not seen the tape. Soon after the video was publicized however, the running back was released from the Baltimore Ravens. Much to everyone’s dismay, Ray’s wife criticized the NFL for terminating her husband, writing this on her Instagram: “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.”
5. Danny Trejo – Murder/Drug Possession
While today Danny Trejo is known for playing dangerous characters in many of his roles, in the past, his criminal activity wasn’t just an act, but an actual lifestyle that landed him in prison for 11 years, after being convicted of murder, drug possession and robbery. Following his release from prison, Danny cleaned up his act and began working as a drug counselor in 1985. One of his clients was an actor, and sought his counsel while on a movie set which lead to an acting opportunity for Danny. He recounts his discovery and initiation into the film industry while on set that day: “This guy asked me if I wanted to be in a movie, and I said, “What do I gotta do?” And he said, “Do you want to be an extra?” And I said, “An extra what?” And he said, “Can you act like a convict?” I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. I’d been in every penitentiary in the state. I looked at him and I said, “Well, I’ll give it a shot.” Nearly 30 years later, the convicted felon is worth $8 million.
4. O.J. Simpson – Murdering His Wife
In the most publicized criminal trial in American history, O.J. Simpson was tried for 2 counts of murder, following the death of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her lover Ronald Lyle Goldman. The retired NFL player was eventually acquitted and served no time for the case, as the jury couldn’t sufficiently prove him guilty. Ironically, the 67 year old is currently serving a 33 year sentence, after being convicted of robbery and kidnapping in 2008. O.J. recently made headlines for his apparent obsession with reality TV star Kim Kardashian, reportedly collecting numerous photographs of her. He’s quoted as saying.“As long as I’m in prison, I can’t be with her so Kanye can have her for now. But when I get out she’s mine.” The comments are so creepy because O.J. spent a lot of time around the Kardashians during their youth; their parents being friends.
3. Robert Blake – Murder Of Wife
Hollywood Veteran, Robert Blake was accused of hiring stuntmen to murder his wife of 1 year, Bonnie Lee Bakey. As the story is told, Robert took his wife out for dinner and once they returned to the car, Bonnie was killed by a gun shot to the head. Robert wasn’t there for the shooting, and claims to have gone back into the restaurant to collect a gun that he had forgotten inside. A convenient story to have, emphasizing that the only firearm in his possession couldn’t possibly have been used to kill the already dead woman by the time he returned to the vehicle. Shortly afterwards, Robert was arrested and underwent a trial where he was eventually acquitted, as the jury didn’t have enough proof to physically tie the actor to the murder. Bonnie’s children however, believed him to be responsible for her death, and filed a lawsuit against him, in which they were awarded $30 million.
2. Michael Jackson – Child Molesation
Michael Jackson was first accused of molestation in 1993, by a child named Jordie Handler, whom he considered a close friend and once referred to as his “soul-mate.” At the time, the 12 year old made extreme allegations of sexual abuse against the pop star, with whom the young boy spent lots of time alone during slumber parties. Jordie and his parents settled for $20 million (after today’s inflation about $40 million) to have the charges against Michael dropped. Many feel as though Jordie’s parent’s decision to settle out of court, instead of pushing to see an alleged predator behind bars, was a major sign that Michael was falsely accused and taken advantage of. However, 10 years later, Michael was again accused of child molestation, this time by a young cancer survivor who the singer built a close relationship with. He was also accused of intoxicating a minor, attempted child abduction, and attempting to hold the young boy and his family captive at his Neverland ranch; 14 counts in total. After a tedious year-long trial, Michael was found not guilty. Now deceased, the superstar’s latest accuser is 31 year old Wade Robson, who came forward with accusations of child molestation after Michael’s passing, and is currently seeking a settlement from his estate.
1. Stephen Collins – Child Molestation
This year, Stephen Collins has reminded us that not everything is as it seems. Many childhoods were ruined when news broke that the 7th Heaven star who played a minister and loving father on the show, is a long time child molester with multiple victims. TMZ recently released audio tapes of a therapy session between he and his wife, Faye Grant, in which the actor confesses to horrific crimes against young children. Faye has also accused her husband of using his 7th Heaven fame, as a strategy to lure young victims and build a trusting bond with their parents. As a result of the negative press surrounding the actor, various networks have pulled re-runs of 7th Heaven off the air, and he’s been terminated from recent acting gigs. Stephen will stand rial for molestation on November 12th, 2014.