Paul ''Pee-Wee'' Reubens charged in kid-porn probe. He's targeted in the same investigation under which pal Jeffrey Jones was cited for allegedly enticing a minor to pose for pornographic photos

By Gary Susman
Updated November 18, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
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Paul Reubens
Credit: Paul Reubens: Milan Ryba/Globe Photos

A day after Los Angeles police arrested actor Jeffrey Jones on child-porn charges, his pal Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman, turned himself in on a related charge of possessing child pornography, the Los Angeles Times reports. Reubens, 50, surrendered Friday at the West Hollywood Division station on a misdemeanor charge of possessing materials depicting children under the age of 18 engaged in sexual conduct, and was subsequently released on $20,000 bail.

The charges against the actors stem from an investigation that police have said began a year ago with accusations from a 17-year-old boy. On Nov. 16, 2001, police searched Reubens’ Hollywood Hills home and seized personal computers and boxes of material a Reubens spokesperson described at the time as ”vintage erotica.” Acting on evidence taken from Reubens’ house, police then searched the home of Jones, the actor best known for playing the principal in ”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and carted off what police told CNN were ”numerous items of evidence.” Police told CNN that the probe had since continued for months, but the arrests finally took place last week in order to stay within the one-year statute of limitations, which would have expired Saturday.

Jones, 56, was charged with enticing the same boy to pose for sexually explicit photos (a felony) and possessing child pornography (a misdemeanor), the district attorney’s office told the Associated Press. Earlier reports had said Jones shot a video of the boy engaged in sex, but district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons told AP, ”The charges do not involve any sex act being performed or any video or film being taken.”

Jeff Brodey, Jones’ attorney, told the Times the charges were ”all about photos. There’s no allegations of any touching or any improper acts with a minor.” Reubens’ attorney, Blair Berk, issued a statement, saying, ”Mr. Reubens has never at any time knowingly possessed any artwork from his extensive vintage and antique art collection even remotely related to anything improper.” He’ll be arraigned Dec. 19, while Jones is due for arraignment on Nov. 21. Reubens faces a possible fine of $2,500 and a year behind bars, while Jones, if convicted, could be sentenced to three years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender for life

Reubens’ career was derailed in 1991 when he was arrested for exposing himself during a screening of a porn movie at a Sarasota, Fla., theater. He pleaded no contest and was fined and sentenced to community service, but his days as Pee-Wee and his children’s TV show were ended. In recent years, he’s found work as a character actor, most notably opposite Johnny Depp in last year’s ”Blow.” As for the current charges, his publicist told E! that the ”claims are completely without merit. He’s going to be completely vindicated at the end of the day.”

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