Tom Wopat, the actor who played Luke Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, was arrested in Waltham, Massachusetts for indecent assault and battery on Wednesday. He was also allegedly found with a small bag of cocaine in his possession. During his arraignment on Thursday, Wopat pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $1,000 bail.
On August 8, Wopat issued a statement to USA Today, denying the allegations.
Wopat “firmly denies any wrongdoing, and after a thorough investigation by his defense team and a full airing of the facts, Tom has faith that the truth will be revealed and his good name will be restored,” the statement read. Wopat also said he was “truly disappointed” to leave the production of 42nd Street.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the 65-year-old actor was arrested at 10:53 p.m. and police were “actively” looking for him.
TMZ later obtained the police report, which says that police were looking for Wopat because of an alleged incident on July 23. A woman on the set of the local 42nd Street production claims Wopat grabbed her butt and she felt his fingers between her butt cheeks.
A press release from the Waltham Police Department confirmed that he was arrested on a warrant and charged with Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person Over 14. After he was arrested, police said they found a two bags of “white powder” thought to be cocaine, so he was also charged with Possession of a Class B Substance (Cocaine).
After his arraignment, Wopat did not comment to the media, The Associated Press reports. The actor denied the charges, pleading not guilty.
Here’s what we know so far about Wopat’s arrest. This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated.
1. The Alleged Incident Involved Wopat Putting His Hands Down a Woman’s Pants
According to TMZ, Wopat was arrested for indecent assault and battery, which is a felony. The alleged victim is a woman linked to the local production of 42nd Street Wopat was starring in.
The incident allegedly involved Wopat putting his hands down the woman’s pants. Waltham Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Joe Guigno told Wicked Local Waltham that Wopat “grabbed” women “inappropriately.”
Later, TMZ obtained a police report that mentions three separate incidents. The first was on July 23, when a woman on the set of 42nd Street claims he walked behind her and grabbed her butt. She claims she felt his fingers between her butt cheeks. When confronted, he denied doing that and said “f**k them all,” according to the report TMZ obtained.
The report also alleges that there were two other incidents during rehearsals. In the first, he allegedly came up from behind a woman and wrapped his arm around her hip and waist. In the second, he peeled sunburned skin off a woman’s arm.
TMZ reports that when he was arrested, Wopat denied touching women inappropriately when he got to the police station, but he said there was an incident where he “lightly touched” a woman’s hip and told her, “I like the way you work.”
In Massachusetts, an indecent assault and battery conviction can result in a prison sentence of two and a half years or less in a jail or house of correction or no more than five years in a state prison. It is defined as “intentional and unjustified physical contact with a person’s genital area.”
2. Police Allegedly Found a Bag of Cocaine in Wopat’s Vehicle
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Wopat was pulled over at 10:53 p.m. Police were “actively looking” for the actor and found him driving a Ford Bronco. When they pulled him over, police allegedly found a small bag of cocaine with him, so he was also booked for misdemeanor possession.
A press release from the Waltham Police Department explains that there were two bags of white powder “believed to be cocaine” discovered in Wopayt’s vehicle. As a result, he was charged with “Possession of a Class B Substance.” If he’s convicted on that charge, he could be fined $2,000 or be sentenced to two years in jail. He would also lose his driver’s license for a year.
His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.
3. He Was Starring in a Local Production of ’42nd Street’
Wopat was in Massachusetts for a local production of 42nd Street at the Reagle Music Theatre. August 3 was opening night for the production, which also stars Rachel York and James Darrah. The production was scheduled to run through Sunday, August 13 and tickets cost between $32 and $36.
According to Wopat’s Broadway World bio, Wopat has played the role of Julian Marsh in other local productions of 42nd Street. He appeared in a 2006 Pittsburgh production and was a replacement for the 2001 Broadway revival.
Wopat hasn’t mentioned the arrest on his social media pages. His Twitter page even tweeted out a link to buy tickets to 42nd Street after his arrest, but that tweet was later deleted. Rich Allegretto replaced Wopat.
The police report TMZ obtained revealed that the producers of the show already punished Wopat once for being under the influence at rehearsals.
4. Wopat Is Best Known for Playing Luke Duke on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’
Wopat is best known for his role as Luke Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, playing the character from 1979 to 1985. Since then, he has appeared on television and movies, and reprised the role of Luke Duke for the TV movies The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! (1997) and The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood (2000) and video games.
His more recent roles include Django Unchained, Lost Cat Corona, Longmire and Heirloom.
Wopat, who was born in Lodi, Wisconsin, appeared on episodes of All My Children before he got the role of Luke Duke. He didn’t participate in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie. HE told KLUV in 2016 that watching that movie “would be like watching someone date your ex-wife.”
5. He Now Focuses on Theater & Earned a Tony Nomination in 1999
Wopat also has an interest in music and musical theater. In 1999, he even earned a Tony nomination for playing Frank Butler in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun. He also starred in productions of The Music Man, Catch Me If You Can, A Catered Affair, Carousel and Sondheim on Sondheim. In 2005, he starred in a revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.
Wopat also had a moderately successful country music career during the 1980s and 1990s. He even recorded songs with his Dukes co-star John Schneider. His latest album is WOPAT.
In December 2014, Billboard reported that Schneider and Wopat’s Home For Christmas jazz album debuted at No. 10 on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart.
Wopat had seven Top 40 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart, including “The Rock and Roll of Love,” which hit No. 16 in 1987.
“I’m primarily a singer,” Wopat told NOLA.com in 2015. “I like to sing. The nice thing about doing a lot of different stuff is that it really doesn’t get old. When I get tired of doing shows, or messing with the business aspect of that, I get a call to do a TV show … or maybe a little part in a film … and go do that.”
Wopat is married to Kathy Wopat, his second wife. He has five children – daughters Lindsey and Taylor, and sons Walker, Joey and Adam.