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The “Beast” on Broadway Fondled Beauty

NYC- A Broadway star who once played “The Beast” in “Beauty and the Beast” will face charges today that he fondled an underage beauty backstage – and prosecutors believe he may have preyed on other girls.

James Barbour, 39, will be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on an indictment of sexual misconduct with a star-struck 15-year-old girl who was introduced to the actor by her drama coach, officials said.

Barbour, who also has starred in “Carousel,” “Urinetown” and “Assassins,” allegedly met his victim in June 2001 while he was performing in “Jane Eyre,” officials said.

Prosecutors charge that the girl, who was visiting from a nearby suburb, was molested backstage as her parents sat in the audience and then again at a restaurant later that night, officials said.

A month later, Barbour invited the teenager back to his upper West Side apartment and the two engaged in sex acts, officials said.

The victim, who is now 20 years old, came forward with her allegations in April. Barbour was arrested later that month released after posting bail, officials said.

A source in the Manhattan district attorney’s office said the teenager came forward earlier this year because she realized what he had done was wrong and she was concerned that he might have approached other underage girls.

But Barbour’s lawyer pointed to the delay as proof that the teenager’s story is a fabrication.

“This is a young lady who has waited five years from the time of the incident she alleges to come forward,” said lawyer Ron Fischetti. “We dispute these charges, [and] he will be vindicated at a trial.”

Barbour will plead not guilty, Fischetti said.

Barbour, who also lives in Los Angeles, has an impressive résumé of theater credits, including “Back from Broadway,” a two-man show that he wrote about life on the Great White Way that grossed $1.5 million as it toured the United States, according to the actor’s Web site.

He is due to play Sir Lancelot in a California production of the musical “Camelot” next month, according to published reports.

A Scientologist who has performed at several events in California for the church, Barbour also has made appearances on TV shows such as “Sex and the City,” “Ed” and “Just Shoot Me.”

The DA’s office has set up a hotline at (212) 335-9373 for anyone to report suspected abuse by Barbour, officials said. No other women have stepped forward at this time.


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