Members of rock bands have long had reputations for being “bad.” They may challenge authority, engage in dangerous behaviors or generally misbehave. However, whether a musician fits these criteria or not does not change the fact that they are just like everyone else in the eyes of the law and they have the same rights as any other person. This includes the right to defend themselves against criminal charges.
Recently, the now-former guitarist for rock band New Found Glory found himself in this situation after he was charged with serious criminal offenses. According to reports, the Florida rocker is accused of possessing child pornography, lewd contact with a minor and intent to commit a lewd act with a minor. The story has spread quickly, along with pieces of misinformation and unfounded rumors.
The charges stem from alleged video chats the man was having with women on an adult website. The chats were reportedly consensual and involved women who claimed to be minors. This is the information that is currently known. However, the story has been spun wildly and rumors have flown quickly, which is unfortunately not uncommon when people hear that someone has been charged with sexual misconduct of any kind.
But according to statements from the man’s attorney, he was not involved in any physical contact or misconduct with minors. The man believed that the women with whom he was chatting in the videos were, in fact, 18 years old and authorities have yet to even identify the women. At this point, no one knows how old they really are. And his lawyer clarified that the charge of possessing child pornography is simply related to the man having these conversations on his computer.
However, people hear that someone is charged with possession of child pornography or lewd conduct and immediately jump to their own conclusions. You do not need to be a celebrity or famous musician for these assumptions to seriously damage your reputation. As difficult as this situation is, it is crucial that people who are facing similar charges remember that they are innocent until proven guilty and they have the right to defend themselves against false accusations. There can be short-term damages that may be unavoidable when a person is accused of criminal sexual behavior, but with legal support and a strong defense, it can be possible to minimize the long-term damage of a conviction.
Source: The Huffington Post, “New Found Glory Guitarist Steve Klein Accused of Lewd Acts With A Minor,” Cavan Sieczkowski, March 13, 2014