NEW YORK – The casting of a new lead actor who's admitted to misdemeanor sex offenses involving a teenage girl 14 years ago has brought some social media criticism to "The Phantom of the Opera."
The show announced this week that 48-year-old James Barbour would take over the role of Phantom starting in February. The announcement drew criticism that it was inappropriate for the show to hire someone whose past includes sex offenses involving a child.
Barbour pleaded guilty in 2008 to two misdemeanors involving a 15-year-old in 2001. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years' probation.
Producers issued a statement on the show's Facebook page Wednesday, saying Barbour had accepted responsibility for his actions and he "honored the second chance he was given."