Published August 02, 2004
ORLANDO, Fla. – A man accused of touching a 13-year-old girl's breast while performing in his Tigger (search) costume at Walt Disney World (search) rejected a plea agreement Monday that would have spared him prison time.
Michael Chartrand (search), 36, rejected an offer of one year of probation and 50 hours of community service if he pleaded to misdemeanor battery. He would also have been banned from theme parks.
Chartrand now faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation and first-degree misdemeanor battery. His lawyer, Jeffrey Kaufman, did not comment after the decision.
Chartrand, who has been suspended without pay, was accused of touching the girl while he posed for a picture with her and her mother last February. After his arrest in April, other women filed similar complaints.
A Disney lawyer has suggested that the orange Tigger costume be dyed and its ears removed if it is introduced as evidence so that Disney can preserve the character's innocent image.
Also Monday, the judge agreed to allow 20 pictures of Chartrand, supposedly in costume, posing with Disney World visitors. The prosecutor, William Jay, said the images would help refute likely defense arguments that the touching was accidental.