Former child actor Alexander Polinsky on Wednesday accused his Charles in Charge co-star Scott Baio of sexually harassing him and assaulting him with a cup of hot tea on the set of the show in the late 1980s.
Polinksy added his allegations to those of his former co-star Nicole Eggert, 46, who claims Baio and she were sexually intimate when she was underage, at a press conference Wednesday in Los Angeles at the offices of their mutual lawyer, Lisa Bloom.
Polinksy in addition to making his own allegations against Baio, backed up Eggert’s accusations against Baio, who has strongly denied that Eggert was under 18 when their encounters occurred.
“I saw their relationship develop on the set in the coming months and years and it was very distressing to me to see a man I looked up to behaving in this way with someone who is very close to my age,” Polinsky said.
Polinksy, now 43, played a friend of Eggert’s character on the show, with Baio, now 57, as the headliner playing a college student living with a family as a babysitter.
“I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 and 15 years old,” Polinsky told reporters. Bloom added what happened to Polinsky on the show amounted to “child abuse” of a little boy.
Polinksy, who has filed a report with police about what he has said was a “toxic environment” on the set, alleged “a pattern of abuse that was unrelenting” against him. He said Baio once pulled down down his pants in front of more than 100 people, and another time he allegedly exposed himself to Polinsky.
He also said Baio assaulted him by throwing a hot cup of tea in his face after Polinsky startled him by faking passing a basketball to him. But he said he was not himself sexually abused by Baio.
He said the harassment began during the first season of the show when he walked in on Eggert sitting on Baio’s lap. Eggert, who also was at the news conference, said he “misjudged” the situation, and when Polinsky also tried to jump in Baio’s lap, Baio shoved him off and called him a gay slur.
After that, they said, he was routinely bullied and harassed by Baio in “retaliation” for what he had seen. Eggert, who said she felt guilty about what she says happened to Polinsky, added that he was tripped, pushed around and regularly verbally abused by Baio because “he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Eggert and Polinksy said Baio was a “tyrant” on the show and that others on the show were aware of what was happening but were too afraid of losing their jobs to do anything about it.
Bloom confirmed that both Eggert and Polinsky have met with Los Angeles Police Department detectives about their claims against Baio. The LAPD has confirmed to USA TODAY that they are looking into their allegations.
Given that all of the alleged events took place over three decades ago, it is not clear what kind of criminal charges could result given that the statutes of limitation then in effect have long since expired.
Both Eggert and Polinksy said they are not interested in money and do not plan to file a civil suit. Eggert said an apology might be in order.
Meanwhile, Baio was scheduled to appear at his own press conference later Wednesday to refute the latest allegations against him.
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