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Casting director found to be convicted sex offender

A Hollywood casting director who places actors, including children, in major films is a registered sex offender.

November 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A Hollywood casting director who places actors, including children, in major films is a registered sex offender, convicted of kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old boy.

The story is already making major motion picture studios re-think how they hire, and it's upsetting some big names in Hollywood.

He helped cast some of the biggest movies in Hollywood involving children, including "School of Rock," "Bad News Bears" and the J.J. Abrams-directed "Super 8."

But apparently no one he worked with knew Jason James is actually Jason James Murphy, a registered sex offender listed on the Megan's Law website.

He was in court in Washington state in 1996. He pleaded guilty to child molestation and kidnapping an 8-year-old boy.

At the time, his case was featured on "America's Most Wanted" when he abducted the 8-year-old and took him to a New York City hotel.

After serving five years behind bars, Murphy came to Hollywood in 2005.

It's important to point out that Murphy has not been accused of molesting anyone he has cast, and he has not been recently arrested. But it's also important to point out: It is illegal for convicted child molesters to work unaccompanied with minors, and it's illegal not to disclose aliases.

According to the Los Angeles Times, director J.J. Abrams just found out Murphy's real identity this week.

"The onus seems to be on him and not the people within Hollywood that he worked with," said Matthew Belloni, The Hollywood Reporter news director.

Belloni says this will be a wakeup call for the whole industry.

"People involved in Hollywood moviemaking are going to be looking and saying, 'Who are these people that we've hired to look after these projects?'" said Belloni.

Paramount Pictures, the company that hired Murphy as a freelancer, told the L.A. Times: "Moving forward, we ... will also conduct background checks on all freelance employees, full-time and part-time, who work with minors."

It's not clear if the Los Angeles Police Dept. is investigating whether Murphy violated disclosure laws.

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