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OTRC: Fred Willard avoids charges over lewd conduct arrest, completes diversion program

Fred Willard appears in an interview with KABC Television in July 2012.

Fred Willard will not have to face charges over his arrest for suspected lewd conduct at an adult movie theater last year because he completed a diversion program for minor sexual offenses as part of a deal with prosecutors.

The 73-year-old actor, known for roles in films such as "Spinal Tap" and "Anchorman," was booked in July 2012 at the Tiki Theatre, a popular venue for pornographic films.

Following the arrest, Mateljan said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com that Willard would likely be able to avoid jail time and have his case closed if he completed a "pre-filing diversion program" within a year.

The actor has completed the $380 program, the Los Angeles Times on December 31 quoted L.A. City Attorney's Office Spokesman Frank Mateljan as saying. The charge of suspected lewd conduct was dropped and Willard will not have to face trial.

"It's like traffic school," Willard told TMZ in a video interview in September. "It's over. It was nothing. Charges were dropped."

The diversion program is administered by an outside vender, lasts between two and three weeks and deals with decision making, law and other topics. Mateljan said the program is often offered to people in lieu of criminal prosecution if the defendant has no prior criminal history within the past 10 years.

Mateljan also said Willard was arrested in 1990 for alleged lewd conduct and later pleaded to disturbing the peace. The case was then dropped. Mateljan offered no further details on the matter and said that Willard's prior arrest did not affect the L.A. City Attorney's office's diversion program offer regarding his 2012 charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Willard joked about his July arrest on the NBC late-night talk show "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" and called the ordeal "very embarrassing." He had lost a job after the incident. Hours after posting $500 bail, the channel PBS, which is partially funded by taxpayer dollars, dropped him as the host and narrator of its show "Market Warriors". ABC also canceled an improv comedy series called "Trust Us With Your Life" that he had hosted.