‘Dukes of Hazzard' Star Regrets Arrest, Aims for Sobriety

"The Dukes of Hazzard" star Tom Wopat says he'll be taking time to address his ongoing struggle with substance abuse following his arrest in Massachusetts on indecent assault and battery charges.

Wopat, 65, pleaded not guilty Thursday to grabbing the buttocks of a female member of a local production of "42nd Street" he was supposed to star in. Police said they found what they suspect to be cocaine in the actor's possession.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Wopat expressed "his deepest regrets" to friends, family and his many loyal fans for the "unfortunate events'' but "firmly denies any wrongdoing."

He said he hopes his "good name will be restored" after his team investigates the allegation.

"In the meantime," the statement said, "Mr. Wopat will be taking personal time to address his ongoing struggle with substance abuse. While death and illness in the family, combined with the intensity of his recent schedule, certainly contributed to this misstep, Tom definitely understands that sobriety is the sole course for a successful future and will take immediate steps to achieve it."

Wopat was forced by court order to leave the production of "42nd Street" at Waltham's Reagle Music Theatre, which was due to open the day after his arrest. The theater replaced him with a different actor.

"He is truly disappointed not to be on the stage with his fellow performers and wishes them success in this and all future endeavors," Wopat's statement said.

Besides his role as Luke Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard," an action-comedy that ran from 1979 until 1985, he has acted in other television shows and movies, is a Tony Award-nominated stage actor and is a recording artist.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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