Disney’s director of music publishing, Jon Heeley, has been charged with three counts of sexually abusing children, Variety reports.
Heely, is accused of abusing two underage teenage girls around a decade ago, who were aged 11 and 15 respectively. According to the charges, Heeley abused the 11-year-old until she was 15.
The 58-year-old Disney boss was initially arrested by authorities in Santa Clarita last month and released on a $150,000 bail. On Wednesday, Heeley pleaded not guilty to three counts of “lewd and lascivious acts on a child.”
His lawyer, Robert Helfend, denied all the charges against him.
“He vehemently denies these allegations and we will be fighting until the end to clear his name,” Helfend said. “It’s a shame, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Heeley has worked for Disney since 1981, managing the licensing for hundreds of Disney films, as well as producing a series of Disney concerts around the world. A Disney spokesperson has since confirmed Heely was suspended on Friday without pay.
“Immediately upon learning of this situation tonight, he has been suspended without pay until the matter is resolved by the courts,” the spokesperson said of Heeley’s suspension.
The charges will raise further questions about Disney’s knowledge of the allegations, a week after it was revealed that Pixar co-founder John Lasseter had been assigned a “handler to ensure he would not engage in inappropriate conduct with women.” He has since taken a six-month leave of absence.
Heeley’s next court hearing is scheduled for January 10th. If convicted, he could face up to 9 and three months in prison.