'Free Willy' child star sentenced to jail

Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 December 2018, 10:49AM

We all remember him as the lovable bad boy, Jesse, from the Free Willy films, but it seems his bad boy persona has rolled into real life ...

Jason James Richter has been sentenced to four days in jail after he was arrested for allegations of domestic violence.

The former child actor was arrested on October 15 and spent two nights in jail before being released on a $20,000 bail.

He was later charged with two misdemeanours, one for domestic battery and one for vandalism, after allegedly breaking down a door to get to his girlfriend.

He was facing up to one year behind bars.

According to court reports, Richter pleaded no contest to the vandalism charge and was found guilty.

His charge for battery on a significant other was dropped due to a plea negotiation, which included changing his plea regarding the vandalism charge from not guilty to no contest.

In addition to his jail time, he was sentenced to three years’ probation, one-year domestic violence counselling, and a protective order was issued for the victim.

Following his arrest in October, Richter's rep released a statement saying: "Jason and his girlfriend were involved in an argument that unfortunately escalated to the point where police were called. However, Jason vehemently denies any physical altercation. He is devastated that anyone has been led to believe otherwise. Jason was released of his own recognizance, the police found no visible marks or bruises and there is every reason to believe that these false charges will be dropped."

The 38-year-old is best known for playing Jesse - a foster child who befriends a captive orca - in 1993's Free Willy, as well as its sequels, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and Free Willy 3: The Rescue.

Since Free Willy, Richter has landed a number of small screen projects, appearing in shows like Bones, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Criminal Minds.