“Jackass” co-star Steve-O may be all right with stapling his scrotum to his leg, but standing trial on obscenity and battery charges was apparently just too risky of a stunt to attempt.
The 28-year-old performance artist, whose real name is Stephen Glover, has reached an agreement with Louisiana prosecutors in which he’ll enter a pretrial intervention program requiring a year of probation and a charitable donation. Should he fail to meet the conditions, the charges could be reinstated.
The stuntmonger originally faced felony charges based on his performance at a Houma, Louisiana, nightclub in July, but he started talking to prosecutors in January about reducing the felonies down to misdemeanors (see “Steve-O Ponders Jail, Hurriedly Works On Third Home Video” ).
A videotape of the show revealed Glover stapling his scrotum to his thigh and also showed a stunt in which a bouncer knocked a teen audience member unconscious. Glover had faced a principal to second-degree battery charge for presiding over the stunt, which carries a penalty of up to five years, and he faced another three years for obscenity charges related to the stapling.
In the agreement, Terrebonne Parish prosecutors conceded that Glover’s staple stunt could be a form of artistic expression (see “Knoxville Calls Beleaguered Steve-O An ’American Hero’ “ ). “A review of the tape of the incident clearly shows that, although the performance is objectionable, it is more than likely protected under free speech when conducted in front of paying adult patrons,” First Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes said in a statement.
As for the battery charge, Glover was determined not to be an active participant in the incident that injured Louisiana State University freshman Ryan Bergeron. “The second-degree battery charge involved a patron who volunteered for participation and would, in all likelihood, not withstand appellate review if a conviction was obtained,” Rhodes said in the statement.
Glover was placed on supervised probation for one year, ordered to make a $5,000 donation to a local shelter for battered women and children, and ordered to never again perform in Terrebonne Parish. During his probation, Glover must pay the cost of supervision — about $89 a month — and must make himself available to his probation officer via telephone.
“We’re definitely pleased with the arrangement,” Glover’s lawyer, Jason Berk, said.
Glover was one of five people who faced criminal charges in the wake of his performance at the Abyss. Club owners Larry Hyatt and George Bourg and club manager Lenny Swiderski were each charged as principals to second-degree battery and principals to obscenity. They reached an agreement with prosecutors that requires them to pay Bergeron’s medical bills. Bergeron, who was unconscious and bleeding from one ear after the incident, told MTV News that he suffers from constant headaches and has had to see a neurologist for tests and treatment.
“I believe the district attorney’s decision was the best under the circumstances,” Bergeron said. “I’m still undergoing treatments, and I’ll be proceeding with civil claims against those responsible for my injuries. But I don’t think Steve-O is one of those responsible. I don’t think it was right that he had no remorse at all about it, that he didn’t care, but he’s not responsible.”
Bouncer Milton Cayette, accused of slamming Bergeron headfirst into the ground, has not entered into an agreement with prosecutors. He remains charged with simple battery and is scheduled to stand trial April 22.