Fred Willard To Undergo Counseling Instead Of Lewd Conduct Charge

Actor Fred Willard appears to have avoided the long arm of the law…so to speak…at least for now.

Willard has been deemed eligible for counseling instead of being formally charged with a crime after being arrested with his pants allegedly down in Hollywood’s Tiki Theater, an adult venue, on Wednesday evening, the Los Angeles City Attorney office decided yesterday.

Instead, the 72-year-old comedic actor best known for his work in Anchorman and Best in Show and on TV in Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond (for which he received Emmy nominations) among many other roles will enter a so-called diversion program, AP reports:

The actor will pay $380 for the diversion program, which is run by a private vendor and may include sessions on decision-making and sex-related crimes.

Willard could still be prosecuted on suspicion of lewd behavior if he fails to get a passing grade in the diversion program courses, according to authorities who consider the case against the actor “viable.”

Many states have roughly similar programs which can result in criminal charges being continued and then formally dropped later if counseling is satisfactory completed. Generally these programs are for those accused substance abuse-related offenses or domestic violence, however.

Willard told TMZ (see video below) that the case was just a “big misunderstanding” and that “it didn’t happen.”

In the meantime, PBS abruptly fired Willard as the host/narrator of the new show Market Warriors.

Willard’s next movie–and we’re not making this up–is called The Yank.

Watch Fred Willard talk to TMZ about the case and his new movie: