Sexual Battery Charges Against Joe Francis Dropped

Joanne Cachapero
LOS ANGELES — Charges of sexual battery have been dropped against Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, stemming from an incident last year where Francis allegedly fondled an 18-year old girl’s breasts and buttocks at a Hollywood birthday party.

The charges were dropped today, after the judge in the cases cited that the 18-year old plaintiff and an alleged witness were not able to be contacted by the prosecution.

Francis, who has faced numerous legal issues over the years, faced up to six months in jail for the sexual battery charges. His lawyer Mark Werksman said that the case was based on “lies and exaggerations.”

In mid-March Francis was released on bail from jail in Reno, Nev., where he was facing tax evasion charges. He spent several months in Reno jail, to avoid extradition to Florida, where he was facing charges including filming underage girls.

In mid-April charges were dropped against Francis’ employee Scott Barbour, who stood accused of smuggling prohibited items to his boss, while Francis was jailed.