An actor who was fired from a Disney Channel show upon his arrest in December 2018 and now could be facing life in prison after he was hit with a federal charge.
A federal grand jury on Jan. 9 charged Stoney Westmoreland, 48, with one count of coercion and enticement. The maximum penalty is life in prison and the minimum penalty is 10 years in prison.
Westmoreland was previously charged in Utah with enticing a minor, four counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor, and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
Authorities arrested Westmoreland after he attempted to meet with someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy he’d been communicating with through a dating application.
But it was actually a sting and the boy was an undercover police officer.
When Westmoreland arrived at the Little America Hotel, he was arrested. A search warrant was served on his room, which uncovered sex toys.
After his arrest, Westmoreland was fired by the Disney Channel. He had been the grandfather of the main character in the show “Andi Mack,” which films in Salt Lake City.
“We released Stormy Westmoreland from the series as soon as the serious charges against him were made known,” a Disney Channel spokesperson told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Telecasts will continue on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW and new episodes will premiere in the coming weeks and months, with some edits made by the producers.”
The company was planning to remove Westmoreland’s character, Ham Mack, from the 14 episodes that haven’t aired. The show was scheduled to return from a break on Jan. 18.
According to Deadline, the age of the boy Westmoreland thought he would meet is the same as the central characters of the Disney Channel show, including the main character Andi Mack.
Besides starring in “Andi Mack,” Westmoreland has appeared in a number of television series and movies, including “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad.”
The actor has not commented on the charges as of yet.
Former Disney Star Alleges Sexual Abuse
A former Disney star publicly alleged that an unnamed older man who was involved in her career took advantage of her for nearly two years as a teenager.
Jordan Pruitt told her story in a Dec. 10 Facebook post titled “Secrets Make You Sick.” The 27-year-old singer said she was only 14 when the man started taking control of her life, and the sexual abuse soon followed.
Pruitt earned a name for herself at a young age by singing in Disney Channel original films. She was also a contestant on “The Voice.”
“It looked as if all my dreams were coming true,” she wrote. “And for the most part, they were. But, in the darkest crevice of my heart, would lie an insurmountable, undeniable, irrefutable amount of pain.”
Pruitt said her manager was “grooming” her, and manipulated her in multiple ways, including withholding food from her.
“I do remember having a childish crush,” she wrote. “This person was helping make ALL of my dreams come true, and thought I was so talented at every single thing I did.”
Little by little, the man convinced her to distance herself from her parents, as he became more and more inappropriate with her. She realized later that it seemed like he had done this kind of thing before.
“At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were ‘natural’ and ‘okay,’” she said.
Pruitt said that after it was discovered what was happening, she felt bad and developed PTSD, depression, anxiety, and sometimes daily panic attacks.
“Somehow with the help of a manager, and the beauty which is God’s Love, I started to rebuild myself. I started writing again for a new album. I found love with a tour mate. I found happiness again,” she wrote. “I want everyone to know that through ANY horrible experience YOU are not over, and YOUR LIFE is not over. Life does go on after something like this.”
Epoch Times reporter Sarah Le contributed to this report.