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Disney `fondling' man clear.

A BRITON man who was acquit ted of charges he fondled a 13-year-old girl while dressed as Tigger at the Walt Disney World theme park, says he wants to return to work -- but no longer as a Disney character.

The acquittal followed a three-day trial in Orlando during which the defence lawyer for Michael Chartrand donned a Tigger costume in an effort to show jurors how difficult it is to manoeuvre and see in the outfit.

Outside court, Chartrand, a 36-year-old from England who lost his fiancee and was suspended without pay after his arrest, said he would like his job back, but that the experience ``has ruined my dream to be a character''.

Jurors found Chartrand not guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation. He had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted of fondling the girl while posing for a photo with her and her mother.

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Kaufman contended that the girl's mother was merely after money and planned to sue Disney.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2004
Words:167
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