DOWNTOWN — A talent agent who worked with child actors out of his Santa Monica apartment and once made a living performing at children’s parties was charged Thursday with eight felony counts of sexual abuse involving a boy who was an aspiring singer.
Martin Weiss, 47, of Martin Weiss Management, plead not guilty in Van Nuys Superior Court to three counts of sodomy of a person under 16, two counts each of continuous sexual abuse and lewd acts upon a child and one count of forcible lewd act upon a child.
He is being held on $800,000 bail and faces a maximum sentence of 34 years in state prison if convicted on all counts, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Phone calls made to Weiss’ office were not returned.
The Los Angeles Times reported Weiss’ clients received an e-mail alert Thursday.
“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I immediately dissolve Martin Weiss Management and release all actors from their contracts,” the e-mail said. “Please do not try [to] contact me. I will let everyone know what is happening at the proper time. Thank you for being wonderful clients and friends.”
The criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between March 2005 and June 2008 and involved a boy who was under the age of 16 at the time. The alleged crimes began when the boy, a former client of Weiss Management, was 11 years old and ended when he was 15. The crimes allegedly occurred at a residence in Woodland Hills as well as at Weiss’ residence in Santa Monica.
Police said the alleged victim had been forced to have sex with Weiss about 30 to 40 times and was told by Weiss that “what they were doing was a common practice in the entertainment industry.”
The alleged victim — now 18 — did not come forward at the time of the alleged crimes because he feared the disclosure would damage his reputation in the entertainment industry and traumatize his family, but notified authorities about a week ago out of concern that there might be other victims, according to police.
Weiss was arrested Tuesday by detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department at his home, where he operated his business for the past 14 years, according to an LAPD statement.
Investigators are requesting anyone who may have been assaulted by Weiss come forward. Anyone with information regarding the case are asked to call LAPD detectives at (818) 756-3375.
On the Weiss Management website, it says that Weiss “prides himself on his abilities to communicate with his young clients and maintain a get-up-and-go-for-it attitude.”
His young clients have secured roles on such cable TV shows as Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” and Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie,” network shows including “Criminal Minds” and “Parenthood,” and movies including Disney’s “The Muppets Movie” and Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill.”