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A producer who held casting calls at Chicago gay bars for a proposed reality TV series on young LGBT Chicagoans has turned out to have a criminal record, Windy City Times reports.
This and other developments make it unlikely that plans for the show will go forward, according to the Times, which reported Wednesday that producer David Schlessinger was a registered sex offender with three convictions of criminal sexual assault involving underage boys. According to court records, Schlessinger pleaded guilty in September 1998 to the charges, which stemmed from incidents between June 1995 and January 1997. He was sentenced to three years in prison on each and served his terms concurrently.
Schlessinger held casting calls at two Chicago bars the weekend of April 15, drawing hundreds of people seeking to appear in a proposed series called Boystown, which would spotlight young LGBT adults in Chicago either by following the lives of patrons and staff at a given bar or focusing on a group sharing an apartment, Real World-style. Boystown was billed as a hybrid of The Real World, The A-List, and Jersey Shore.
The owners of Scarlet and Minibar, where the auditions were held, told the Times they had not expected to participate further in the series even before Schlessinger's record came to light. The production company appeared to be "not very well financed or put together," Scarlet owner Paul Cannella said. Cannella, Minibar co-owner John Dalton, and Los Angeles-based freelance casting directors hired by Schlessinger all told the Times they had not been aware of his criminal convictions, and the casting directors said they had already ended their relationship with him.
Schlessinger declined comment to the Times, which also reported on a bizarre incident involving him in the resort town of Lake Geneva, Wis., in 1994. Dissatisfied with his dinner at a steakhouse, he sued the town's government, police department, and chief of police. A U.S. district court in Wisconsin dismissed the suit, and a federal appeals court affirmed the decision, calling the suit "absurd and likely malicious." The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a further appeal.