CHICAGO (CBS) — A published report says the executive producer who wants to bring a reality TV series to Chicago’s Boystown has a serious criminal record.
Citing court records, the Windy City Times reported this week that David Schlessinger pleaded guilty in 1998 to two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and one of predatory criminal sexual assault, stemming from incidents with three underage boys between 1995 and 1997. He had met the boys while cruising in Uptown, the newspaper reported.
Schlessinger was sentenced to three years in prison, according to the paper.
The Chicago Tribune reported on the case at the time. The newspaper reported that Schelssinger, then the owner of an auto insurance company on Peterson Avenue, was charged in 1997 with the assault of three boys ages 12, 14 and 15, and that he provided them with vodka and marijuana before sexually assaulting them.
Schlessinger is now chief executive officer of the production company Chitown Entertainment, which recently held casting calls for a planned reality TV program showcasing the Boystown neighborhood.
ChicagoPride.com reported last month that Schlessinger wanted to highlight what he called the “beauty, cultural and artistic qualities” of the Boystown neighborhood, as well as the “fun, crazy and wild people” who live and play there.
The Chicago Tribune RedEye reported Schlessinger and his team first held a pre-casting party for Halsted Street GLBT club scene regulars between the ages of 21 and 25 one day last month, then invited the top candidates back for a private casting call a day later.
Proposals for the show included following the staff or patrons of a bar on Halsted Street, or keeping the cameras rolling in an apartment where young GLBT people lived, the Windy City Times reported.
The bar Scarlet, 3320 N. Halsted St., was a site of the casting calls for the program, but bar owner Paul Cannella now tells the Windy City Times he determined before news of Schlessinger’s past hit that the program was “not a good fit” for his bar. The owner of Minibar, 3341 N. Halsted St., said similarly that his bar had previously decided it likely wouldn’t participate, the newspaper reported.
Local bar owners and casting agents did not know about Schlessinger’s criminal record, the paper reported.