Actor Rip Torn Dodges Felony Charge, Applies for Special Probation


After prosecutors in Litchfield, Connecticut dropped a felony burglary charge against him, actor Rip Torn has applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a probation program for first-time offenders. Torn is charged with breaking into a bank near his home while intoxicated and armed.

Police arrested Torn on January 29, 2010, after they discovered him drunk and wandering inside a Bancorp bank branch. He was also incoherent and in his stocking feet, with a loaded .22-caliber revolver in his pocket. According to court documents, he did not brandish the weapon or threaten officers when they confronted him. Although he had a permit for the gun, it had expired in 2007.

A breath test revealed that Torn had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.203, or two and a half times the legal limit for Connecticut drivers.

Prosecutor David Shepack said that dropping the burglary charge was appropriate, because Torn believed the bank was his own home when he entered it, and did not display criminal intent to burglarize it. Shepack did say, however, that the State’s Attorney’s office does plan to argue against Torn’s accelerated rehabilitation in August.

The 79-year-old actor still faces charges of criminal trespass, carrying a weapon while intoxicated, carrying a weapon without a permit and criminal mischief. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Because the felony burglary charge has been dropped, Torn is now eligible to apply for the rehabilitation program, in which charges are dropped against nonviolent first-time offenders after successful completion of a probation period.

According to his lawyer, Torn has completed alcohol rehabilitation and remains in outpatient treatment, including participation in Alcoholics Anonymous. He had been given probation in a previous drunken driving case, but a Connecticut judge dismissed the charge against him following his completion in the alcohol treatment program.

“He’s done very well and all reports have been successful in treatment and abstinence,” said attorney A. Thomas Waterfall.

During a recent court hearing, Shepack did not elaborate on why prosecutors would oppose the accelerated probation application.


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