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Gary Coleman ordered to pay fine, attend classes

SANTAQUIN — Gary Coleman wanted to clear one thing up as he limped into Santaquin Justice Court.

"There never has been and never will be any nude photos of Gary Coleman," he said. "No matter how much you want it."

The former child star was referring to claims by two filmmakers that they have footage of Coleman accidentally exposing himself.

Coleman appeared in court Monday, his 42nd birthday, to answer domestic violence charges. He took a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief and agreed to pay a $595 fine.

An assault charge was dismissed. Judge Sharla Williams also ordered Coleman to take domestic violence classes.

"Just please accept my apologies," Coleman told the judge.

The hearing came after several weeks of renewed attention, mostly unwanted, on the former child star who moved to Santaquin in 2005 after starring in the film "Church Ball."

He met his wife, Shannon Price, on the set of the film. The couple has had an often stormy relationship, with police called to their home on several occasions for domestic disputes.

Coleman was booked into the Utah County Jail last month on a warrant stemming from two misdemeanor domestic violence charges related to what his attorney, Randy Kester, called a "little tiff" with Price last April.

Santaquin City Attorney Brett Rich denied a Deseret News request for a police report in that matter, saying it could bias proceedings against Coleman. After the hearing, Rich said the report still would be considered a protected record for 30 days while Coleman has a chance to appeal.

Kester said that Coleman missed his prior court date because he was in the hospital with serious health problems.

"I think he handled (his legal situation) very well," Kester said. "He was very candid with the court. His life is very difficult right now."

A fan posted Coleman's $1,725 bail, but the actor's family raised questions about whether it was an act of charity or an attempt to set Coleman up for waiting paparazzi.

Price has dealt with her own domestic violence case in recent months. She pleaded guilty in September to criminal mischief from a July spat and was hit with the same $595 fine.

Last month also saw the dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit filed against Coleman by a man who said the actor ran over him in a Payson bowling alley parking lot. The two sides reached an out-of-court settlement.

Coincidentally, the same day the lawsuit was dismissed, the Spanish Fork man who filed it, Colt Rushton, 25, was booked into jail for investigation of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident after two hit-and-runs in Springville. Rushton was sentenced last week to 90 days in jail for violating his probation in a previous case.

In December 2008, Coleman pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from the Payson incident.

Before his hearing Monday, Coleman overheard people in the courtroom saying they did not want to be captured on film by the media throng waiting outside.

"Only soulless, pointless people want to be on TV," Coleman said.