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Sex arrest star offered counselling

Fred Willard will be allowed to have counselling sessions to avoid a lewd conduct charge after an arrest that cost the Best In Show actor a TV job.

Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said Willard's case was eligible for a diversion programme that would keep him from being formally charged with lewd conduct if he completed the required courses, spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

Emmy-Nominated Willard, 72, best-known as the announcer in Best In Show, was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of committing a lewd act. He was taken into custody by police who were making a routine check at a Hollywood adult cinema.

Hours later he was sacked as the narrator of Market Warriors, a show produced by Boston public television station WGBH.

The actor will pay £243 for the diversion programme, which is run by a private concern and may include sessions on decision-making and sex-related crimes.

Mr Mateljan said the case against Willard was viable and the actor could still be charged if he did not complete the programme.

The actor said in a video posted on Thursday by celebrity website TMZ that it was a misunderstanding and denied wrongdoing.

Willard was nominated four times for Emmys for guest roles on TV's Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond. In Pixar's 2008 hit WALL-E, he voiced the character of Shelby Forthright, the CEO of a ubiquitous big-box chain called Buy'n'Large.

In addition to Best In Show, Willard has also appeared in other Christopher Guest mockumentary films, including This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting For Guffman.

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