"Pee-wee Herman" creator Paul Reubens still maintains he's innocent of the public indecency charges leveled at him in 1991 and would have won had the case gone to trial. The funnyman pleaded no contest to accusations he had been caught masturbating in a Florida porn theater, because he couldn't bear the thought of being a public punchline for the duration of a trial - but he insists the officers who arrested him had their facts all wrong.
In a rare interview about the 19-year-old scandal, Reubens tells Playboy he had witnesses and experts lined up who would have proved his innocence. He says, "Had we gone to trial, we had ready and expert from the Masters & Johnson Institute who was going to testify that in 30 years of research on masturbation the institute had never found one person who masturbated with his or her non-dominant hand."
"I'm right-handed, and the police report said I was jerking off with my left hand. That would have been the end of the case right there, proof it couldn't have been me. (But) did I want to have all that revealed in court and then to listed to Jay (Leno) and Arsenio (Hall) and others for another two weeks? So I pleaded no contest and all I got was community service."
The scandal sent Reubens to therapy and he is now an expert on shock recovery, "I was in shock. There was a feeling like, 'You're going to wake up from this and it's going to turn out to be a bad dream... ' As a result, I now know everything there is to know about scandal and shock - how you move through the first 12 hours, the first 24 hours, the first six weeks... and so on. I know how to navigate all this hideous, s**tty, horrible stuff you go through."
Reubens admits his therapy sessions came in handy when he was hit with another scandal in 2001 - the funnyman was wrongly accused of possessing child pornography.