Australian actor Ernie Dingo has been suffering from bouts of depression since he was accused of slapping a young boy during a school visit over the summer - because the assault charge has left him unable to work. The "Crocodile Dundee II" star was charged with aggravated common assault after allegedly striking an 11-year-old pupil at a primary school in Carnarvon, Western Australia in July.
He pleaded not guilty in October and is due to stand trial in February 2011. Dingo reveals he has been banned from working with children since the incident, and he's devastated because he has always loved performing for youngsters.
He says, "I haven't worked because (the Department of) Education deem me unfit, as a threat... I can't do any work with children, and I have done that all my life. (I'm dealing with) a lot of negatives, mental anguishes, inserts of depression, not being able to work... I've worked all my life and all of a sudden I was told to take a holiday. And that hurts."
"Mainly because of the fact of the disrespect of who I am. I have worked with kids. Kids jump all over me 24/7 when I work with kids... I do it because I love kids, and I love to try and work out a positive way for them..."
Dingo faces a possible jail sentence if convicted.