AceShowbiz - Former "Neighbours" actor Craig McLachlan appeared in court in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, November 18, 2019 to face multiple indecent assault charges.
Allegations the star had sexually harassed several actresses during a 2014 production of "The Rocky Horror Show" first surfaced last year in January 2018, and he was charged with multiple alleged offenses this January.
On Monday he appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court to face 16 charges, including counts of indecent assault, one of attempted indecent assault and others of assault, involving four complainants who were part of the production of the long-running musical.
According to Guardian Australia, in an opening statement, prosecutor Matt Fisher said some of the allegations related to a bedroom scene in which McLachlan was meant to be simulating a sex act while not in full view of the audience.
"It is alleged the accused went beyond the role he was directed to perform," Fisher said, saying McLachlan kissed one woman actor's neck, stomach and buttocks during the scene and on one occasion, allegedly "used his finger to trace around the outline of (the victim's) vagina."
McLachlan has also been accused of pushing his groin into the stomach area of another woman while he was wearing black boxer shorts, while his penis was partially erect - and allegedly kissed the same woman without consent during a show, by forcing his tongue into her mouth.
Other allegations include tickling another woman's foot and reaching up towards her groin.
The 54-year-old's lawyer, Stuart Littlemore, told the court the actor is pleading not guilty to the charges and argues that some of the alleged incidents did not happen, while others did not constitute indecent assault.
The four alleged victims will give evidence about the incidents in a closed court in a trial expected to last three weeks.
The Aussie soap actor launched defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and a former co-star in 2018 over the original allegations but proceedings have been placed on hold until after the criminal trial comes to an end.