Jason James is a successful Hollywood casting agent, who has worked with child actors on such family-friendly films as “Super 8,” “School of Rock,” and the upcoming “The Three Stooges” movie.He is also a registered sex offender, as reported by the L.A. Times‘ Dawn C. Chmielewski and Harriet Ryan.
OK, first things first: the casting directors for whom James has worked have indicated that he was professional and never the subject of complaints from actors.
However, they also had no idea that his real name is Jason James Murphy and was convicted of kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old boy in 1996.
Authorities were alerted this week after “Super 8” director J.J. Abrams‘ manager David Lonner learned of Murphy’s real identity and informed Abrams. Abrams then contacted Paramount Pictures executives who notified police.
At 19, Murphy was arraigned on molestation charges against an 8-year-old boy he met when he was a camp counselor. He later kidnapped the boy while out on bail, disguised himself as a women and fled to New York. As Jezebel’s Margaret Hartmann points out, Murphy’s case drew plenty of attention, even landing him on “America’s Most Wanted.”
Murphy served five years in prison and moved to California in 2005, where he registered as a sex offender.
In addition to being a gross oversight by the movie studios, Murphy’s work may have broken a few laws — as Hartmann notes:
Offenders are required to inform authorities of name changes, but he never told police he’d shortened his name to Jason James. The law also prohibits sex offenders whose victims were under 16 from “working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.”
Abrams told the L.A. Times:
“It’s shocking and it’s devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe…To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable.”
For its part, Paramount Pictures has “promised” to perform background checks on anyone who works with child actors in the future.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.