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Boy George Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison

JENNIFER QUINN   01/16/09 10:11 AM ET   AP

Boy George

LONDON — Singer Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Friday after being convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort by handcuffing him to a wall in a London apartment.

British Judge David Radford said the 47-year-old former Culture Club frontman, whose real name is George O'Dowd, was guilty of "gratuitous violence."

O'Dowd's lawyer said his client and the escort had both behaved like "drug-crazed idiots" and that O'Dowd's substance abuse problems were a contributing factor.

In 2006, Boy George _ whose pop band's hits included "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon" _ did community service with New York City's Department of Sanitation after he called police with a false report of a burglary at his lower Manhattan apartment and officers found cocaine there.

Friday's sentencing occurred at Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London, where O'Dowd had been warned by the judge to expect a jail sentence.

The singer had been convicted in December of handcuffing Norwegian escort Audun Carlsen to a wall hook at his East London apartment. During the trial, prosecutors said Carlsen was held by O'Dowd for under an hour.

The singer denied the charge, saying he had restrained Carlsen with handcuffs while trying to figure out if a computer had been tampered with. Carlsen, 29, said O'Dowd swung at him with a metal chain as he ran from the apartment after a naked photo shoot.

Photos of Carlsen's injuries _ which he said had been inflicted by O'Dowd _ were shown to the jury, but the singer denied he was responsible.

Speaking to Judge Radford on Friday, O'Dowd's lawyer, Adrian Waterman, said: "This defendant is a kind and generous man who is particularly mindful of others' needs. He is the antithesis of the haughty bullying star. He was not himself when addled by the habitual and relatively long-lasting using of illegal drugs."

During Culture Club's heyday in the 1980s, Boy George was famous for his flamboyant makeup and outfits.

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Filed by Katherine Thomson  |