'Free Willy' actor Jason James Richter arrested on domestic violence charges

Suzy Byrne

Former child Jason James Richter, who starred in the Free Willy movie franchise, has been arrested on domestic violence charges.

The actor, 38, was taken into police custody Monday in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles after a fight with his girlfriend, Yahoo has confirmed with the LAPD. Richter, who is facing a misdemeanor domestic violence charge as well as one count of vandalism, spent two nights in jail before being released on Wednesday on $20,000 bail. If found guilty, he could face up to one year in prison.

Former child star Jason James Richter, of <em>Free Willy</em> fame, has been arrested. (Photo: Getty Images)
Former child star Jason James Richter, of Free Willy fame, has been arrested. (Photo: Getty Images)

While a rep for Richter has not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment, they told TMZ that his arrest stemmed from a dispute with his girlfriend, who has not been identified, at their home. And a police source told the website that the actor thought his girlfriend was “having an affair” with a co-worker. Their altercation escalated, and at one point she was locked in their bedroom and he broke down the door to get in. The woman went to the police department a few hours later to file a report, saying he had pulled her by the wrists to the living room. However, police sources said they didn’t see “visible marks.”

Richter first made waves in Hollywood as the young star of 1993’s Free Willy as well as its two sequels, Free Willy: 2 and Free Willy 3: The Rescue. He’s continued as a working actor, appearing with Heather Graham in Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison last year. He has been in a number of small-budget films this year.

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