Photog Charged in Reese Witherspoon Case

Photog Charged in Reese Witherspoon Case
Paul Mounce/Corbis

10/10/2005 AT 08:00 AM EDT

A photographer who tried to take pictures of Reese Witherspoon and her children at Disney's California Adventure theme park on Sept. 2 has been charged with child endangerment and battery.

At a Friday hearing, Todd K. Wallace, 44, was accused of allegedly shoving a child out of his way, striking a 5-year-old child with his camera and battering the 5-year-old's mother (who is a friend of Witherspoon's) as well as two park employees, Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez tells the Associated Press.

Wallace is due back in court Wednesday, says Assistant City Attorney Patrick Ahle.

According to Martinez, Wallace became physically and verbally abusive when the Just Like Heaven star and her friends declined to be photographed during a birthday party for one of Witherspoon's children. Wallace reportedly forced his way before them, and the incident was said to have left some of the children in tears.

Witherspoon's attorney, Blair Berk, said that tabloids must realize that "battering and endangering a child to get a picture for their magazines is criminal and not business as usual."

Wallace, who could not be reached for comment, served more than four years in prison after a 1993 conviction of second-degree burglary and receiving goods by fraud, according to state department of corrections records obtained by AP.

In August, prosecutors decided not to charge photographers after an April incident in which Witherspoon, 29, claimed the paparazzi had aggressively pursued her from her gym, nearly ran her off the road and ultimately trapped her outside the West Los Angeles gated community where she lives with husband Ryan Phillippe and their two children.

"I have no doubt Ms. Witherspoon was besieged by the paparazzi that day," Detective Jeff Dunn, head of the Los Angeles Police Department Threat Management Unit, said at the time. Still, prosecutors said they could not be certain a crime had occurred.

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