06/23/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
FOR CHARLIE SHEEN, LIFE HAS been one long bachelor party. When he wasn't carousing in bars, he was dating ex-porn queen Ginger Lynn Allen or, as he stated during the 1995 trial of convicted Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss, blowing big bucks on $2,000-a-trick hookers. But with consistent boorishness, Sheen has publicly shrugged off his loutish antics with a smirk.
There was no such bravado June 6, however, when a downcast Sheen, 31, pleaded no contest in Malibu municipal court to a charge that he beat a former lover, Brittany Ashland, 25, during a Dec. 20 argument at his Agoura Hills, Calif., home. In court documents, Ashland, who dated the Hot Shots! star for five months, said he grabbed her by the hair and flung her to a marble floor, knocking her unconscious and splitting her lip. When she came to, she said, Sheen hid her bloodied dress and threatened to kill her if she "told anyone what had happened." The next day, on her complaint, Sheen was arrested, then released on $20,000 bail.
Suspending a one-year jail sentence, Judge Lawrence J. Mira gave Sheen two years probation and ordered him to pay $2,800, perform 300 hours of community service and attend eight counseling sessions. Sheen, who filed for divorce from his wife of five months, model Donna Peele, in February 1996, still faces civil claims in the case. "I hope that for his good and everybody else's, he decides to change his behavior," Ashland told the court through attorney Gloria Allred. In a statement the judge struck from the record, Sheen's lawyer Donald Re said Ashland "appeared in pornographic movies." Later, Allred refused to comment to reporters on her client's past but said it was "disgusting to attack a victim." As Sheen drove off in a black Jaguar, she added that "Ms. Ashland has nothing to apologize for. If there is anyone who owes an apology, it would be Mr. Sheen."