Case Dropped Against Accused Disney Groper

Man, 51, was busted for fondling Princess Ariel

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Ariel Grope Dismissal

DECEMBER 19--The convicted sex offender arrested last month for groping the breast of a Disney World employee dressed as Princess Ariel will not be tried for the alleged battery, according to a court filing made yesterday by Florida prosecutors.

In a one-page “No Information Notice,” an assistant state attorney notified the court that the case against Brian Sherman, 51, “is not suitable for prosecution.”

The December 18 filing offers no details as to why the misdemeanor matter has been dropped. Sherman, an Orlando resident, is required to register as a sex offender due to his 1991 conviction on four felonies related to the sexual abuse of victims under the age of 12.

Seen at right, Sherman was arrested following a November 2 incident at Ariel’s Grotto, a Disney World attraction featuring a rotation of female cast members dressed as the star of “The Little Mermaid.” Visitors often pose for photos with Ariel, who wears a red wig, a purple clamshell bra, and a green fishtail.

According to a police report, Sherman, who was accompanied by his wife, was “very excited” by the prospect of meeting the costumed character. A Disney worker told cops that Sherman exclaimed, “I love Ariel. Ariel is my favorite!”

As Sherman and his wife posed for photos with the Disney employee--who said she was pinned between the seated couple--Sherman allegedly reached around the woman and “cupped and lifted” her right breast for several seconds.

The victim said that only a “thin skin-tight fabric” separated her bare breast from “the defendant’s thumb and forefinger,” which had slipped beneath a cup of her clamshell bra.

Upon recognizing “the victim’s body language as uncomfortable” during the photo op, a Disney co-worker “guided” Sherman to “remove his hand from around the victim by suggesting that he pose more like Prince Charming.” Sherman--who, again, is 51--subsequently “took up a pose like prince Eric,” Ariel’s husband, cops reported.

After Sherman’s departure, the victim “began shaking and crying,” prompting another Disney employee to shut the grotto attraction.

During a police interview at his residence, Sherman was asked if he could “remember feeling his hand go inside the victim’s costume.” He replied, “I can see it in my mind that it happened.” Cops noted that Sherman “repeatedly stated that he might have touched the victim’s breast and that it was accidental.”

Sherman, who offered to apologize to the victim, told a Disney manager that he has “hugged people in the past in a way that has been taken as sexual,” cops reported.

Sherman did not respond to TSG messages seeking comment that were left on his two phone numbers. (2 pages)