Tatum O'Neal arrested on drug charge

Mon Jun 2, 2008 5:43pm EDT
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar-winner Tatum O'Neal, the former child actress who chronicled her struggles with addiction in a 2004 memoir, has been arrested on suspicion of buying drugs on the streets of New York City.

A judge released her on her own recognizance on Monday after she spent the night in jail and she was ordered to return on July 28. O'Neal, 44, appeared without makeup, her hair tied into a messy bun, wearing a black tank top and black pants.

O'Neal, who was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, rejected a deal that would have sentenced her to a two-day drug treatment program in exchange for a guilty plea for disorderly conduct, prosecutors said.

She will enter a plea at her July court date.

The New York Daily News reported she was caught buying crack cocaine from a homeless street vendor on Sunday night three blocks from her home.

A police spokesman said she was seen buying a controlled substance from a man in Manhattan's Lower East Side, once a crime-infested neighborhood that has become trendy.

O'Neal's publicist declined to comment and her lawyer left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

The Daily News, citing unnamed police sources, reported that O'Neal first told police she was "doing research for a part" and changed her story after police searched her and found a bag of crack, a bag of regular cocaine and an unused crack pipe.   Continued...

<p>Academy Award winning actress Tatum O'Neal departs from the criminal court after being arrested on drug related charges in New York June 2, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East</p>