"I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 to 15 years old."
Charles in Charge star Alexander Polinsky made that statement at a Wednesday press conference, raising new allegations regarding Baio's behavior on the set of the popular TV series. Polinsky appeared with his attorney, Lisa Bloom, and co-star Nicole Eggert, who played his sister on the show and was the first to come forward with her story.
Baio, who has vehemently denied Eggert's claims, hasn't formally responded to Polinsky at present. He did announce a plan to hold a press conference of his own on Wednesday afternoon, noting "I've tried my best to let the proper authorities handle this matter. It now seems they want a 'horse & pony' show."
Polinsky recounted multiple instances of bad behavior on Baio's part, going all the way back to the then-11-year-old actor's first year on the show. He walked in on Baio one day as he was allegedly acting "sexual in nature" toward Eggert, who was seated on the older actor's lap (h/t The Hollywood Reporter).
"I was so naive, I innocently hopped on his lap expecting to hear a story about Fonzie or Happy Days," Polinsky said. "Scott Baio was a hero to me. Instead of telling us a story, Scott immediately threw me off him and began angrily calling me 'faggot' while Nicole laughed."
In Polinsky's telling, this was only one example of what he described as "a pattern of abuse that was unrelenting." Baio, he said, would allegedly use homophobic slurs frequently, describe gay sex acts to Polinsky specifically, and boast about "sexual conquests" to his co-stars.
"Another time, he laughed as he cut a hole in the canvas wall of my private dressing room on set and exposed his genitals to me," Polinsky said. There was also an incident when Baio dumped a cup of hot coffee in Polinsky's face.
Over time, the younger actor came to view Baio's behavior toward him as a form of "mental torture," retaliation for that early encounter with Baio and Eggert. He added that his experiences on the Charles in Charge set sent him into a depression.
Eggert joined Polinsky with a statement of her own in which she admitted to feeling guilty for not doing more to stand up for her young co-star at the time. Polinsky added that a number of adults on set knew what was happening but none of them spoke up, presumably, he believes, because they feared for their jobs.
Both Eggert and Polinsky have already filed reports with the Los Angeles Police Department. They revealed during the press conference that at least 10 on-set witnesses have also spoken with the LAPD about these allegations.
Polinsky's public appearance was preceded by a statement he gave to The Talk co-host Sarah Gilbert, who shared what he had to say about the "toxic environment" of the Charles in Charge set earlier in February.
"Growing up on the show, I received regular verbal attacks, mental abuse and I also suffered a physical assault at the hands of Scott Baio. There is no excuse for this behavior. It is abhorrent. Both Nicole and I were minors. We deserved safe passage to do our jobs and also be kids."
"If we want to change the culture, we have to bring out the truth, take back control from the abusers and make them listen to the pain of their victims."