'Modern Family' actress and boyfriend had unlawful sex, mom charges
Authorities are investigating an allegation by the mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter that her daughter's 18-year-old boyfriend had unlawful sex with the 14-year-old actress, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The L.A. County Sheriff''s Department's Special Victims Unit also is separately examining whether Winter's mother, Chrisoula Workman, physically abused the teenage actress.
So far, detectives have not gathered any specific evidence to substantiate the allegations in either investigation involving Ariel, otherwise known to millions as Alex Dunphy, the brainy member of "Modern Family's" Dunphy family.
The investigations began last month after a judge awarded temporary guardianship of Ariel, whose real name is Ariel Workman, to her adult sister, Shanelle Gray, also an actress. Ariel, through her sister's attorney, alleged in a court filing that she was subject to ongoing physical and mental abuse by her mother.
Three days after Ariel took legal action to split from her mother, Chrisoula Workman reported on Oct. 6 to the sheriff's Crescenta Valley station that her daughter's 18-year-old boyfriend had unlawful sex with the underage actress.
The young man was described as the teenage actress' boyfriend of several months, according to the sources. According to sources, both the teenagers have denied doing anything unlawful.
Detectives also have been unable to substantiate Ariel's abuse allegations, but the investigation remains ongoing.
"It's all untrue, it's all untrue," Chrisoula Workman told People magazine. "I have my doctor's letter that my daughter's never been abused. ... I have stylists' letters that she's never been abused."
She added in an interview with E!: "I would never abuse her in any way, and I have always tried my best to always protect her and do what is right for her. My daughter is in a business that requires you to grow up fast. It's hard enough being a teenage girl, but it's even harder when you are in the public eye. However, because you are in the public eye, it doesn't mean you are no longer in need of good parenting."
A judge last month ordered the actress' mother to stay away from Ariel and have no contact with the minor, pending a Nov. 20 hearing on the guardianship and control of at least $500,000 in assets.
"Minor Ariel Workman has been a victim of on-going physical abuse (slapping, hitting, pushing) and emotional abuse (vile name-calling, personal insults about minor and minor's weight, attempts to sexualize minor, deprivation of food etc.) for an extended period of time by the minor’s mother, Chrisoula Workman. ...," her attorneys said in a petition for guardianship.
As is standard practice in such cases, an attorney is representing the interests of the young actress. To protect her earnings and existing assets, lawyers are seeking to move her money to accounts off-limits to her mother.
-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Actress Ariel Winter in September. Credit: Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press