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Billy Currington Pleads No Contest, Sentenced on Elderly Abuse Charge

(Taste of Country) – Billy Currington plead no contest to one charge stemming from an April incident with a tour boat captain near his home in Tybee Island, Ga. Friday’s (Sept. 27) court hearing brings an end to a five-month investigation and court battle over who said what on April 15.

The singer was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine after pleading no contest to the abuse of an elderly person charge. According to the Associated Press, he will also have to undergo anger management counseling, and he can have no contact with Charles Harvey Ferrelle, the 70-year-old captain of the boat.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge against him for making terroristic threats Currington was joined by his lawyer in the Savannah, Ga. courtroom Friday. At one point, the lawyer told the court that the ‘Hey Girl’ singer was extremely embarrassed by what happened, to which Judge Penny Haas Freesman responded, “He should be.”

Previously, Ferrelle said he often passes Currington’s waterfront home while giving tours, but he abides the law that requires boats to stay 100 feet away from private docks while slowing to idle speed. On the return trip that Spring day, Currington began to chase him in his boat and threatened to harm him, using colorful language. The singer denied the threats, telling police he just asked the captain to “Please back the (expletive) off, man,” (quote via theTennessean).

Later, Currington indicated that people like Ferrelle were trying to make a living off of his celebrity status, but Ferrelle and his passengers said they had no idea who Currington was. A subsequent investigation found no reason to believe anyone was breaking any laws near the singer’s home.

This isn’t the first time Currington has gotten professional help for anger problems. In 2007, he sought treatment to deal with issues stemming from years of abuse from his stepfather.

“Even today, I call myself 98 percent laid back, but 2 percent is Little Billy — my inner child that’s hurt, sad and furious because he was never taken care of,” he told People (quote via the Boot).

Currington is one of just four country artists set to play the first-ever Tropical Nights event in Mexico in early 2014. More info here.

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Melissa Lambrecht