Errol Flynn Rape Trial Confidential

Published on: June 20, 2014
Photography by: Bettman/Corbis
Errol Flynn Rape Trial Confidential
Errol Flynn Rape Trial Confidential
Errol Flynn Rape Trial Confidential

Hollywood swashbuckler ERROL FLYNN didn't have to pay for his women - they threw themselves at the Tasmanian devil.  So much so, he was accused of rape in a sensational trial that nearly wrecked his career. 

Flynn rocketed to stardom as the titular Captain Blood for Warners in 1935 and charmed his way through the Technicolor opus The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938,  Flynn  was not only a unrepentant boozer but a ladies man.

"I like my whiskey old and my women young," Flynn claimed.

But Errol's Wicked Wicked Ways nearly proved to be his undoing when accused of two counts of statutory rape in November, 1942.

Peggy Satterlee told authorities that the rape happened on board The Sirocco, Flynn's yacht,  during a trip to Catalina Island.  She said he had nicknamed her "J.B." for "jail bait".

Betty Hansen, 17, swore to prosecutors that Flynn had called "S.Q.Q." for "San Quentin quail".

After drinking way too much at Hollywood soiree, Hansen was puking her brains out when Flynn helped her clean up and then reportedly had helped himself  to her questionable virtue in September 1942.

According to Hollywood Babylon by  Kenneth Anger  the statutory rape charges were trumped up by L.A. politicos as a warning to the studio heads, who "were not…coming across with juicy enough kickbacks."

Legal top gun Jerry Geisler was hired by Warner Brothers to defend Flynn.

An innovator in legal muck raking and using a team of detectives, Geisler dredged up all the dirt he could discover in the girls' past (previous lovers, abortions and extramarital cheating).

Geisler loaded the jury with nine women who swooned at Errol the matinee idol's charismatic testimony.

Before the stunned courtroom, the jurors filed in one by one to rend judgment on The Sea Hawk.

"Not guilty" was reached on both counts as the head juror stated, "We couldn't believe the girls' stories."

Meanwhile, Flynn had spent court recesses flirting with Nora Eddington, 18, who worked at a snack bar within the municipal building.  Ironically, Nora's dad was Captain Jack Eddington of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

After getting her pregnant and fearing further scandal, Flynn married Nora in August, 1943. She was age 19 to his 34.

Flynn's fame was unaffected by the trial and in fact his popularity skyrocketed among movie goers, starring in hit after hit, giving rise to the national catchphrase; "In like Flynn".

Sadly, it was the booze  - not the babes -  that finally felled Errol. With his career and dashing good looks ruined by the bottle, he dropped dead in 1959 at age 50.