Why Was Frank Sinatra Arrested?

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In 1938, the singer Frank Sinatra was arrested twice for what the New York Times describes as “sex crimes.” First, in late November, he was arrested on charges of seduction, and second, in late December, he was arrested on charges of adultery. Both of these charges were later dismissed.

The initial charge of seduction was likely the result of a girlfriend getting into a fight with Sinatra’s then-fiancee, Nancy, and pressing charges. The woman who brought the initial seduction charges alleged that Sinatra had seduced her under promise of marriage, and the adultery charge was a less severe amendment to the original seduction charge.

Neither Sinatra nor his girlfriend were married at the time the crime allegedly occurred, so the crime of adultery is not an accurate description of what actually happened. At the time, Sinatra was 23 years old, and there is a famous mugshot photo associated with the November arrest. Sinatra’s fiancee at the time, Nancy, apparently didn’t know, didn’t believe or didn’t care about these allegations and charges. She ended up marrying Sinatra the following year; Nancy is the mother of all three of Sinatra’s children, and the two stayed married until 1951. Sinatra married three more times after their divorce.