It's good to know Mel Gibson's friends adhere to the same rigid code of conduct he does. Rod Bernsen, the former Los Angeles TV reporter and police officer who was arrested Saturday on charges of molesting young boys aboard a cruise ship, is a close and longstanding friend of the Braveheart star, according to an entertainment industry source. "Mel's going to shit," says the source, noting that Bernsen frequently accompanies Gibson on benders around Malibu—or at least used to, before Gibson entered rehab in August following his drunk-driving and Jew-baiting debacle.
Law enforcement officials have not yet commented on the reason for Bernsen's arrest, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that he stands accused of molesting two 12-year-old boys in the sauna of a cruise ship. His wife and child were with him on the cruise, according to the paper. Bernsen, who is a cousin of L.A. Law star Corbin Bernsen, has spent much of his life working in and around the law. After retiring from the LAPD in 1992, he enjoyed a second career as a traffic reporter and criminal justice expert for Fox affiliate KTTV, where he was best known for providing color commentary on high-speed chases.
How does Gibson, who practices a notoriously austere version of Catholicism, feel about his buddy's alleged taste for underage boys? Hard to say; his rep didn't reply to a request for comment. But it appears Gibson and Bernsen have known each other since at least 1987, when Bernsen served as a technical advisor on Lethal Weapon. According to public records, both reside in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills, where, says the source, they've often subjected neighbors to their alcohol-fueled hijinks. "They're just wild guys together," she says.