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BOYBAND SVENGALI IN THE CLEAR

The allegations against Lou Pearlman are unproved...

LOU PEARLMAN, the boyband hitmaker who launched the careers of Backstreet Boys and N Sync, has been cleared of allegations that he broke child labour laws.

It had been alleged by Merrily Goodhell, the mother of two members of Take 5, a failed boyband he attempted to put together several years ago, that Pearlman violated more than a dozen sections of Florida's statutes dealing with minors working in the entertainment industry. Last week, Kenneth W. Williams, an administrator in the Labour Department's Office of Compliance and Enforcement, wrote to Pearlman and said the allegations were unproved. "Therefore, we are terminating our investigation and closing our files on this case," he wrote.

"I'm happy to say that we are vindicated, as expected, from all allegations," Pearlman said.

The investigation was launched late last year when Goodell alleged that Pearlman violated rules prohibiting minors from working more than six consecutive days, from working no earlier than 7am and no later than 11:30pm, and requiring that parents be notified of their children's activities.

She accused Pearlman of violating the terms for receiving a state permit allowing minors to work in the entertainment industry. A permit can be denied if work conditions are "hazardous or detrimental to the health, morals or education" of the minors.

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