Goffredo di Crollalanza/FilmMagic
Simon Perry
January 16, 2009 11:20 AM

Boy George’s troubles with the law took a serious turn in a London courtroom Friday when a judge sentenced the ’80s pop idol to 15 months in jail for falsely imprisoning a male escort at his home in 2007.

Judge David Radford told the former Culture Club singer (whose real name is George O’Dowd) he was guilty of “gratuitous violence” for handcuffing and beating with a chain a 29-year-old Norwegian man he had met online and invited to his London apartment for a nude photo shoot, Britain’s Press Association reports.

The incident occurred after the Norwegian, Audun Carlsen, attempted to escape.

Supporters gasped, but O’Dowd, 47, is reported to have shown little emotion during his sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, London. He was jailed immediately.

The sentencing followed a trial last year, during which O’Dowd maintained he held the escort because he suspected the man of tampering with his computer. But a jury was not convinced and found the flamboyant singer guilty.

This is not the first time O’Dowd – whose ’80s hits with his band included “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” – has found himself in legal hot water.

In 2006, he performed court-ordered community service in New York City after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary at his Manhattan apartment, where police discovered cocaine.

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