The man who went with Miley Cyrus to Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards has a warrant out for his arrest in Oregon, law enforcement officials confirmed Tuesday.
Cyrus met Jesse Helt last week at a homeless center in Hollywood, his mother — who lives in West Salem, Ore. — told the Statesman Journal.
The pop star stuck up for Helt via social media after news of the arrest warrant broke Tuesday.
"People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included," she said in a series of tweets. "I hope that this can be the start of a national conversation about youth homelessness and how to end it. Does looking down upon the homeless help people excuse their inaction?"
Cyrus also called out the media specifically: "The media never fails to disappoint. You've chosen to go after Jesse instead of covering the issue of youth homelessness."
Helt was arrested in October 2010 and served time for criminal mischief and criminal trespass, according to the Polk County, Ore., sheriff’s office. Court records say the then-18-year-old broke into the apartment of a man who sold what Helt thought was bad marijuana, the Associated Press reported.
Helt was arrested twice in 2011 for parole violations, the sheriff’s office said. And there’s a November 2011 warrant for another parole violation, county Community Corrections Director Martin Silbernagel told the Los Angeles Times. "He took off to California to sing, I guess, or model."
Helt is expected to visit his family in Oregon, and “we will attempt to serve the warrant," Silbernagel said. "He will go to jail when he is found," and a judge will then decide whether to keep Helt on probation or jail him for up to a year, Silbernagel said.
At the VMAs on Sunday, when Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" was named video of the year, she sent Helt up to collect the honor in her stead.
"I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I’m one of these people," he said at the Forum in Inglewood as Cyrus wiped tears from her face.
"I’ve survived in shelters all over the city. I've cleaned your hotel rooms. I've been an extra in your movies. I've been an extra in your life," Helt said. "Though I may have been invisible to you on the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight."
Rather than elaborating on those dreams, he invited the audience to visit Cyrus’ Facebook page for more information about the social issue. Cyrus is raising money for My Friend’s Place, a Hollywood center that says it "assists and inspires homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives."
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