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Disney Sued by One-Time Mouseketeer : Courts: Woman says she, family members were held by Disneyland officers after being robbed in parking lot.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former performer on television’s original “Mickey Mouse Club” has sued the Walt Disney Co., alleging that she and her family were robbed in the Disneyland parking lot and then held for hours against their will as park security officers questioned them.

Billie Jean Matay, 52, her adult daughter and three grandchildren were returning to their car Aug. 17 when a man pointed a gun at her head as she sat in the driver’s seat, according to police reports.

The robber escaped on foot with about $1,650 in cash, credit cards and numerous identifications cards, according to the suit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

Matay, an Antelope Valley resident, alleges that security guards then held her “against her will.”

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The suit criticizes the Disneyland security force, whose size is reportedly around 380 officers, for its response time.

“At no time during this robbery did security officers from Disneyland arrive at the scene to assist Ms. Matay, Ms. [Denise] Bennette, and the children,” said the lawsuit.

Disneyland officials did not return phone calls about the lawsuit.

Matay was a member of the 24-member dance and entertainment troupe that performed at the opening of Disneyland in 1955 and then on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

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For two years, she was a member of one of two groups of Mouseketeers, the “blue group,” and performed in circus acts as part of the show.

Television viewers are more familiar with members of the “red group,” Mouseketeers such as Jimmy, Annette, Cubby, Darlene and Lonnie, who were introduced at the start of the show.

The suit also alleges that Matay’s three grandchildren, while being questioned backstage, suffered further “emotional distress” when they observed the park’s Disney cartoon characters disrobed and discovered that they “were, in fact, make-believe.”


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