Essence Fest producer resigns after arrest

NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) - Essence Communications says that Stephen Rehage has stepped down as producer of the 2011 Essence Music Festival to focus on allegations against him.

Rehage is free on $10,000 bond after being booked Nov. 5 on one count of simple rape.

The statement from Essence refers only to his personal role in the nation's largest urban contemporary music festival.

Company spokeswoman Dana Baxter says she doesn't know anything else - including whether Rehage Entertainment Inc. will still produce Essence Fest.

On Saturday, Rehage Entertainment's home page featured the festival.

Defense attorney Pat Fanning has said Rehage is innocent - and that this is backed up by an exchange of text messages with his accuser three days after the alleged incident.

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