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Apparently, they didn't really want to hurt him.

Boy George cut a deal with New York City prosecutors to avoid jail time for a cocaine bust last fall.

The 44-year-old "Karma Chameleon" singer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser charge of falsely reporting a burglary during a brief appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court. He got off with five days of community service and a $1,000 fine, and was ordered to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program.

As part of the plea agreement, the Manhattan District Attorney dropped the more serious drug-possession charges, which could have landed the former Culture Club crooner up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Judge Anthony Ferrara said the entertainer, whose real name is Gorge O'Dowd, to undergo his rehab at a clinic in his native England.

"I am relieved and happy that this case has been disposed of, and would like to thank the judge, the district attorney and my attorney, Lou Freeman, for the fair and speedy way it was dealt with," the singer said in a statement issued through his manager. "I love New York, and am looking forward to coming back and working in the States later this year."

Boy George was taken into custody Oct. 7 after police--responding to his 911 call reporting an early-morning burglary at his Little Italy apartment--found 13 plastic bags of cocaine near his computer.

George maintained his innocence, claiming he had no idea how the drugs came to be in his home. Speaking to reporters last month, Freeman vowed to fight the charges, claiming George's active social life was the real culprit. The singer entertains "a lot of people in his house" and, Freeman surmised, one of them may have left the drugs behind.

The typically over-the-top George toned it down for his court appearance, wearing a black suit and eschewing the heavy make-up. He appeared to be remorseful before the judge, who cautioned George about screwing up.

"Don't get rearrested," Ferrara warned, adding that if George misbehaves, he could wind up behind bars for a year for probation violation.

The judge set a June 9 court date, at which time George must provide proof of his rehab treatment. His manager, Jeremy Pearce, told the Associated Press that the musician-deejay-record producer was looking into the possibility of fulfilling his community service obligation by performing a concert benefiting AIDS research.

Boy George left the court without speaking to reporters, though he did take time out to thank fans who turned up to support him.

The singer's battles with drugs are well documented.

In 1986, George was convicted in Great Britain of heroin possession stemming from an incident in which two friends overdosed. He did a stint in rehab, but the fallout led to the breakup of Culture Club, the radio-friendly '80s band that sold more than 20 million albums worldwide on the strength of hits like "Karma Chameleon," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" and "Do You Really Want to Hurt me?"

He's had mixed success at a comeback. Although he is a sought-after deejay and producer, his Broadway musical Taboo, which pal Rosie O'Donnell financed to the tune of $10 million, closed in January 2004 after just 16 previews and 100 performances.