Los Angeles police confirmed Thursday they are conducting a criminal investigation into a woman’s claim she was raped by film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment or assault.
“The Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division has interviewed a potential sexual assault victim involving Harvey Weinstein which allegedly occurred in 2013,” LAPD Officer Tony Im said. “The case is currently under investigation.”
Weinstein, 65, has been fired from The Weinstein Company, the production house he co-founded with his brother Bob, and on Tuesday he resigned from the company’s board of directors. He is believed to be in Arizona seeking therapy.
A publicist for Weinstein issued a statement last week denying that Weinstein committed any acts of sexual assault.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” Sallie Hofmeister said. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Police in New York and London said earlier they were investigating allegations of sexual assault involving Weinstein. The Los Angeles Times reported that the NYPD has two active sex crime investigations into Weinstein, while London authorities are investigating allegations made by three women.
The Los Angeles Police Department said previously it did not have any active investigations into Weinstein, but it encouraged any potential victims to come forward. According to The Times, that happened Thursday, when a 38-year- old Italian model-actress met with LAPD detectives.
The woman, represented by attorney David Ring, told The Times the alleged assault occurred at Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel, which is located in Los Angeles, where she was staying while attending the eighth annual Los Angeles Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest in February 2013.
She said she spoke briefly to Weinstein at the festival, but he later showed up “without warning” in the lobby of her hotel and called her, asking if he could come to her room. She instead agreed to meet him downstairs, but he showed up at her door a short time later.
“He … bullied his way into my hotel room, saying, `I’m not going to (have sex with you), I just want to talk,” the woman told The Times. “Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked.
He grabbed my by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do. He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me,” she said.
Weinstein left after about 45 minutes, and “acted like nothing happened,” the woman said.
“I barely knew this man,” she told The Times. “It was the most demeaning thing ever done to me by far. I sickens me still. … He made me feel like an object, like nothing with all his power.”
She said she told a priest, a friend and a nanny at the time, but was afraid to come forward to police. She said she decided to come forward Thursday at the urging of her children.
At the time of the attack, she was 34 years old and living with her three children in Italy, The Times reported.
The fallout against Weinstein began earlier this month with a New York Times article claiming Weinstein had reached financial settlements with eight women for alleged sexual harassment. Days later, the New Yorker ran an article detailing more allegations of harassment, along with three women accusing Weinstein of sexually assaulting them.
In the days since, more women have come forward to talk about about alleged harassing behavior by Weinstein.
The Oscar-winning film producer issued a statement after the New York Times article conceding that his behavior at times crossed a line.
“I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed,” Weinstein said. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
The Weinstein allegations have led to a national discussion about the widespread problem of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.
–City News Service
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