Probes into mogul’s be­hav­iour widen

Times Colonist - - Life - COLLEEN LONG

NEW YORK — De­tec­tives in New York City and Lon­don are tak­ing a fresh look into sex­ual-as­sault al­le­ga­tions against film pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein.

New York Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman Peter Don­ald said Thurs­day in­ves­ti­ga­tors were try­ing to de­ter­mine whether there were any ad­di­tional com­plaints in­volv­ing We­in­stein, now em­broiled in a sex-abuse scan­dal. That in­cludes re­view­ing po­lice files to see if any women pre­vi­ously re­ported be­ing as­saulted or ha­rassed by him.

So far, no filed com­plaints have been found, he said, other than one well-known case that prompted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2015, but au­thor­i­ties are en­cour­ag­ing any­one with in­for­ma­tion on We­in­stein to con­tact the depart­ment.

Also Thurs­day, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported that Lon­don po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault in­volv­ing We­in­stein. Lon­don’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice said it had re­ceived an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault from the Mersey­side force in north­west Eng­land.

Mersey­side po­lice said the al­le­ga­tion was made Wed­nes­day and con­cerns “an al­leged sex­ual as­sault in the Lon­don area in the 1980s.”

About 30 women — in­clud­ing film stars An­gelina Jolie, Ash­ley Judd and Gwyneth Pal­trow — told the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine that We­in­stein had sex­u­ally ha­rassed or sex­u­ally as­saulted them. We­in­stein was fired Sun­day by The We­in­stein Co., a stu­dio he co-founded with his brother.

De­tec­tives in the NYPD’s spe­cial vic­tims unit were in­structed to iden­tify and speak with any po­ten­tial vic­tims, in­clud­ing the women who spoke about their en­coun­ters with We­in­stein in a re­cent New Yorker ar­ti­cle, ac­cord­ing to a law-en­force­ment of­fi­cial briefed on the mat­ter.

In the New Yorker ex­posé, for­mer ac­tor Lu­cia Evans said We­in­stein forced her to per­form oral sex in 2004 when she was a col­lege stu­dent. At least one other un­named wo­man said she was raped by We­in­stein, but the ar­ti­cle did not dis­close when or where it hap­pened. A third wo­man, ac­tor Asia Ar­gento, told the magazine that We­in­stein forcibly per­formed oral sex on her in 1997 at a ho­tel in France.

Un­der New York law, mak­ing some­one en­gage in oral sex by phys­i­cal force or the threat of it is a first-de­gree crim­i­nal sex­ual act. There’s no le­gal time limit for bring­ing charges.

We­in­stein, through a spokes­woman, has de­nied any non­con­sen­sual sex­ual con­duct with any women.

On Wed­nes­day, the film mogul told pho­tog­ra­phers in Los An­ge­les he’s “not do­ing OK,” but he’s hop­ing for a “sec­ond chance,” ac­cord­ing to video posted by celebrity web­site TMZ. He also told the pho­tog­ra­phers he needed to “get help” and “we all make mis­takes.”

New York de­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gated We­in­stein in 2015, when an Ital­ian model said the stu­dio ex­ec­u­tive grabbed her breasts and groped her. De­tec­tives set up a sting where they recorded a con­ver­sa­tion between the wo­man and We­in­stein while he tried to per­suade her to en­ter his ho­tel room.

Man­hat­tan District At­tor­ney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there was not enough ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute the case. Vance said his of­fice’s “best lawyers” ex­am­ined the ev­i­dence be­fore de­cid­ing, less than two weeks af­ter the wo­man first made her al­le­ga­tions, to drop the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

AP

An­gelina Jolie is one of about 30 women claim­ing to have been sex­u­ally ha­rassed or as­saulted by Har­vey We­in­stein.

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