Probes into mogul’s behaviour widen
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.
Angelina Jolie is one of about 30 women claiming to have been sexually harassed or assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.