Police probe on both sides of the Atlantic
Amid new wave of claims, woman says movie boss assaulted her in London in 1980s
POLICE in Britain are investigating Harvey Weinstein over an alleged sexual assault in the UK in the 1980s, Scotland Yard revealed yesterday.
The alleged victim, who has not been identified, told officers this week that she had been abused by the Hollywood mogul in London.
It comes after police in New York said they were investigating the producer branded a ‘super predator’ by one official.
The disclosures raised the likelihood of Weinstein facing justice for sexual assaults and rapes he is alleged to have carried out on young actresses.
US officers want to speak Lucia Evans – one of at least 33 women to make accusations against Weinstein – over claims he raped her at a Manhattan casting meeting in 2004, when she was an aspiring actress.
The 65-year-old could also be hit with civil lawsuits against both himself and production firm The Weinstein Company, which fired him this week.
Of the dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of inappropriate behaviour, at least three say they were raped or sexually assaulted.
Scotland Yard confirmed it would assess an allegation of sexual abuse passed to it by Merseyside Police, where the accuser now lives.
Lieutenant John Grimpel, of the New York Police Department, said the US force was ‘conducting a review to deterasking mine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter’.
A New York police official said: ‘He’s a super predator. His conduct shows he’s been at this a long time, and he’s a professional at it.
‘He’s been at this so long, there’s no way there are not other victims out there.
‘Imagine how many promises he’s made to these young women who were trying to make it into the industry.’
Ms Evans said she told Weinstein ‘over and over’ she did not want to perform oral sex on him and he ‘overpowered’ her.
She told The New Yorker: ‘He’s a big guy. I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: People give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.’
Taking Weinstein to court will present a challenge as some of his alleged behaviour, such as women to watch him shower, may not meet the standard for a criminal prosecution. In 2014 Weinstein allegedly coerced temporary employee Emily Nestor to give him a massage, leaving her ‘crying and very distraught’. Other allegations date from so long ago that they may not be within the statute of limitations.
Angela Reddock-Wright, of Los Angeles law group Reddock, said prosecutors’ actions could depend on whether they wanted to make Weinstein a ‘poster child’ for these kinds of crimes. She said that, were he to be prosecuted for a lower level charge, it was likely ‘he would plead to some type of action that would possibly keep him out of jail’.
Weinstein has hired high-profile lawyers whose clients have included Mel Gibson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Criminal lawyer Stuart Slotnick said there was ‘no question’ Weinstein would face civil lawsuits. The producer was investigated by the NYPD in 2015 for groping actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, but prosecutors decided against bringing the case to court. They said there were questions over Ms Gutierrez’s credibility, even though she recorded Weinstein admitting groping her.
Manhattan district attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo said that if they could have prosecuted Weinstein they would have, adding: ‘Mr Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience.’
A Weinstein spokesman has previously said the producer ‘unequivocally denied’ forcing himself on anyone.
‘He’s been at this so long’
Crass: Harvey Weinstein and, inset, talking to photographers