We­in­stein in­quiries spread to Bri­tain

Taranaki Daily News - - World -

UNITED STATES/BRI­TAIN: Po­lice in the United States and Bri­tain have opened crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault against dis­graced Hol­ly­wood mogul Har­vey We­in­stein.

Me­dia re­ports say the New York Po­lice Depart­ment is look­ing into al­le­ga­tions of an in­ci­dent which took place in 2004. Mean­while, UK po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a com­plaint re­lat­ing to an in­ci­dent in the 1980s.

The NYPD said yes­ter­day it was ‘‘con­duct­ing a re­view to de­ter­mine if there are any ad­di­tional com­plaints re­lat­ing to the Har­vey We­in­stein mat­ter’’.

The re­view was based on ‘‘in­for­ma­tion ref­er­enced in pub­lished news re­ports’’, it added.

‘‘No filed com­plaints have been iden­ti­fied as of this time and as al­ways, the NYPD en­cour­ages any­one who may have in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to this mat­ter to call.’’

Mean­while, po­lice in the UK county of Mersey­side said a ‘‘re­port was re­ceived ... of an al­leged sex­ual as­sault in the Lon­don area in the 1980s. The re­port has been re­ferred to the Metropoli­tan Po­lice.’’

‘‘The Met have been passed an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault,’’ Scot­land Yard said. ‘‘The al­le­ga­tion will be as­sessed by of­fi­cers from Child Abuse and Sex­ual Of­fences Com­mand.’’

We­in­stein is un­der fire in the wake of a se­ries of dev­as­tat­ing al­le­ga­tions de­tail­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment as­sault stretch­ing back decades.

The re­port in The New Yorker in­cluded ac­counts from three women who claim they were forced into sex with We­in­stein, in­clud­ing Ital­ian ac­tress Asia Ar­gento, for­mer ac­tress Lu­cia Evans and a third, un­named, woman. Evans al­leged the studio chief forced her to per­form oral sex on him in 2004.

‘‘I tried to get away but maybe I didn’t try hard enough,’’ Evans said. ‘‘I didn’t want to kick him or fight him. He’s a big guy. He over­pow­ered me.’’

The New Yorker re­port fol­lowed another in The New York Times de­tail­ing a pat­tern of sex­ual mis­con­duct, in­clud­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment, by the mogul. A num­ber of high-pro­file ac­tresses – An­gelina Jolie, Gwyneth Pal­trow and others – have since come forward with sep­a­rate ac­counts of fall­ing prey to We­in­stein’s ha­rass­ment.

Man­hat­tan’s dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2015 af­ter model Am­bra Bat­ti­lana Gu­tier­rez said she was in­vited to meet We­in­stein at his of­fice but left when he ‘‘lunged at her, grop­ing her breasts’’.

She later re­ported the as­sault and, af­ter speak­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, met We­in­stein with a po­lice wire tap.

Man­hat­tan dis­trict at­tor­ney Cyrus Vance Jr de­cided at the time there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to lay charges, but that move has been crit­i­cised by the NYPD since news of it be­came pub­lic.

We­in­stein has been sacked by the com­pany which bears his name, and his wife con­firmed the cou­ple have sep­a­rated. He has also been sus­pended from the British film in­dus­try body Bafta.

We­in­stein has de­nied al­le­ga­tions of non-con­sen­sual sex.

‘‘Any al­le­ga­tions of non­con­sen­sual sex are un­equiv­o­cally de­nied by Mr We­in­stein [and] there were never any acts of re­tal­i­a­tion against any women for re­fus­ing his ad­vances,’’ a state­ment re­leased on his be­half said.

‘‘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.’’ – Fair­fax

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Amer­i­can film pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein, ac­cused of years of abuse of women, now faces po­lice probes in two coun­tries into his ac­tions.

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