NYC po­lice tak­ing fresh look at We­in­stein sex as­sault claims

Texarkana Gazette - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Colleen Long

NEW YORK—Po­lice de­tec­tives are tak­ing a fresh look into sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against Hol­ly­wood film pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein.

New York Po­lice De­part­ment spokesman Peter Don­ald said Thurs­day that in­ves­ti­ga­tors are 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.

More than a dozen women—in­clud­ing ac­tresses An­gelina Jolie, Ash­ley Judd and Gwyneth Pal­trow—told The New York Times and The New Yorker mag­a­zine for re­cent sto­ries 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 who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In The New Yorker ex­pose, a for­mer ac­tress, 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, ac­tress 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. He said Wed­nes­day in Los An­ge­les that he’s hop­ing for a sec­ond chance and needs to “get help.”

New York de­tec­tives al­ready in­ves­ti­gated We­in­stein once, 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, where he tried to per­suade her to come into his ho­tel room.

“Why yes­ter­day you touch my breast?” the 22-year-old asked on the record­ing pub­lished by The New Yorker.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m used to that. Come on. Please,” We­in­stein re­sponded.

But Man­hat­tan Dis­trict At­tor­ney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there wasn’t 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.

“I, like they, were very dis­turbed by the con­tents of the tape. It’s ob­vi­ously sick­en­ing,” Vance said. “But at the end of the day we op­er­ate in a court­room of law, not the court of pub­lic opin­ion. And our sex crime pros­e­cu­tors made a de­ter­mi­na­tion that this was not go­ing to be a prov­able case, and so the de­ci­sion was made not to go for­ward.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein, left, and his wife, fash­ion de­signer Ge­orgina Chap­man. Chap­man, who mar­ried We­in­stein in 2007, told Peo­ple mag­a­zine in a state­ment re­leased Tues­day that she is leav­ing We­in­stein.

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