Harvey Weinstein accused of sexually assaulting teen model in new lawsuit

Los Angeles, Dec 20 (PTI) Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, whose downfall started the global #MeToo movement, has been accused of sexually assaulting a former model when she was 16 years old.

A new lawsuit against the disgraced producer, who is trying to settle multiple claims of sexual abuse in a USD 25 million deal, claims that Weinstein assaulted Kaja Sokola, who came to the US from Poland to work as a model in 2002, the Hollywood Reporter said.

Sokola said she was introduced to the producer at an event related to her agency. Weinstein asked her to lunch, saying he will help her in acting.

She agreed for the lunch but alleges his driver brought them to Weinstein's apartment instead. There, she claims 'he terrified and sexually abused her.' Sokola claims that prior to the assault, Weinstein told her to succeed as an actress 'she would have to be comfortable doing whatever the director told her to do — including losing her inhibitions and getting naked' and afterward insisted 'what had just happened was normal.' In a joint statement, Sokola's attorneys, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, said they were not going to settle unlike others.

'...we hope that the filing of this complaint encourages other victims and the New York Attorney General to join us as we continue our efforts at holding Harvey Weinstein and his enablers accountable,' they said.

They are bringing a battery suit for the alleged 2002 assault under New York's recently enacted Child Victims Act, which extends the amount of time a victim has to bring a claim (until their 55th birthday, in some cases).

Sokola, now 33, is also suing Bob Weinstein, Miramax and Disney for negligence for their alleged roles in enabling Harvey Weinstein.

Representatives for Weinstein are yet to comment on the new lawsuit.

Sokola had initially come forward with her claims as a Jane Doe in 2018. Weinstein's the then lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, had called the claims 'preposterous' and 'completely uncorroborated'.

More than 100 women, including prominent Hollywood celebrities such as Gywneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman and Asia Argento, had publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct and in some cases of rape with allegations dating back to decades.

The expose against Weinstein by the New York Times and then New Yorker in October 2017 brought the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements, which ignited a global movement against sexual harassment of women in workplaces. PTI BK BK BK