Harvey Weinstein might finally face criminal charges after an Italian model and actress accused him of raping her in February 2013 in interviews with the Los Angeles Times and LAPD detectives. The woman even showed him photos of her children to try to deter him, she said.
Weinstein has been publicly accused of sexual assault and harassment by numerous women this month following exposés in The New York Times and the The New Yorker alleging decades of abuse by the producer. But the Los Angeles Times accusations are the first reported rape falling within the statute of limitations.
The unnamed woman said she saw Weinstein at the eighth annual Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest in Los Angeles four years ago. Weinstein showed up at her hotel and invited himself up to her room, the woman said. She rebuffed his advances but he allegedly showed up at her door anyway.
Weinstein got in and promised he wouldn’t “have sex” with her.
“Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked,” the woman told the Los Angeles Times. “He grabbed me by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do. He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me.”
The LAPD confirmed that it is investigating the allegations.
The relatively recent date and the fact that the acts described involved penetration may help this case see a day in court, Marc Fliedner, a former sex crimes prosecutor and write-in candidate for Manhattan district attorney, told The Daily Beast.
Prosecutors will likely consider the fact that the woman says she confided in three individuals around the time of the assault, as well as the emerging pattern of Weinstein’s alleged abuse, Fliedner said.
“A woman’s failure to promptly report, even to those close to her, should not be dispositive of whether a case should go forward,” he added.
Fliedner has been vocally critical of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s decision not to pursue charges against Weinstein in a case where a woman cooperated with police to record Weinstein’s admission to groping her.
Other women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault since The New York Times reported allegations of harassment, including three who told The New Yorker that he raped them. But some of the allegations were decades old—far outside the statute of limitations.
Weinstein was ousted from the Weinstein Company amid the revelations, and issued an apology without actually naming what he was apologizing for.
L.A. attorney David Ring, a partner at Los Angeles law firm Taylor Ring who represents the 38-year-old new accuser, told The Daily Beast in a statement that “my client is grateful to all the courageous women who have already come forward to finally expose Weinstein. These women may not have realized it, but they gave my client the support and encouragement to hold Weinstein accountable for this horrible act.”
Ring stated that he will share more information about the case at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles on Friday afternoon.
“He acted like nothing happened,” the woman told the Los Angeles Times. “I barely knew this man. It was the most demeaning thing ever done to me by far. It sickens me still… He made me feel like an object, like nothing with all his power.”
California eliminated its statute of limitations on sexual assault last year, in the wake of numerous allegations against comedian Bill Cosby. There is no time limit for pursuing charges against crimes that took place after Jan. 1, 2017.
Anything that occurred prior to that date is still subject to a 10-year statute of limitations, because the removal is not retroactive.
But the accusations reported Thursday took place just four years ago.
Images from the event in February 2013 show Weinstein with director Quentin Tarantino, who spoke out earlier on Thursday about not doing enough about Weinstein’s behavior. Tarantino admitted that he was aware of multiple instances of Weinstein’s misconduct.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he told The New York Times. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”