One of the rape accusations detailed in the New Yorker's exposé about powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior will be investigated by the NYPD. Both the NY Post and Daily News report that the criminal complaint was filed late last week.
Lucia Evans told the New Yorker she went to Weinstein's Tribeca office building for a meeting with a casting executive in 2004. Evans, a college student and aspiring actress at the time, had declined Weinstein's attempts for a private meeting and felt "safe" that her appointment was with a female employee. But she was shown to an office where there was only Weinstein:
In the meeting, Evans recalled, “he immediately was simultaneously flattering me and demeaning me and making me feel bad about myself.” Weinstein told her that she’d “be great in ‘Project Runway’ ”—the show, which Weinstein helped produce, premièred later that year—but only if she lost weight. He also told her about two scripts, a horror movie and a teen love story, and said one of his associates would discuss them with her.
“At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,” Evans said. “He forced me to perform oral sex on him.” As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’ ” she recalled. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.” In the end, she said, “he’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” She added, “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.”
, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce publicly addressed the allegation, telling reporters, "We reached out to [Evans], and we’ll see where that case goes. The statute of limitations does not expire. That’s first-degree criminal sex act; it never expires. Not to do that would be not doing my job. So we are going to speak to her."
The Post has more details on the law, "The incident allegedly occurred in 2004, when New York had a five-year statute of limitations on felony sex crimes. But the alleged attack is covered by a 2006 law that removed that restriction and allowed charges to be brought at any time, law-enforcement officials have said."
Articles from the New Yorker and NY Times have raised questions about a 2015 sexual assault investigation into Weinstein was handled. An Italian model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, told police that he groped her during a meeting but Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance's office declined to press charges. The Times revealed earlier this month that Gutierrez received a settlement from Weinstein and the New Yorker published audio from the NYPD sting operation where Weinstein admitted to grabbing Gutierrez's breast.
A woman holds a poster at a press conference criticizing the Manhattan District Attorney (Scott Heins / Gothamist)
The Manhattan D.A.'s office has since claimed that the NYPD didn't consult with them about the wire Battilana was wearing. But a senior police official told the Times, "We brought them a very good case. He admitted, twice, doing it. That’s probable cause to make an arrest."
The Times also detailed how Weinstein acted to stop the growing scandal, "quickly retain[ing] Elkan Abramowitz, a former law partner of Mr. Vance, as well as Daniel S. Connolly, another former prosecutor turned white-collar defense lawyer."
Linda Fairstein, a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor who had once written an article in Vanity Fair about her dream of doing a movie deal with Mr. Weinstein, agreed to consult. She was a close friend of Martha Bashford, head of the district attorney’s sex crimes bureau, and facilitated an introduction for Mr. Abramowitz. It was, she said, the type of thing she does for fellow lawyers.
“Calling Ms. Bashford to tell her who Elkan was and to ask her to consider meeting with him is the kind of thing I do four to six times every year,” said Ms. Fairstein, who said she had determined Ms. Battilana’s complaint was unfounded.
Ms. Bashford declined a request for an interview.
Weinstein's team allegedly also fed gossip about Gutierrez to the tabloids in order to smear her reputation, noting how she was invited to disgraced Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties.
Critics have said Vance's office could certainly have prosecuted the case—and accused him of sending "bad signals" to the public and sexual assault victims alike. Ever since the Times and New Yorker's revelations, the Manhattan D.A.'s office is urging anyone else who feels they might be a victim of Weinstein in Manhattan to call the Sex Crimes Hotline at (212) 335-9373.
In a recent interview, Gutierrez told La Republicca, "They (the press) said horrible things about me. I don’t allow myself to be touched easily, and not just because of morals. My father used to beat me and my mother. When a man stretches his arms out to me, I retreat instinctively, even if it is someone I’m in love with."
She added, "For months I didn’t work. Even restaurants in Soho (in New York) where the fashion world hang out closed their doors to me. I was unwelcome. It is right that women are denouncing him, even after all this time. I’m nauseated by how many there are. What happened to me really put my view of the world to the test. I hope that this whole business will bring me justice. Nobody will be able to say ever again that I invent things."