NEW YORK/LONDON - New York police said Thursday they have opened an investigation into allegations of a 2004 sexual assault by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

An avalanche of claims of sexual harassment, assault and rape by the hugely influential Hollywood producer have surfaced since the publication last week of an explosive New York Times report alleging a history of abusive behavior dating back decades.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department confirmed to AFP it is investigating the 2004 case, but provided no details. New York state has no statute of limitations on most serious felonies, including rape.

The New York Daily News reported that the case involved aspiring actress Lucia Evans.

In 2015, the New York police opened an investigation into a complaint by Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who said Weinstein had sexually attacked her in a hotel room. Police had her make a secret recording, in which Weinstein could be heard repeatedly insisting that she come into his room, which she refused to do.

But prosecutor Cyrus Vance said there was insufficient proof to pursue charges.

The allegations against one of cinema’s titans - a man whose studio has garnered more than 300 Oscar nominations - have shaken Hollywood, which has long battled against a reputation for exploiting female actors, bypassing female directors and overlooking female-centered scripts.

Weinstein’s accusers include such bold-named actresses as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and actor/singer Ashley Judd.

Others actors as prominent as Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet said they had long heard rumors but never personally had problems with Weinstein.

Meanwhile, British police are investigating an allegation of sexual assault against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein dating back to the 1980s, the Press Association news agency said Thursday.

Police in Liverpool, northwest England, confirmed they had received an allegation this week concerning an assault in London, although their statement did not mention Weinstein’s name.

“We can confirm we received a report at 8.40 am (0740 GMT) on Wednesday of an alleged sexual assault in the London area in the 1980s,” Merseyside Police said.

“The report has been referred to the Metropolitan Police.”

The Metropolitan Police, which covers London, said the allegation “will be assessed by officers from Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command”, although a spokesman refused to give any further details.

The Press Association cited unnamed sources in linking the case to Weinstein, who has faced an avalanche of claims of sexual harassment, assault and rape in recent days.

The Hollywood producer has apologised for his behaviour and acknowledged having “caused a lot of pain,” but denied specific charges including rape.

 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 13-Oct-2017 here.