Lawsuit makes new rape allegation against Harvey Weinstein
NEW YORK — Harvey Weinstein was facing a new rape allegation on Friday as part of a lawsuit alleging that he had help covering up his misconduct with women.
The lawsuit was filed in New York by three women, including one who says Weinstein assaulted her at a Manhattan hotel in 2011.
Melissa Thompson says that when she was meeting with Weinstein to pitch internet technology, he cornered her and “out-muscled” her as she tried to fight him off. She alleges he then held her down and raped her.
She did not report it to law enforcement authorities because she feared for her safety and career, the lawsuit said.
“She knew that Weinstein could and would destroy her if she complained about his sexual misconduct,” the lawsuit said.
Besides Thompson, two other women made new claims in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status to represent hundreds of other women it says were victimized by Weinstein and what it described as his enablers.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as retribution for class members’ loss of work opportunities and “devastating damage” to their careers. It alleges racketeering, witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A lawyer for Weinstein did not immediately respond to a request to comment. Weinstein has denied sexually assaulting anyone.
The lawsuit was filed a week after Weinstein was arrested on New York state rape and criminal sex act charges. Weinstein was released on $1 million bail and is required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
“Harvey Weinstein may have been put in handcuffs for his assault on two women, but we are working to see a day of justice for the hundreds of women who were exploited for Weinstein’s sexual gratification and silenced by this ring of conspirators,” said Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney who worked on Friday’s lawsuit.
In a release, Thompson said she was referred to Ben Brafman’s law firm after allegations from dozens of women made headlines last fall. Brafman, who represents Weinstein in his criminal case, said in a statement Friday that his firm has never represented Thompson and he has never met her or the other women identified in the new lawsuit.
Caitlin Dulany, a second plaintiff, was sexually assaulted, battered, threatened and falsely imprisoned in Weinstein’s hotel suite during the Cannes Film Festival in 1996, the lawsuit said.
Larissa Gomes, the third plaintiff, went to discuss work opportunities in film but ended up imprisoned in Weinstein’s hotel room, threatened, battered and assaulted, the lawsuit said.
Through her law firm, Thompson said she was comfortable with being named publicly. Dulany and Gomes have previously spoken publicly. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly.