Settle out of court? Ex-model says no, filing sexual-abuse lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein

Ms Kaja Sokola said Harvey Weinstein forced her to touch his genitals. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (WP) - When Ms Kaja Sokola moved to New York in 2002, she was a 16-year-old model who dreamed of becoming an actress. Within weeks of arriving, she met Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at an event affiliated with her modelling agency.

Weinstein - then running Miramax movie studio - showed interest in helping to make her film ambitions materialise and invited her to lunch.

But when he picked her up several days later, Ms Sokola said the driver took them to Weinstein's apartment. There, he said that if she wanted to be an actress, she would have to become comfortable "doing whatever the director told her to do".

According to her lawsuit filed on Thursday (Dec 19), she claimed that he told her to undress and then forced her to touch his genitals.

The civil complaint, filed in New York under the state's recently passed Child Victims Act, accuses Weinstein, then 50, of sexual assault.

The new legislation, passed in August, opens a year-long window for survivors of child sexual abuse to file claims against their alleged abusers. New York's statute of limitations previously barred victims from suing after they turned 23. Ms Sokola is now 33.

Since 2017, when the New Yorker and New York Times published the first accounts alleging sexual abuse by Weinstein, he has been accused of misconduct by dozens of women.

He is facing criminal sex crime charges in Manhattan, with his trial scheduled to begin on Jan 6.

Last week, the New York Times reported that Weinstein reached a tentative settlement which will compensate accusers who choose to participate.

Some, including Ms Sokola, have opted not to participate in the settlement.

"I cannot accept the proposed 'global settlement' as fair or just. There is no accountability for the perpetrators, insufficient compensation for all the victims, " Ms Sokola, now a clinical psychologist based in Poland, said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.