Steven Seagal will not face sexual assault charges

LOS ANGELES • Los Angeles prosecutors said last Friday that they were declining to bring a criminal case against actor Steven Seagal stemming from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a minor in 2002, citing California's statute of limitations.

The decision marked the second time this year that the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has decided against charging him with a crime in connection with an accusation of sexual assault from more than a decade ago.

In the most recent case, a woman whose name has not been released by prosecutors reported to Los Angeles police that the actor sexually assaulted her in 2002 when she was a minor, the District Attorney's Office said in a document released last Friday. Prosecutors said the investigation found insufficient corroborating evidence for a sexual assault allegation dating back that far in time.

"Therefore, the case is declined due to the expiration of the statute of limitations," it said.

Prosecutors did not give details about the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault.

Seagal, 66, the star of 1990s action movies such as Hard To Kill (1990) and Under Siege (1992), was made a Russian citizen by President Vladimir Putin in 2016. He was named by Moscow this year as a special representative for Russian-United States humanitarian ties.

A representative for the actor could not be reached for comment.

Ms Lisa Bloom, an attorney for the accuser, said in a statement last Friday that her client was 17 at the time of the alleged encounter.

Ms Bloom faulted a statute of limitations requirement that she said "seems to presume that victims are lying, creating an unfairly high evidentiary standard not required in other criminal cases".

In an earlier unrelated case, Los Angeles prosecutors declined in September to charge Seagal in connection with an accusation of sexual assault dating to 1993, citing the statute of limitations in that investigation as well.

With the closing of the latest investigation, Los Angeles prosecutors are no longer reviewing any case involving the actor, District Attorney's Office spokesman Greg Risling said in an e-mail.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2018, with the headline 'Steven Seagal will not face sexual assault charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe