Three women sue Weinstein in new sexual assault suit

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein faced new sexual assault charges on Monday in New York, the third criminal sex assault case brought against him.

NEW YORK • Harvey Weinstein's legal problems have multiplied after three women filed a lawsuit in a US federal court accusing him of using his power as a movie producer to lure them into hotel rooms where he sexually assaulted them.

One of the women, Ms Melissa Thompson, accused Weinstein of raping her in a room at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in September 2011 as she was trying to demonstrate an online marketing tool.

Last week, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Weinstein, 66, on charges that he forced an aspiring actress to perform oral sex on him at his office in 2004 and that he raped a woman at a hotel in 2013. His lawyer Benjamin Brafman maintains the encounters with both women were consensual.

In the new lawsuit, filed on Friday in the US District Court in Manhattan, Ms Thompson said Weinstein touched her inappropriately as she was trying to show a product at his office. She moved away from him, but continued her sales pitch.

Weinstein then asked her to meet him for a drink at a hotel to continue the conversation. He led her to a room where, she said, he forced her onto a bed and raped her.

The other plaintiffs in the class-action suit are actresses Caitlin Dulany and Larissa Gomes.

Ms Dulany accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in a room at a hotel in France in 1996.

Ms Gomes said Weinstein invited her to his room at a hotel in Toronto in 2000, ostensibly to talk about parts for her, then groped her breasts and propositioned her, saying other actresses "had no problem" having sex with him. She fled.

Their allegations follow a now-familiar script. More than 80 women have come forward in the last seven months to accuse Weinstein of sexually harassing or assaulting them.

Once one of Hollywood's most successful producers, Weinstein has been turned by these accusations into a symbol of sexual harassment and the catalyst for the #MeToo movement.

The federal lawsuit claims Weinstein and others at the film company Miramax, and later The Weinstein Co, ran what amounted to a criminal organisation - as defined under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act - to "facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct".

Ms Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Weinstein, said the new lawsuit lacked merit and she would move to dismiss it.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 03, 2018, with the headline 'Three women sue Weinstein in new sexual assault suit'. Print Edition | Subscribe