Weinstein criminal probes growing in New York and London, but so far no cases in LA


Sex crimes detectives in New York and London are investigating allegations from at least five women who say they were raped or sexually assaulted by movie producer Harvey Weinstein, but so far no police reports have been filed in Los Angeles.

Two sources not authorized to discuss the inquiries said the New York Police Department has opened an investigation into a 2004 allegation of forced oral copulation and is reexamining a more recent accusation of sexual groping that was previously rejected by prosecutors.

Since the New York Times first published allegations against Weinstein less than two weeks ago, dozens of women have publicly accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape.

The new investigation, which launched last week, involves a then-college student’s allegation that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Miramax office. Lucia Evans told the New Yorker that he assaulted her during a meeting in 2004.

New York police detectives have sought out the alleged victim, but because the case is old, it can be charged only if physical force was used and the crime was deemed aggravated. There is no statute of limitation in New York for a first-degree criminal sex act.

The second case in New York involves model Ambra Battilana-Gutierrez, who reported the incident to police in March 2015. She cooperated with an undercover sting operation and in a secret recording obtained by the New Yorker, Weinstein appeared to acknowledge touching her breasts.

Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus R. Vance declined to file charges in the case. In a statement last week, Vance called the acts “sickening” but noted it was not a provable case.

Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of nonconsensual sex, his representative Sallie Hofmeister said.

In Britain, investigators are looking into an alleged attack in the 1980s and others in 1992, 2010 and 2011, authorities said.

One case being investigated by London’s Metropolitan Police involves British soap opera actress Lysette Anthony, who filed a formal crime report in London on Wednesday, alleging that she was raped by the movie mogul at her London home in late 1980s.

Anthony tweeted about reporting the incident to police and even provided a photo with the case number. “Truth will always out,” she wrote, and included a link to the British Sunday Times in which she detailed the incident. She said she answered the door of her London home, and Weinstein attacked her.

“He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack in my tiny hall and started fumbling at my gown,” she told the newspaper. “He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. It was disgusting.

“Finally, I just gave up,” Anthony said. “At least I was able to stop him kissing me.”

Anthony, sources said, also continued to remain friendly with Weinstein after her alleged rape for a decade as documented in photos, videos and communications between the pair. She also later married director David Price, who has produced movies for both Miramax and the Weinstein Co. The couple divorced in 2003.

On Saturday, a second woman came forward to police and alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in Westminster in 2010 and 2011, and in Camden in 2015. Over the weekend, a third woman alleged an assault in London in 1992.

In Los Angeles, where Weinstein spent considerable time, neither the Los Angeles Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department or the district attorney’s office has any active cases involving Weinstein. However, they said they would look into any cases brought to their attention.

“We absolutely encourage anyone who may be a victim of sexual assault to come forward and report the crime,” said Josh Rubenstein, LAPD director of communications.

Sources familiar with Weinstein’s defense said that the New York allegation from 2004 is outside the statute of limitations because it lacks the physical force necessary to make it a first-degree crime that has no time restraints.

The problems could extend beyond Weinstein and to his company. Under New York and California laws, the Weinstein Co. could be vulnerable to civil lawsuits because firms are considered strictly liable for sexual harassment by managers. Some people have alleged that the board members knew about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, which could make them even more vulnerable to litigation, legal experts said.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @lacrimes

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