Celebrities, politicians among those named in sex abuse suits filed under NY’s Adult Survivors Act

Nov 27, 2023, 3:26 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — For a year, New York’s Adult Survivors Act suspended the usual legal deadlines to give sexual assault victims one last chance to file lawsuits over misconduct that occurred years or decades ago.

By the time the law expired last week, more than 3,700 legal claims had been filed, with many of the last few coming against big-name celebrities and a handful of politicians.

The list of the accused contained many familiar names from past #MeToo scandals and a few new ones. A huge number of claims were also made by former prisoners over alleged assaults in jails and prisons.

Here’s a guide to some of the more noteworthy lawsuits:

Donald Trump

Former president Donald Trump was one of the first to be sued under the law when it took effect last November, by a writer who said he had raped her in a department store dressing room.

E. Jean Carroll, a columnist, had written of the alleged assault in a 2019 book. He rebuffed the accusation, saying it never happened. She initially sued Trump only for defamation because the allegations dated back to the mid-90s and the deadline for filing a legal claim had long since passed. But the Adult Survivors Act cleared the way for a suit claiming sexual assault.

In May, a jury found Trump liable of sexually abusing Carroll, but not raping her. She was awarded $5 million, including damages for defamation.

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Sean “Diddy” Combs, the hip-hop music mogul, was sued this month by three women. The first case was filed in federal court by R&B singer Cassie. She accused Combs of beatings and rape in a long-term relationship, which he denied. They announced a settlement the next day.

Two more women came forward with lawsuits last week, just before the law’s expiration. They accuse Combs of sexual abuse in separate incidents dating back to the early 1990s. A spokesperson for Combs denied the allegations.

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein, already convicted of rape in New York and Los Angeles, was sued in October by Julia Ormond, who accused the movie producer of bringing down her movie career after a sexual assault in 1995.

Weinstein, who is in prison in New York, “categorically” denied the accusations through his attorney.

Jamie Foxx

Among the rush of lawsuits filed in the last days of the law was one against performer Jamie Foxx.

A woman who says she asked him for a photo at a New York City rooftop bar in 2015 accuses him of groping her under her clothes.

A representative for the actor said the alleged incident never happened.

Steven Tyler

In an accusation dating back to the 1970s, a woman has accused Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler of forcibly kissing and groping her.

The woman says she was 17 when she met Tyler in Manhattan in the summer of 1975, and that he assaulted her twice during that day.

Tyler has made no public comment on the accusation.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby was sued by Joan Tarshis, who said she was a young comedy writer when Cosby drugged and assaulted her on two occasions in the years around 1970. She had first made the accusations in 2014, but her ability to sue him was previously limited due to the statute of limitations.

A representative for Cosby didn’t respond to questions about the claim, instead citing the number of well-known figures named in lawsuits filed under the act and asking, “When is it going to stop?”

Russell Brand

The British comedian and actor was sued under the law by a woman who said she was an extra on the set of the movie “Arthur” in 2010, in which Brand was starring. The woman accused Brand of exposing himself and assaulting her in a bathroom.

He has not commented on the suit, but in connection to claims in British media outlets in September by four women who said he assaulted them, he said his relationships were “always consensual.”

L.A. Reid

Antonio “L.A.” Reid was sued by a woman who worked for the Grammy-winning music executive when he was the head of Arista Records.

The woman, Drew Dixon, said Reid sexually assaulted her twice in 2001, and derailed what had been a promising career in the music industry. He hasn’t commented on the lawsuit, but denied Dixon’s claims when she first made them in 2017.

Axl Rose

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose was accused by a former model of raping her in 1989 in a New York City hotel room.

Sheila Kennedy said she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression because of the attack, which she has referenced before.

An attorney for Rose said it was a false allegation and never happened.

Mike Tyson

Boxer Mike Tyson was sued by a woman who said he raped her in Albany, New York, in the early 1990s after she met him at a club and was in his limousine. There was no comment from representatives for Tyson.

The heavyweight boxer spent three years in prison after being convicted of rape in 1992.

Andrew Cuomo

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in 2021 after being accused of sexual misconduct, was sued by his former executive assistant. Brittany Commisso said she faced sexual harassment and unwanted touching from Cuomo and was punished when she reported the incidents.

Cuomo’s attorney called the suit a “cash grab.” Cuomo has denied the sexual misconduct allegations. He initially faced a criminal charge but it was dropped by a prosecutor, who cited lack of proof.

Neil Portnow

Former Grammy Awards CEO Neil Portnow faces a lawsuit filed by a woman who said he sexually assaulted her in 2018. His accuser, a musician who wasn’t named in the suit, accused Portnow of drugging her in a hotel room and assaulting her.

A representative for Portnow, who stepped down in 2019, called the accusations “completely false.”

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and personal attorney for Trump, is being sued by a woman who says he coerced her into sexual activity while she did work off the books for him.

The woman, Noelle Dunphy, said Giuliani made suggestive comments and demanded sex while she worked for him as a business development director and public relations consultant between 2019 to 2021.

His spokesperson strongly denied the allegations.

The Associated Press does not typically name alleged victims of sexual assault in stories unless they decide to tell their stories publicly, as Dunphy, Commisso, Kennedy, Dixon, Carroll, Ormond, Cassie and Tarshis have done.

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Celebrities, politicians among those named in sex abuse suits filed under NY’s Adult Survivors Act