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The lawyer for the man suing X-Men director Bryan Singer for forcible sexual abuse of a minor tells The Hollywood Reporter Saturday that he has witnesses to Singer’s presence at 1999 sex parties in Hawaii, contradicting Singer’s lawyer’s assertion that documents show Singer was not on the island at the time.
“We have spoken to several witnesses who will place Singer in Hawaii (at the parties) at these times,” said attorney Jeff Herman, a Florida lawyer specializing in sexual abuse cases nationwide who is representing plaintiff Michael Egan, III. Herman would not say whether those witnesses saw the alleged sexual activity.
On Friday, Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer (no relation), said that he had credit card receipts, telephone records and production schedules showing that Singer was not in Hawaii — and was mostly in Toronto working on the first X-Men movie — when the parties attended by then 17-year-old Egan took place.
“This was Bryan’s first studio film,” Marty Singer said. “Clearly, he’s not going to take a break in the middle of this movie while you’re shooting and prepping it to go to Hawaii.”
Herman responded, “I haven’t seen anything he has. We will subpoena the (documents).”
UPDATE: Marty Singer subsequently responded to the above by saying any such witness would be a “liar.” See this story for more.
Egan’s suit alleges that misconduct occurred in Hawaii and Los Angeles when he was 17. That would put him over the age of consent in Hawaii (16), where the suit was filed, but below it in California (18), where the statute of limitations has already run out. Hawaii has an extended statute with a window that closes this Thursday, but California’s requires suit by age 26 at the latest. Egan is 31.
Regardless of the age of consent, Egan alleges that the sex was nonconsensual and in at least some cases involved the use of force and forced cocaine intoxication of a minor.
Although the California statute of limitations has run out on the Los Angeles allegations, Herman said those allegations were “part and parcel” of what happened in Hawaii. Singer has 20 or 30 days (it was not immediately clear which) to answer the suit, and he could move to strike the California allegations as not germane.
Herman says he also has witnesses who will place Singer at the Los Angeles parties. Singer’s lawyer has not asserted any proof that Singer wasn’t at the Los Angeles parties. However, he has denied the allegations in the suit, calling them “absurd and defamatory” and “fabricated.”
As the Hawaii and California laws reflect, statutes of limitation in alleged underage sexual abuse are much longer than in other civil matters, where the limitations period is often two to four years or occasionally shorter. Those long statutes reflect a consensus — which is not without some criticism — that child sexual abuse claims merit special dispensation because they are inherently difficult to pursue in a more timely fashion.
“One reason victims don’t come forward until later us that they don’t see themselves as victims at the time,” said Herman.
Herman will be filing three more suits on Monday on behalf of Egan against other “Hollywood insiders.” He told THR that he has been hearing from other potential plaintiffs and is looking into their claims.
“The door is open now,” he said. “If these investigations pan out, I will be filing many more cases for victims alleging they were sexually abused by Hollywood executives.”
Not all those cases involve allegations as old as Egan’s, said Herman. He confirmed that he is investigating present-day complaints as well but would not say if any of those related to Singer.
Nor do all the complaints relate to gay men. “I’m hearing allegations regarding young girls being assaulted in Hollywood,” Herman said. He added, “Being gay doesn’t mean you’re a sexual predator. Obviously they’re separate. To the gay community, it’s unfair (to equate the two). I try to be very clear about that.”
The entertainment industry doesn’t fare as well, in Herman’s estimation. “Hollywood is much worse (than other industries),” said the lawyer, who says he’s handled over 800 sexual abuse cases nationwide. “It’s almost part of the business. It was an open secret.”
He added, “I’m receiving emails hourly. They’re afraid to come forward. It would be the end of their careers. They’re afraid to take on Hollywood … (but) I think we’re going to look back and see the Singer case as a watershed in Hollywood.”
Email: jhandel99 at gmail dot com
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