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Terry Richardson is under investigation by the New York Police Department.
On Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported that the controversial fashion photographer is the target of NYPD’s Special Victims Squad, after several women told the news organization that investigators reached out in recent weeks for interviews about their experiences with Richardson. The non-profit advocacy organization Model Alliance confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they are cooperating as well.
The investigation comes after Richardson was accused of rape by model Caron Bernstein, 47, who was among those to be contacted by a special victims detective for a meeting, according to the Daily News.
Bernstein recalled meeting with the controversial fashion photographer at his Lower East Side studio for a photo shoot in 2003, but it quickly took a turn when Richardson allegedly positioned her in a chair and started taking photos of her before exposing his penis and forcing himself into her mouth, she told the Daily News last month. “It was like literally being shot with a stun gun. My brain just went on pause,” said Bernstein, who added that she “wasn’t drugged, I wasn’t handcuffed.”
Bernstein, who said she was willing to pose topless during the photo shoot, remembered being told Richardson wanted to photograph her portraying a fragrance called “Sex” for an editorial in V magazine, adding that she thought it was a test shoot. During the incident, Richardson also allegedly ejaculated on her chest and then continued to take photos. After the alleged assault, Bernstein said she ran away crying to a pal’s nearby boutique, where she told her friend about the traumatizing event.
“I’m not looking for vengeance,” Bernstein told The Hollywood Reporter when contacted about the NYPD investigation. “I’m looking to be able to protect future victims….[Harvey] Weinstein is small fry compared to this guy.”
Richardson, 52, denied the claims through his lawyer, Brad D. Rose, who issued a statement to Daily News, saying, “Ms. Bernstein knowingly and willingly posed for these photographs and at all times prior to and during the shoot, any contact she had with Mr. Richardson was consensual.”
Former model Lindsay Jones, who recounted the time Richardson sexually assaulted her in a Dec. 13 Huffington Post piece, said she was also contacted by detectives for a meeting regarding the photographer.
Richardson has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by models for many years. Despite the allegations, he has continued to work with titles including V and Dazed, and brands such as Versace and Supreme. He also has photographed many high-profile figures, including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Jared Leto. However, Conde Nast International, Valentino and Diesel all announced that they were cutting ties with Richardson shortly after the Harvey Weinstein scandal brought sexual abuse into the spotlight.
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