12:09pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexually Assaulting 16-Year-Old Model in New Lawsuit
On the heels of an announcement that The Weinstein Co. has come to a tentative $25 million settlement with women who accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, the embattled mogul is being sued by a former model, who says he assaulted her when she was 16 years old.
Kaja Sokola says she came to the U.S. from Poland in 2002 to work as a model, and she was introduced to Weinstein at an event associated with her agency. According to the complaint, the producer asked her to lunch in the interest of helping her pursue an acting career. She agreed but alleges his driver brought them to Weinstein's apartment instead. There, she claims "he terrified and sexually abused her."
Sokola claims that prior to the assault, Weinstein told her to succeed as an actress "she would have to be comfortable doing whatever the director told her to do — including losing her inhibitions and getting naked" and afterward insisted "what had just happened was normal."
Her attorneys, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, issued a joint statement on Thursday, saying, "While others may have decided to settle, albeit under some of the most offensive and one-sided terms, we hope that the filing of this complaint encourages other victims and the New York Attorney General to join us as we continue our efforts at holding Harvey Weinstein and his enablers accountable."
They are bringing a battery suit for the alleged 2002 assault under New York's recently enacted Child Victims Act, which extends the amount of time a victim has to bring a claim (until their 55th birthday, in some cases).
Sokola, now 33, is also suing Bob Weinstein, Miramax and Disney for negligence for their alleged roles in enabling Harvey Weinstein.
Reps for Weinstein have not yet commented on the new lawsuit. When Sokola initially came forward with her claims as a Jane Doe in 2018, Weinstein's then-lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the press they were preposterous: "Like so many other women in this case who have already been exposed as liars, this latest completely uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will also be shown to be patently false."