NYPD officials are examining a host of recent sexual assault and harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to uncover any new evidence or victims, The New York Post reported on Wednesday night. According to Agence France-Presse, that search has also prompted the NYPD to re-open a 2004 sexual assault case against him.
#BREAKING New York police say reopen 2004 Weinstein assault case
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 12, 2017
“[The new investigation will] endeavor to identify and locate and interview any potential victims,” a “high-ranking” police source reportedly told the Post. The source claimed that Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce had issued the order to re-examine evidence earlier in the day.
In an email to ThinkProgress, J. Peter Donald, Assistant Commisioner for the NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), confirmed that officials were conducting a “review” of the latest allegations against Weinstein to determine their next step, but did not say whether police had officially re-opened the 2004 assault case.
“Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter,” Donald wrote. “No filed complaints have been identified as of this time and as always, the NYPD encourages anyone who may have information pertaining to this matter to call the CrimeStoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.”
London Metropolitan police on Thursday also stated that they are assessing a separate complaint against the media mogul.
“The Met has been passed an allegation of sexual abuse by Merseyside police on Wednesday 11 October,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson told The Guardian. “The allegation will be assessed by officers from the child abuse and sexual offences command.”
The specific assault case that the NYPD has reportedly re-opened involves allegations levied by actress Lucia Evans, who claims Weinstein raped her in 2004 during the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College. According to Evans’ account, Weinstein set up a meeting with her in New York at the Miramax office in Tribeca after meeting her at a club. Evans claimed she was led to believe a female company executive would be present at the meeting, but said that when she arrived she was left alone with Weinstein. Weinstein then allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him.
“I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,'” Evans recalled in an interview with Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.”
He’s a big guy. He overpowered me. I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.
Afterward, she told Farrow, “he acted as if nothing had happened.”
“It was like it was just another day for him. It was no emotion,” she said.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously issued a statement to The New Yorker categorically denying all allegations of non-consensual sex. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein,” the spokesperson said. “Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
According to the Post, New York previously had a five-year statute of limitations for prosecuting felony sex crimes, but the alleged incident between Evans and Weinstein is reportedly covered by a 2006 law that scrapped that statute, allowing prosecutors to bring charges for crimes such as rape, criminal sexual act, aggravated sexual abuse, or “sexual conduct against a child.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. came under heavy criticism recently after he claimed that previous attempts to prosecute Weinstein over the allegations were scrapped because the case lacked sufficient evidence.
“If we had a case that we felt we could prosecute and my experts felt we could prosecute against Harvey Weinstein, we would have,” Vance told reporters. “We take on many, many, many difficult sex crime prosecutions with individuals irrespective of their background or their money so that’s not an issue for us. …It’s obviously sickening. But at the end of the day we operate in a courtroom of law, not the court of public opinion.”
This article has been updated to include statements from a Scotland Yard spokesperson regarding a London Metropolitan police assessment of a separate case against Weinstein.