Hagens Berman Blog

Sexual Harassment News: Child Victims Act, Weinstein, Epstein

by HB Sexual Harassment Legal Team


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Finally, the flood of lawsuits against the Catholic Church is here

The Catholic Church, with strong backing from the insurance industry and the Boy Scouts of America, has been successful for years in blocking state legislation that would allow adults to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse they suffered as children. That wall of obstruction is now gradually being breached, and none too soon.

A law enacted this year in New York has unleashed a flood of lawsuits, many against the church and its institutions, as well as individual abusers, by survivors hoping for a measure of justice — and recognition — for traumas they suffered years or decades ago. On the day the Child Victims Act went into force, in mid-August, hundreds of suits were filed; hundreds or perhaps thousands more are expected in coming months. read more »

Interactive: Find sex abuse lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act

Search this Times Union database of lawsuits filed in New York

About 97 percent of the lawsuits have been filed against organizations, including the Diocese of Albany, Buffalo and Rochester and other Catholic Church entities; the Boy Scouts, the New York City Department of Education, scouts, hospitals and school departments. read more »

‘Untouchable’ Review: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein

An exemplary Hulu doc lays out the allegations of sexual harassment and abusive history of the former Miramax head, one nightmarish testimony at a time.

The stories are legion, and they are remarkably similar. Some begin in a Buffalo, New York, concert hall in 1978; others in a five-star hotel in Venice in 1998. But it usually starts with a seemingly benign offer of help, or a friendly chat, or a meeting about the next step in someone’s career. Then maybe, suddenly, there’s only one room on a business trip because of a booking “mistake.” Or a lunch meeting mysteriously gets moved to a penthouse suite. Or an insistence that this man, a modern-day movie mogul who virtually kickstarted the contemporary American independent film movement and crafted the art of aggressive Oscar campaigning, be invited into someone’s apartment for a nightcap. Some stories reach a much, much worse conclusion than others. But they all end in threats, humiliation, trauma and some sort of professional blowback. Only the names change. read more »

Jeffrey Epstein’s New York Hunting Ground: Dance Studios

The financier recruited young dancers to give him erotic massages even after his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor.

Lisa was 17 when a fellow dancer approached her after a ballet class in 2002 and asked if she wanted to give private exercise classes to a wealthy man named Jeffrey Epstein.

Another dancer, Priscilla, received a similar pitch in 2006 from a woman, this time to give Mr. Epstein a massage.

The same year, a third dancer, Marlo Fisken, was asked if she would become his personal trainer.

At the time, Mr. Epstein was exploiting dozens of girls he had plucked from high schools and shopping malls in Florida, luring them to his Palm Beach mansion and coercing them into giving him erotic massages through false promises, cash payments and threats, according to court records.

But in New York City, Mr. Epstein had a different hunting ground: dance studios. read more »