Great Britain

Harvey Weinstein: Former model accuses producer of sexually abusing her as a teenager

A former model has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.

Kaja Sokola, now 33, filed the lawsuit on Thursday in New York.

The filing alleges that when Sokola was 16 years old, Weinstein, having met her at an event, said he wanted to meet with her for lunch but instead “took Sokola without her consent to his apartment” where he “would not let her leave until after he terrified and sexually abused her”.

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This is one of many accusations faced by the producer, who has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

The abuse allegedly occurred in 2002, after Sokola, now 33, travelled from her native Poland to the US to work as a model and attempt to build an acting career. According to the suit, Weinstein “claimed that he was interested in helping Sokola with her prospective acting career and wanted to meet with her for lunch”.

Weinstein allegedly picked up Sokola for lunch, at which point ”instead of taking them to a restaurant, Harvey Weinstein’s driver dropped the two at Harvey Weinstein’s Soho apartment”.

“As Sokola rode the elevator with him in his building, she became nervous. When the elevator door opened directly into Harvey Weinstein’s apartment, Sokola realised that they were completely alone,” the complaint reads.

“Once alone with Sokola, Harvey Weinstein wasted no time in aggressively and threateningly demanding sex. He told her that if she wanted to be an actress, she would have to be comfortable doing whatever the director told her to do – including losing her inhibitions and getting naked. He then instructed Sokola to take off her clothes.”

According to the lawsuit, Sokola followed Weinstein’s instructions, removing her blouse and unzipping her trousers, after which he allegedly encouraged her to touch herself.

Sokola alleges that she resisted the producer’s demands and that he “threatened and pressured” her, “saying that he had ‘made’ the careers of Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow, and that neither would be working without him”.

Weinstein also allegedly removed his trousers and forced the teenager to touch his penis.

“Overwhelmed by fear and emotion, Sokola tried to leave the apartment, but she could not get out because Weinstein was blocking the door, holding her arms and yelling at her to calm down. Weinstein insisted that what had just happened was normal,” the suit states.

According to the filing, the alleged abuse resulted in long-term depression, anorexia, and difficulty having healthy relationships with men for Sokola.

Sokola had previously filed some of her claims anonymously as part of a class-action lawsuit. They have now been refiled under New York’s Child Victims Act, a new measure that gives people more time to file civil claims in such cases.

Wenstein has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women – allegations he denies. He is to go on trial next month in New York.

The Independent has contacted Weinstein’s lawyer for comment.