An Italian model-actress met with Los Angeles police detectives for more than two hours Thursday morning, providing a detailed account of new allegations that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her at a hotel in 2013.
She is the sixth woman to accuse Weinstein of rape or forcible sex acts. Los Angeles police Capt. Billy Hayes confirmed that the department has launched an investigation into the matter.
It is the first case related to Weinstein to be reported in Southern California. New York police already have two active sex crime probes and London's Metropolitan Police is investigating allegations made by three women.
The new allegation could be legally troubling for Weinstein because it falls within the 10-year statute of limitations for the crime that existed at the time of the alleged incident, legal experts say.
It could "open the door to a prosecution if the evidence exists," said defense attorney Dmitry Gorin, a former L.A. County sex crimes prosecutor. Until now, most of the allegations against Weinstein that could lead to criminal charges concerned incidents that are more than a decade old.
Weinstein has "unequivocally denied" allegations of non-consensual sex, according to his representative, Sallie Hofmeister. On the latest allegation, she said: "I can't respond to some anonymous complaint."
The 38-year-old woman, who has asked not to be named because she is fearful of retaliation and concerned about protecting her children's privacy, first contacted police on Tuesday, through her attorney, David Ring of the law firm Taylor Ring. Two detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division's rape special section took her statement on Thursday.
She told the Los Angeles Times that the incident occurred at Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel after she attended the 8th annual Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest in February 2013. She had previously met Weinstein once, briefly, in Rome after being introduced by an acquaintance. At that time, he invited her up to his hotel room, but she said she declined. She said they spoke briefly at the film festival, but he didn't appear to recall meeting her before.
Later, he showed up "without warning" after midnight in the lobby of her hotel, which she said surprised her because she didn't tell him where she was staying. He asked to come up to her room. She said she told him no and offered to meet him downstairs, but soon, he was knocking on her door.
"He ... bullied his way into my hotel room, saying, 'I'm not going to [have sex with] you, I just want to talk,'" the woman told The Times. "Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked."
She said Weinstein repeatedly bragged about his power and influence and told her not to fight him. She tried to show him pictures of her children and her mother, who was undergoing chemotherapy at the time, as she cried and begged him to go away, she said.
"He grabbed me by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do," she said. "He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me."
When he left, she said he told her she was very beautiful, and that she could work in Hollywood.
"He acted like nothing happened," the woman said. "I barely knew this man. It was the most demeaning thing ever done to me by far. It sickens me still. … He made me feel like an object, like nothing, with all his power."
After the incident, he invited her to parties at his house. She did not attend.
Throughout the interview with The Times on Thursday, she was calm and collected — though her voice quivered when she spoke of her three children. It is because of them, she said, that she decided to report Weinstein to the police.
At the time, she said she was too afraid, but did tell a priest, a friend and a nanny what had happened.
"I feel responsible that I didn't talk for years, I feel responsible that I didn't react that night and I didn't call the police, I feel responsible that I wasn't brave enough," she said. "All these years I've been thinking why I didn't call the police immediately. I regret that I opened the [hotel] door."
About a week before the Weinstein story broke, her high-school-aged daughter told her about how she had been experiencing mistreatment from a boy for seven months. To comfort her, she told her about the incident with Weinstein and urged her to report what was going on.
"If I need to do that, why don't you stand up for yourself?" her daughter said, she recounted. And she said her son told her: "You just need to be strong, Mom."
Her attorney, Ring, one of L.A.'s top sex-abuse attorneys, said the woman is fully cooperating with the LAPD.
The model-actress, who was 34 at the time, is well-known in Italy, where she appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue and as an actress in Italian films.
The woman was living in Italy with her three children at the time of the alleged attack, but has since moved to Southern California.
The allegations could also bolster a New York police investigation into a report that Weinstein forced an aspiring actress in 2004 to perform oral sex on him, as the L.A. case involves similar acts. Lucia Evans told the New Yorker that Weinstein assaulted her during a meeting at his Miramax office.
Since a New York Times article first revealed allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein earlier this month, more than 40 women — actresses, studio workers and models — have accused Weinstein of inappropriate behavior, ranging from harassment to rape. Actresses Asia Argento, Rose McGowan, Lysette Anthony and Evans have all publicly stated that they were raped or forced to perform a sex act by Weinstein. An unnamed woman also told the New Yorker that he allegedly raped her. Eight women have received civil settlements over the years from Weinstein or his companies related to his conduct, the New York Times reported.
In other developments Thursday, a group of Weinstein Co. staffers responded to sexual harassment and assault allegations against their company's disgraced co-founder, saying they did not know he was a "serial sexual predator."
"We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper. We did not know we were working for a serial sexual predator," about 30 staffers said in a letter sent to the New Yorker. "We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women."
The memo also blasted nondisclosure agreements in their contracts that some have blamed for helping to keep allegations under wraps for years.
Times staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.
4:05 p.m.: This article was updated with details about a letter signed by Weinstein Co. staffers saying that they did not know they were working for a "serial sexual predator."
3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the actress about the alleged assault in Los Angeles.
2:10 p.m.: This article was updated to add a comment from Harvey Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister.