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De La Hoya Accused of Rape in $10-Million Civil Lawsuit

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An 18-year-old woman has filed a civil suit against World Boxing Council welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, claiming that he raped and imprisoned her 2 1/2 years ago in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The woman, whose name has not been revealed, is asking for $10 million in damages, but her attorney, Lisa Maki, said, “I believe that we can get double that amount.”

Through his attorney, Martin Castillo, and his promoter, Bob Arum, De La Hoya denied the charges.

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“This is a total and complete lie,” Arum said Wednesday. “It’s a lot of hooey, a lot of hogwash. This woman [Maki] should be brought before the state bar.”

Arum ruled out a settlement.

“Oscar has refused because nothing happened. Nothing,” Arum said. “Don’t you think they are trying to extort us?

“On that particular trip [June 1996, when the rape allegedly occurred], Oscar was surrounded by people all the time. He was with Mexican officials who were trying to get him to fight down there.”

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Bernardino County Superior Court, charges De La Hoya with five counts--sexual battery, battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The boxer has a vacation home in Cabo San Lucas.

At a Wednesday news conference, Maki said the woman was 15 at the time of the alleged assault and waited 29 months to file charges because she “has been terrified of coming forward. She has had physical and psychological injuries. She is still not fully recovered. I don’t know that anyone ever fully recovers from that.”

Maki said her client went to Mexican authorities six months after the alleged incident, but they refused to act.

“My understanding is that the Mexican legal system is based on bribes,” Maki said.

Said Castillo: “We will be able to supply evidence that Mexican authorities received no such complaint.”

Maki said that there is “ample evidence” of De La Hoya’s guilt, but would not give specifics.

“His attorney [Castillo] said [De La Hoya] didn’t remember the woman,” Maki said, “because he has slept with 500 women since then.”

Responded Castillo: “Logic would indicate I have no idea who Oscar has slept with or not slept with. I don’t know if he has slept with anyone. . . . We believe the charges are false and we welcome the opportunity to litigate.”


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