Fashion mogul Peter Nygard accused of rape, sex trafficking by 10 women in class-action lawsuit


NEW YORK —
Ten women have filed a class-action lawsuit against wealthy Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard accusing him of rape and sex trafficking, with many of them claiming they were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged assaults.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, accuses Nygard of luring “young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women” with cash payments and false promises of modelling opportunities to visit his Bahamian mansion in order to “assault, rape, and sodomize them.”

The lawsuit also names a number of the 77-year-old business magnate’s New York-based corporate entities and employees as defendants in the case for their alleged roles in “financing, facilitating, and covering up the abuse.”

The plaintiffs, who now range in age from 18 to 36, said they’re not revealing their identities because of the “sensitive and highly personal nature of this matter.”

At the time of the alleged rapes, which the lawsuit states occurred between 2008 and 2015, three of the women were 14 years old, three others were 15 years old, and another one was 17 years old.

The lawsuit describes in graphic detail how Nygard and his associates would allegedly entice young women and girls to his mansion in the Bahamas for “pamper parties” under the promise of cash payments and modelling gigs.

“When the victims were not swayed by promises, many were drugged to force compliance with Nygard’s sexual desires,” a press release for the class-action lawsuit states.

In the lawsuit, Nygard and the other defendants are accused of using “alcohol, drugs, force, fraud, and/or other forms of coercion” to have the women and girls commit unwanted sexual acts, including sodomy and defecating or urinating on Nygard.

The complainants said they were offered thousands of dollars after each of the assaults.

In one case, a complainant who said she was 14 at the time of the assault, said Nygard gave her an envelope containing US$5,600 after he raped her at one of his pamper parties in the Bahamas.

Jay Prober, Nygard’s Winnipeg-based lawyer, called the allegations detailed in the class-action lawsuit “completely false.” He said they’re not founded on any evidence and they’re “vigorously” denied by his client.

“He will defend them vigorously and in the end we expect he’ll be vindicated,” he told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Friday.

Prober said they expected the lawsuit because it’s part of a larger, longstanding dispute between Nygard and a neighbour in the Bahamas, Prober said the ongoing battle between the two businessmen started over access to property and alleges that the neighbour is behind the current allegations against Nygard.

“This class-action is part of a larger conspiracy,” he said. “Women are being paid to fabricate and manufacture these kinds of stories, these sexual stories, in an effort to destroy Nygard and his business.”

The two men have filed multiple lawsuits against each other over the past decade. The most recent one was filed in November 2019, in which Nygard accused the other of trying to damage his reputation and business.

According to Thursday’s class-action lawsuit, Nygard has an estimated net worth of US$900 million through “various business entities that he owns in the fashion industry.” His flagship women’s clothing retailer, Nygard International, which is based in Winnipeg, operates more than 170 locations across North America.

The class-action lawsuit calls on the court to prohibit Nygard and the other defendants from engaging in unlawful acts and to award members of the suit damages, the amount of which is to be determined at trial.

In a press release, the two law firms representing the 10 women appealed to other potential victims to come forward and join the suit.

None of the allegations have been tested in court and no criminal charged have been filed.



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