Credit Getty Images
A Los Angeles woman has accused the music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual battery and rape in a civil lawsuit filed against him Wednesday in federal court there.
The lawsuit asks for $5 million in damages from Mr. Simmons, the multimillionaire Def Jam Recordings co-founder who, in the last two months, has been accused of sexual misconduct, assault or rape by at least 10 other women, and has been the focus of a police investigation.
Mr. Simmons has strenuously denied any misconduct. In a statement Wednesday, he called the lawsuit allegations “absolutely untrue.” He added: “I look forward to having my day in court — where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known.”
In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Jennifer Jarosik, 37, said she first met Mr. Simmons, 60, in New York in 2006, and that they became friends based on a mutual interest in meditation, yoga and veganism. Ms. Jarosik was interested in interviewing Mr. Simmons for a documentary she was making; Mr. Simmons agreed and said he would help her produce and finance the film, which they began working on, the complaint says. Ms. Jarosik said that, in 2016, she went to Mr. Simmons’s home in Los Angeles, at his invitation, and he asked her to have sex. She said no. He became aggressive, the complaint alleges, and pushed her onto the bed; when she tried to push back, he knocked her to the floor and raped her, she says.
She described the incident to the director and editor of her film at the time, the complaint says. It interrupted her work and led her to feel humiliation, fear and depression, for which she needed medication, the complaint says, in the request for damages.
Perry C. Wander, a lawyer for Ms. Jarosik, said in a telephone interview Thursday that Ms. Jarosik also alleges that Mr. Simmons assaulted her in his home in New York in 2011, and that she intends to file a criminal complaint with the New York Police Department, which has been investigating several sexual misconduct complaints by other women against Mr. Simmons, as well as the Los Angeles police.
Mr. Wander said that, until other women began describing their experiences with Mr. Simmons, Ms. Jarosik felt guilty about her encounters. “She was blaming herself,” he said.