Assault lawsuits filed against three US stars under special law

Actor Jamie Foxx and musician Axl Rose are facing assault claims.

Actor Jamie Foxx and musician Axl Rose are facing assault claims. Photo: TND/Getty

Separate lawsuits have been filed against three US celebrities as a one-year legal window to seek justice for past sex crimes in New York approaches expiry this week.

Complaints were filed against Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose, singer-actor Jamie Foxx and Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jnr.

New York State’s Adult Survivors Law is due to expire after the US Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday (local time).

Others sued under the law include actors Russell Brand and Bill Cosby, former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, former president Donald Trump, and hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, whose case settled after one day.

Singer Axl Rise has been accused of sexually assaulting model and actress Sheila Kennedy in a hotel room more than 30 years ago, in 1989.

Hollywood star Jamie Foxx has been accused of sexual assault while at a New York rooftop lounge eight years ago.

Cuba Gooding Jr is being sued by two women whose sexual assault cases underlay a criminal prosecution that ended with him pleading guilty but serving no jail time.

Axl Rose

In the lawsuit against Rose, obtained by Rolling Stone magazine, Kennedy accuses him of raping her the night they met at a New York nightclub where she had gone to meet the rock band.

“He treated her like property used solely for his sexual pleasure. He did not use a condom. Kennedy did not consent and felt overpowered. She felt she had no escape or exit and was compelled to acquiesce.

She believed Rose would physically attack her, or worse, if she said no or attempted to push him away. She understood that the safest thing to do was to lie in bed and wait for Rose to finish assaulting her,” the lawsuit states.

At the New York nightclub, the singer invited Penthouse model Kennedy, MTV host Riki Rachtman and a third unnamed model to a party at his hotel, where the singer allegedly offered guests cocaine and alcohol.

At first, Kennedy and Rose kissed consensually, “unlike the sexual encounter they had later”, the suit states.

Later, when only Kennedy, Rose, Rachtman and the other model remained in the room, the rocker began having sex with the unnamed model.

“Rose was aggressive in a way that appeared painful for the model,” the suit says.

He then suggested to Kennedy and Rachtman that they have “group sex”. Both refused, and they left to go down the hall to the latter’s room.

As Kennedy walked out into the hallway, she heard the sound of a glass breaking and the singer cursing and calling the model he was having sex with a “whore”.

He then left the room and stormed into Rachtman’s suite, where he found Kennedy: Furious, he pushed her to the floor, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the floor back to his room, her knees bleeding.

There he laid her face down on the bed, tied her hands behind her back with stockings, and raped her anally, the suit alleges.

In the lawsuit, Kenedy claims that she has suffered from anxiety and depression since the alleged assault, and that the trauma has affected her career.

She had previously made these allegations public in her 2016 biography and in a 2021 documentary about sexual misconduct in the music industry.

This is not the first time Axl Rose has been accused of sexual assault. In 1985, he was reported to have molested a 15-year-old girl, and in the 1990s, his then-wife Erin Everly accused him of spitting on her, punching her, tying her up and pulling her hair several times, as well as forcing her to have sex with him.

Other famous men accused of sexual misconduct under New York’s Adult Survivors Act include former US president Donald Trump, singer Steven Tyler, rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, actor Russell Brand and more than 2500 anonymous perpetrators.

Jamie Foxx

The lawsuit, filed at the New York Supreme Court on Wednesday (local time), alleges in the summer of 2015, Foxx made comments such as “Wow, you have that supermodel body” while at Catch NYC and rooftop, before later grabbing the woman by the arm and pulling her to the “secluded” back of the rooftop.

It is here where it is alleged there was “heinous touching and sexual assault” which has resulted in “severe emotional distress and anxiety” as well as post-traumatic stress disorder for the woman.

The lawsuit alleges Oscar winner Foxx — real name Eric Bishop — was “operating through his position as a well-known celebrity”.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, is also suing Catch NYC and rooftop and it’s owner Mark Birnbaum, alleging they were “negligent” and “failed to use reasonable care to prevent the acts described” in the lawsuit.

Cuba Gooding Jnr

In a complaint filed on Wednesday (local time) in a New York state court in Manhattan, Jasmine Abbay said the Jerry Maguire star forcibly kissed her without her consent in September 2018, while she was working as a cocktail waitress at the LAVO nightclub in midtown Manhattan.

The other plaintiff, Kelsey Harbert, accused Gooding of groping her breast in June 2019 at the Magic Hour rooftop bar, also in midtown.

Lawyers who have represented Gooding in civil and criminal litigation over his alleged sexual misconduct did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Our clients were deprived of the justice they sought in the criminal case,” Gloria Allred, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

“They are now seeking justice and accountability in their civil cases.”

Abbay and Harbert are seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a special New York state law letting women sue their alleged abusers even if statutes of limitations have run out.

Gooding won an Academy Award in 1997 for best supporting actor in Jerry Maguire.

He pleaded guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanour charge of forcibly touching Abbay, who was not identified by name at the time but revealed her identity in her lawsuit.

The charge was downgraded six months later to harassment, to which Gooding pleaded guilty after complying with a plea agreement that required alcohol and behaviour modification treatment and no further arrests.

Accusations by Abbay, Harbert and a third woman were the basis for a six-count indictment against Gooding, which his guilty plea resolved.

Harbert at the time expressed outrage she could not hold him accountable in court for the “irreparable damage” he caused.

In June, Gooding settled a civil lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, moments before trial, by a woman who accused him of a 2013 rape. Terms were not disclosed. The woman had sought $US6 million ($9.2 million)

Topics: Axl Rose
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