LA police launch special task force to probe celebrity sex claims

David Gardner
Special probe: The task force will investigate claims against Harvey Weinstein

A special legal task force is being set up to investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood.

The squad of “veteran sex crimes prosecutors” is being formed in Los Angeles following accusations made against producer Harvey Weinstein and others including director James Toback and actor Ed Westwick.

Current as well as historic cases of alleged assault will reportedly be examined, with a focus on so-called “casting couch” abuses.

The task force was announced last night by Los Angeles county district attorney Jackie Lacey, who said: “In response to the widespread allegations of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, I have established a task force of specially-trained deputy district attorneys who are ready to evaluate these cases if any are referred to my office for criminal prosecution.”

Allegations: Harvey Weinstein (AP)

Los Angeles police are already investigating claims made by two women against Weinstein, 65, and by one against British Gossip Girl star Westwick, 30. He has denied the allegations against him.

Beverly Hills detectives are investigating accusations against Toback, 72, the director and screenwriter behind films including Bugsy. He denies the claims. Police in London and New York are also investigating a series of allegations against Weinstein, who has denied claims of “non-consensual sex”.

Denying claims: Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick (PA)

The latest celebrity to face allegations of sexual misconduct is Emmy award-winning US comedian and actor Louis C.K. The New York Times said five women have accused him of inappropriate behaviour up to 15 years ago. Two female comedians claimed C.K, 50, star of the comedy series Louie, performed a sex act in front of them in 2002.

The premiere of his new film I Love You, Daddy has now been cancelled.

A new sex scandal also hit politics with Judge Roy Moore, a Republican candidate in Alabama for the Senate, being accused by four women of pursuing them when they were teenagers, one aged 14. Moore denied the claims and vowed to continue his campaign.