Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan and former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted a massage therapist a decade ago, a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court alleges.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles, says Kellye Croft, then a 23-year-old massage therapist, met Dolan while on tour with the Eagles in 2013. In one instance, the suit says Dolan “was extremely assertive, and pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him.”
While getting a massage, “Dolan pulled Ms. Croft towards him,” the lawsuit claims. “Ms. Croft tried to bring the massage to an end, but Dolan proceeded to come on even stronger, treating Ms. Croft’s resistance as part of a challenge or a game. Dolan then grabbed Ms. Croft’s hands, dragging her to a couch in the same room and forcing her hands between his knees as he sat down. Ms. Croft was adamant that she did not want to have any sexual interactions with Dolan, who was married at the time and over thirty years older than Ms. Croft.”
“She felt disgusted and terrified of the situation, but the extreme isolation she felt from others on the tour, coupled with Dolan’s attention to her, his assertions that he would take care of her, and her recognition that this man held immense power over everyone’s position on the tour—including hers—led her to submit to Dolan’s advances,” the lawsuit states.
Dolan owns the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers.
“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan,” said Dolan’s attorney, E. Danya Perry, in a statement to CNN. “Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”
Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is also named in the filing. Croft accuses Dolan of setting up a meeting in a hotel that led to her allegedly being sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
“Mr. Weinstein vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in a court of law where the truth will be revealed,” his attorney Jennifer Bonjean told CNN.
Croft is seeking monetary and punitive damages in the lawsuit, which says for years she “had been too traumatized by these events to speak publicly about what happened to her.”
“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice. But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability,” Croft said in a statement to CNN. ”My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”
Croft’s attorney, Douglas H. Wigdor, said, “With the filing of today’s complaint, it is time to finally hold Dolan accountable for his outrageous conduct.”
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