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4 Hollywood executives deny sexual abuse claims by former teen actor

Four Hollywood executives are issuing denials and firing back after a former teen actor accused them of sexual abuse.
April 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Four Hollywood executives are firing back after a former teen actor accused them of sexual abuse. The four say the allegations are baseless and they are threatening a counter-lawsuit against their accuser, Michael Egan.

Egan claims he was lured into a sex ring run by a former digital entertainment company executive with promises of auditions for acting, modeling and commercial jobs. He said he was abused between the ages of 15 and 17 and was threatened to keep quiet.

"You have a gun put in your mouth. As a child, I was scared to death," said Egan.

Egan, now 31, says memories repressed for 15 years are now coming back. Forced sex at hot tub parties in Encino and repeated assaults in Hawaii are the centerpiece of his lawsuit against Bryan Singer, director of the "X-Men" film franchise; Garth Ancier, a media executive who programmed broadcasting for television networks Fox, The WB (now The CW) and NBC Entertainment; Gary Goddard, the head of a design firm in Los Angeles and producer of off-Broadway shows; and David Neuman, a former television executive with Current TV and Disney.

The defendants have all issued denials. Ancier's lawyer, Louise Ann Fernandez, issued a statement Tuesday, saying the allegations "are demonstrably untrue."

"We are confident the courts will agree when the evidence is presented. As just one of many examples, Mr. Ancier has never even visited the estate in Hawaii where the plaintiff claims to have encountered him," Fernandez said.

Alan Grodin, an attorney for Goddard, said the lawsuit has no merit.

On Twitter Monday, Neuman says "the disgusting allegations made against me are COMPLETELY FALSE. Also very shocking in that they don't just stretch the truth, they are whole-cloth lies with zero basis in reality or truth. Sickening, and very evil, for anyone to lie like that, let alone in a legal document."

Singer's attorney is also blasting the allegations. Attorney Martin Singer says his client has credit card receipts, phone records, and other evidence that shows his client was not even in Hawaii when some of the abuse is alleged to have occurred. He says he can also prove the director was working on a movie in Toronto at the time.

To win his claim in civil court, experts say Egan must offer more than his own testimony.

"It is going to come down to he said she said kind of a problem. It is a credibility issue," said Professor John Nockleby with Loyola Law School.

To bolster credibility, Nockleby says Egan will need evidence. Egan did not report the four individuals to the police, so there was no criminal investigation. Nockleby says Egan might have to rely on bits of paperwork, such as hotel or restaurant receipts or testimony from any other person he may have told at the time.

Egan says his trips were on a private plane to a private resort. The only witnesses may be the individuals he is accusing. Egan did file a suit in 2000, but he did not name any of the Hollywood figures he is suing now.

True or not, PR expert Michael Levine of Levine Communications says the defendants must now respond quickly and publicly with facts to shield their reputations.

"Veracity and truth have a way of winning the day in the long run, but it often takes a long and twisted and tangled path to get to what is true and what is not true," said Levine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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