Dec 17, 2020
Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested and charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, and additional sex crimes. Under the authority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, officials in Winnipeg, Manitoba took Nygard into custody following a request for extradition. According to the complaint, Nygard, 79, used the influence of his former company, Nygard International, to “recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims” for his own sexual gratification over the course of at least 25 years.
The indictment, which was filed on November 23 and unsealed Tuesday, charges Nygard with nine counts, including sex trafficking and racketeering, and alleges a “decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations.” The complaint accuses Nygard and various employees of using power and influence in the modeling and fashion arenas to “lure victims into Nygard’s orbit and keep them there.”
The indictment alleges that victims, many underage and from “disadvantaged economic backgrounds” were “forcibly sexually assaulted, drugged, and/or coerced into sexual contact with Nygard.” The indictment also alleges Nygard specifically targeted survivors with a history of abuse. Nygard reportedly maintained relationships with certain survivors, whom he considered “girlfriends.” The women were allegedly required to travel and engage in sexual acts with Nygard. Through “force, fraud, and coercion” Nygard allegedly controlled these “girlfriends.” Moreover, according to the complaint, some of the women were on Nygard International’s payroll as models or assistants.
Prosecutors said the female survivors were explicitly harmed “for Nygard’s sexual gratification and, on occasion, the gratification of Nygard’s personal friends and business associates.”
“Nygard maintained control over his victims through threats, promises to grant or withhold modeling opportunities and other career advancement, granting and withholding of financial support and by other coercive means including constant surveillance, restrictions of movement and physical isolation,” according to the indictment.
CNN reported that, following a lawsuit filed in February by attorneys Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba on behalf of 10 anonymous women, more than 100 survivors have come forward with allegations of abuse against Peter Nygard. “It really has been an international human trafficking ring of a magnitude we’ve never seen,” Haba said in a March interview. “They were company employees, and they were employed merely to effectuate the sex trafficking ring. That was what their job was,” Gutzler added.
Following news of Nygard’s arrest, Gutzler issued a statement declaring, “On behalf of the dozens of survivors of decades-long abuse, we are encouraged that a small measure of justice for Peter Nygard is finally developing. We are relieved that some measure of accountability is hopefully forthcoming, but we would be remiss if we did not state that this is something that should have been done decades ago.”
In August, Nygard’s adult sons accused him of sex trafficking them as young boys by ordering a sex worker to rape them. The complaint listed Nygard’s children as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, and alleged the former was raped as a 14-year-old and the latter when he was 15. The lawsuit alleges that Nygard instructed one of his “girlfriends” to “make a man” out of John Doe 1.
Global News reported that Nygard’s eldest son – who is not involved in the aforementioned lawsuit with his siblings – indicated relief upon hearing his father had been apprehended and was in police custody. “We were elated with the news,” Kal Nygard said. “This isn’t the father I thought I knew,” he stated. “Who is this monster?”
Peter Nygard is currently in Manitoba awaiting bail and extradition proceedings, according to a statement issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Nygard’s attorney, Jay Prober, stated Tuesday that his client “vehemently denies these allegations and he expects to be vindicated in court.” Prober also indicated he would be seeking a bail application for Nygard as soon as possible.
Nygard reportedly blames the entire scandal on a conspiracy that is the result of a longstanding feud with his neighbor in the Bahamas.
California Assembly Bill 218 is a piece of landmark legislation that took effect at the beginning of this year. Under the new AB 218 law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse are granted a number of new options that expand the eligibility for pursuing a civil lawsuit seeking a financial damages award. The passage of AB 218 represents a dramatic shift in California sexual abuse litigation, allowing survivors greater possibilities for securing justice.
Perhaps the most important aspect of AB 218 is the temporary three-year “lookback window” clause. AB 218’s lookback window affords any survivor of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file a lawsuit without being restricted by the previous statute of limitations. Regardless of how long ago the crime occurred, survivors of childhood sexual abuse may file a claim. This means that thousands of previously time-barred claims (which would have been unable to proceed due to the previous three-year statute of limitations) may now be resubmitted for consideration.
However, this limited window only extends through the end of 2022. On January 1, 2023, the standard statute of limitations resumes, and survivors who did not file a claim will be unable to pursue justice and left without legal recourse.
The case involving Peter Nygard’s sons is an example of how AB 218 aids survivors in achieving justice for past crimes. Under AB 218, claims like the one brought by Peter Nygard’s sons are now able to proceed in California under the three-year lookback window. If the crime had occurred in California, AB 218 would automatically grant temporary eligibility for his sons to file a claim (the case is being brought in New York, where laws have recently been expanded for certain childhood sexual abuse cases).
AB 218 also provides for treble damages to be applied in cases of childhood sexual abuse where a cover-up occurred. Treble (triple) damages permits a court to rule that an individual or institution responsible for a cover-up must pay three times the determined financial damages (e.g. a $10 million damages award would be increased to $30 million).
For additional information on all the ways in which AB 218 can positively impact survivors’ pursuit of justice – both on a temporary and permanent basis – please see our detailed blog.
DLG offers survivors of sexual abuse a unique type of representation that includes expert legal services as well as access to essential resources and a 24/7 support network. Our dedicated team of Sexual Assault Justice Experts (SAJE) offers advantages to survivors that can’t be found at traditional firms.
Survivors have access to an experienced and premier litigator in former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Samuel Dordulian. Additionally, all sex crime cases are investigated by DLG’s chief investigator, Moses Castillo. Castillo is a former LAPD detective supervisor with the elite Juvenile Division for Abused Children and Sexually Exploited Child Unit.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
Our SAJE Team is also equipped with two licensed and nationally accredited victims’ advocates who have dedicated their lives to careers where their primary objective is helping survivors by providing unconditional support. We also have a licensed clinical therapist on staff to assist sexual abuse survivors with common psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We passionately and aggressively advocate for all survivors of sexual abuse, ensuring justice is served and a maximum financial damages award is obtained through civil litigation.
If you have questions about a possible sexual abuse/assault claim and would like to speak with a member of our SAJE Team, contact us today at 855-804-9636 for a free, no obligation consultation. It costs nothing upfront to have DLG fighting in your corner.
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