Aug 21, 2020
Peter J. Nygard, a Canadian fashion mogul, has been accused by his two sons of sex trafficking them as young boys. The lawsuit against Nygard, whose Nygard International company has product lines including ALIA and TanJay, was filed Sunday in Manhattan federal court. The complaint specifically alleges that the sexual abuse was aided and abetted by Nygard’s companies.
In addition to the lawsuit brought by the Nygard children, the mogul is currently under criminal investigation, facing claims of sex trafficking and rape by over 50 women.
The complaint alleges Nygard, through his companies, made travel arrangements for his sons where he ordered a sex worker to rape them. The suit lists Nygard’s sons as John Doe No. 1 and John Doe No. 2, and alleges the former was raped as a 14-year-old and the latter as a 15-year-old. The sex crimes reportedly occurred in 2018 and 2004, respectively.
In the suit, John Doe No. 1 alleges his father instructed a sex worker, identified as Jane Roe, to “make a man” out of him. Nygard’s “girlfriend” is identified as the woman who committed the second rape.
“Nygard’s sons bring this case to shed the light of truth for their own justice and to help provide a voice for other innocent victims of violence and sexual abuse by their father,” according to the complaint.
Additionally, the sons contend that the statute of limitations for the 2004 rape of John Doe No. 2 should be tolled because he was “legitimately afraid Nygard would retaliate against him if he pursued his claim.”
“Nygard uses his family influence and family manipulation, including psychological and financial pressure, financial resources, political power, and influence in the Bahamas and elsewhere, and threats of force to intimidate his victims, including John Doe No. 2, and prevent him from coming forward,” the sons said.
Charges of violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), conspiracy to commit violation of the TVPA, aiding and abetting in violation of Canadian law, assault and battery in violation of Bahamian law, and civil conspiracy in violation of both Canadian and Bahamian law are all included in the complaint.
This particular lawsuit highlights the unprecedented opportunity for California survivors of childhood sexual abuse to obtain justice through AB 218’s “lookback window.” In the Nygard case, it may be ruled that the son listed as John Doe No. 2 is in fact ineligible to bring the lawsuit against his father due to the statute of limitations expiring on the alleged rape from 2004. John Doe No. 1 alleges his rape occurred in 2018, and the lawsuit therefore falls within the statute of limitations. But the 2004 rape, which allegedly occurred at the father’s Bahamas residence, is outside the statute of limitations, which is why the legal team representing the sons is requesting the statute be “tolled.”
“Toll” is a legal term meaning to suspend or hold off the effect of a statute. Whether or not a judge will rule that the statute of limitations for the 2004 rape is tolled remains to be seen. But, as is often the case with rapes occurring decades ago, it could very well be yet another truly unfortunate example of a survivor who is unable to obtain justice due to the expiration of a statute of limitations.
“It is, sadly, an all-too-common occurrence of injustice, where a survivor is barred from filing a lawsuit due to a statute of limitations expiring,” says DLG’s Samuel Dordulian. However, as Dordulian points out, under AB 218 there is hope. “If you are a survivor, no matter when that assault occurred, we can probably help you.”
In California, because of AB 218, the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse is actually tolled (suspended) for three years under the law’s lookback window. From January 1, 2020 until January 1, 2023, the statue of limitations is officially removed, giving survivors an opportunity to, as Dordulian has stated, essentially board a “time machine” to secure justice, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.
With AB 218, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse are eligible to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages. There are no exceptions to this rule – regardless of when, where, or how the crime occurred, all childhood sexual abuse survivors are eligible under AB 218 to file a civil lawsuit. However, the lookback window aspect of the law removing the statute of limitations is only temporary. With the lookback window expiring on Janiary 1, 2023, survivors only have a limited opportunity to file a claim, seek justice, and a secure a financial award.
At DLG, we’ve successfully represented survivors from all over the world in cases involving all types of sexual assault including childhood sexual abuse, rape, incest, sexual harassment, etc. Our Sex Crimes Division features a four-tiered SAJE Team (sexual abuse justice experts) designed to provide survivors with excellent support through compassionate, experienced, and all-encompassing representation.
The Nygard case is yet another example of a survivor who may be denied justice due to a statute of limitations. At DLG, we know how difficult it is for a survivor to come forward and report such a traumatic experience. But we’re here for you, during what may be the most difficult decision in your life, offering support without judgment or reservation. We encourage all survivors to take advantage of this limited opportunity for justice. If you’re in a situation like one of the sons listed in the Nygard suit, and are afraid of retaliation from an attacker or institution, our SAJE Team members are here to support and protect you. DLG’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, has over 20 years of experience as an attorney on both sides of the law.
Dordulian has prosecuted sex offenders – as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County – and now represents survivors in civil lawsuits against such heinous criminals. Our Chief Investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, is a retired member of the LAPD’s elite sex crimes unit. Together, Sam and Moses are essential to what makes Dordulian Law Group the best sexual assault firm in California. The entire SAJE Team is poised to help any survivor secure the justice they deserve through AB 218 (regardless of how long overdue).
The opportunity for justice available through AB 218’s lookback window is not simply unprecedented; it’s extremely rare. Other states, such as Colorado, have attempted and failed to pass legislation giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse unlimited time to sue their perpetrators. We sincerely hope that survivors in California understand the magnitude of this opportunity – the chance for justice that is temporarily available through AB 218.
For more information on AB 218, including the bill’s ‘treble damages’ clause where survivors of childhood sexual abuse may recover a triple financial award, please take a moment to review some of our previous blogs on the subject. To learn more about AB 218 you can also visit the DLG YouTube Channel, featuring commentary from multiple SAJE Team members.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
To speak to a member of our SAJE Team regarding a childhood sexual abuse crime, or for questions related to any legal matter, call us at 800-880-7777 or contact us online. We provide free, confidential, no obligation consultations, and our no fee guarantee ensures you never pay a penny unless we recover a financial damages award for you. We’ve recovered over $100 million for our clients over the years, and we never rest until justice is served.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and workers compensation concerns.