Film director James Toback faces hundreds of harassment allegations

More than 200 women have reported that film director James Toback engaged in sexually harassing behavior toward them. Police and law experts are encouraging any victims to file official reports, but they expressed doubt that there will be enough hard evidence to prosecute Toback.
By Lila Alexander | Oct 25, 2017
Accusations of sexual harassment have emerged from hundreds of women, including actress Julianne Moore, against film director James Toback. Authorities in Los Angeles and New York are encouraging the accusers to file official reports, although it is not yet clear whether he would face any legal repercussions.

The Los Angeles Times uncovered the allegations Sunday, when it reported that 38 women had accused Toback of sexual harassment. More than 200 other women contacted the newspaper afterward to tell it that they, too, had been subject to sexually abusive behavior by Toback.

The accusations span four decades and follow a pattern. They would start with Toback approaching a woman, boasting of his movie credits and connections to big names in the film industry, and inviting her to a one-on-one "interview" or "audition" with him for a possible role.

In this follow-up meeting, Toback would start asking her questions about her sex life and suggest that they both remove their clothes. The encounter would often end with Toback dry-humping her or masturbating in front of her, after which he would ejaculate into his pants or onto their bodies.

The Los Angeles Police Department has not received any formal complaints and thus cannot open a criminal investigation yet, according to police Captain Billy Hayes. Hayes oversees an LAPD unit that deals with sex crimes.

"We have fielded a number of calls stating they may be a victim, but none have come forward to identify themselves or provide an account of the incident," said Hayes.

Dmitry Gorin, an attorney who used to prosecute sex crimes, told the newspaper that lack of witnesses, along with statutes of limitations on reporting harassment incidents, could also make prosecution difficult. He said that the defense might successfully argue that they cannot prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."



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