Friday, February 14, 2020
What the court papers allege happened
Peter Nygard is accused of a series of sex offences in the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York.
Ten women were allegedly victims of various offences committed by Mr Nygard, often at “pamper parties” at his home at Nygard Cay.
In the court papers filed yesterday they detailed the acts which they say they endured. They were as follows:
• A 14-year old Bahamian from Nassau who was reportedly lured to his bedroom with promises of a modelling contract before being shown pornography by Mr Nygard and raped as he pinned her hands against a headboard. She was then driven home by a Nygard employee.
• Another 14-year-old Bahamian from Nassau was reportedly given several glasses of wine before being instructed to take three pills given to her by Mr Nygard. She said Mr Nygard used a sex toy on her despite her asking him to stop, before she blacked out. She says she did not know what Mr Nygard did to her while she was unconscious but awoke to find blood on the sheets. She said she was made to touch him sexually on another occasion and was raped a second time. Mr Nygard then reportedly paid her to be a Nygard model and to recruit other young girls for him to sleep with.
• A 15-year-old Bahamian from Nassau says she was given wine at a “pamper party” before he forced her to have sex despite her saying “stop” and “no”.
• A 14-year-old Bahamian from Nassau, the younger cousin of the above girl, was reportedly given alcohol before being escorted to Mr Nygard’s bedroom and being shown pornography before Mr Nygard undressed her and forced her to have vaginal and oral sex. Afterwards, she said he gave her an envelope with more than $5,000 inside.
• A 17-year-old Bahamian from Nassau reportedly went to a party at Nygard Cay with a friend and drank multiple alcoholic beverages before Mr Nygard gestured to her friend to come with him. Her friend did not want to go alone so motioned to her to go with her. They were taken to Mr Nygard’s bedroom and given more to drink before he instructed them to touch one another sexually, which they did. After several minutes, Mr Nygard reportedly joined in and sodomised the 17-year-old before making other sexual requests. He then reportedly gave the girl $200 and gave permission for the pair to leave.
• The sixth victim was 15, a Bahamian from Nassau, when she was invited to Nygard Cay where she was reportedly invited upstairs by Mr Nygard to smoke marijuana. Mr Nygard is said to have taken her to his bedroom where he undressed and got into a Jacuzzi but the victim declined to join him. He is said to have got out of the Jacuzzi and began to undress her before making sexual demands of her. He began fondling her and she tried to fight him off and told him to stop but he became more aggressive and raped her, it is alleged. He is said to have told her to take a wad of US cash, but she refused.
• The seventh victim is a Bahamian who was 18 at the time of the alleged attack. She is said to have had several drinks before being led by Mr Nygard to his bedroom. He invited her into a Jacuzzi and made sexual advances which she resisted. He then reportedly made her a drink which she became nauseated and sleepy after drinking. He made sexual demands of her but she does not recall what happened next as she was in and out of consciousness. When she awoke, however, there was blood in the back of her underwear and she felt pain in her anus. Mr Nygard reportedly gave her $550 in US currency and sent her away.
• The eighth victim was a Bahamian woman aged 29 who was an employee at Nygard Cay for several years. She said she accepted a glass of wine before being summoned to Mr Nygard’s room. Shortly after arriving, she fell unconscious. She says when she became alert again, Mr Nygard was in the act of having sex with her. He later demanded that she have sex with him regularly as a requirement of keeping her job, it is alleged, and was fired when she refused. It is alleged that in 2017 she was abducted and taken to Toronto and Fort Lauderdale for four days by employees of Mr Nygard.
• Another adult, the ninth victim is a US citizen who was an employee of Mr Nygard and reports that over the years, she was sexually assaulted by Mr Nygard on numerous occasions. This includes an allegation that in 2015 she was raped at Mr Nygard’s California residence when he overrode the lock to her bedroom and she awoke to find him raping her, despite her attempts to resist and to tell him “no”.
• The final victim in the lawsuit is a Bahamian from Nassau who was 15 when she attended a party at Nygard Cay. She says she began to feel dizzy and nauseous after eating food and was taken to Mr Nygard’s bedroom where he made sexual advances toward her. She says she told him she was 15 and that she was feeling unwell, whereupon he gave her a pill he said would make her feel better. He then reportedly raped her and made sexual demands of her. Afterwards, she sought medical treatment and received two stitches to stop bleeding.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PETER Nygard has been accused of raping ten women, including nine Bahamians, in a wide-ranging criminal enterprise that involved intimidating victims and offering them hush money for over more than a decade.
A class action lawsuit filed in New York yesterday further claims he evaded exposure by bribing local police and Progressive Liberal Party politicians. It says he bought police protection and political cover by “making regular payments of tens of thousands of dollars to law enforcement, government officials, regulators, and even to a former Cabinet minister…”
Eight of Mr Nygard’s Bahamian victims were between 14 and 18 when he allegedly raped them, according to the lawsuit. Six of the alleged incidents happened between 2008 and 2011 when the PLP was out of office––the other three incidents happened in 2014 and 2015.
The lawsuit describes how Mr Nygard’s power and influence helped him conceal his alleged crimes. He contributed $10 million to get the PLP elected in 2012 and paid $300 to people who would vote for the party during the time, it claims.
“He has also spent significant money to bribe Bahamian officials including, without limitation, law enforcement, and to gain political influence and power on the island through political contributions. Nygard also provided PLP party members…and corrupt police officers, with children and young women to engage in commercial sex acts with. Nygard did so to gain influence with these politicians and law enforcement officials, as well as to gain compromising information about them in order to exert his influence over them,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Nygard used his political connections and bribes to successfully gain building permits and to receive other favourable treatment including, without limitation, overlooking his illegal activities. Nygard had Bahamian police officers on his ‘payroll’. He used them to help ‘bury’ any reports of sexual abuse and intimidate, threaten to arrest, and otherwise harass his victims to ensure that they would not come forward.
“Nygard often alludes to the fact, in front of his ‘girlfriends,’ that he is powerful enough in the Bahamas to have people killed without being investigated. Indeed, when Nygard learned of the investigation of his illegal sex trafficking, he engaged lawyers to facilitate bribery payments to top Bahamian police officials to get more information that would enable him to attempt to bribe victims or intimidate them into silence.
“Nygard also regularly bribes Bahamian officials with US currency from the Nygard Companies to prevent customs from searching his plane, prevent customs from checking the passports of the young women onboard, and to prevent customs from inspecting the passengers’ luggage. This allows Nygard to traffic his victims to and from the Bahamas, transport drugs intended for his victims, and transport other supplies for ‘pamper parties’ in the Nygard Companies’ plane to avoid paying customs.”
The lawsuit claims political and government corruption are “rooted in the fabric of Bahamian society,” citing such statistics as how many Bahamians have been forced to pay bribes in a particular time-frame.
Mr Nygard’s victims, the lawsuit claims, are typically young, vulnerable and impoverished Bahamian girls whom he knows won’t report his crimes to police. He allegedly kept a database of potential victims that was maintained by the IT department of his company and, by the mid-2000s, featured information on over 7,500 underage girls and women.
“The Nygard Companies and Nygard employed people to work at what Nygard referred to as Nygard’s Corporate Communications Coordinators (ComCor). Among other duties, ComCor employees were used to ensure that Nygard’s potential victims attended the ‘pamper parties’ by contacting them and arranging for their transportation to the parties. Thereafter, Nygard seduced, coerced, incited, paid, and promised these victims modeling careers to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts. All ComCor employees were paid by the Nygard Companies,” the lawsuit says.
“Upon arrival at the gated Nygard Cay property, most of Nygard’s victims were required to ‘register’ with ComCor, which was in charge of planning and coordinating corporate events, by providing their personal information, such as their names, telephone numbers, email addresses, and the identities of the persons who invited them. They were also required to pose for headshots and full-body photographs. The pictures and registration forms, filled out by the Nygard employees, were scanned and emailed directly to Nygard, so that he could review who was in attendance, while sitting upstairs in his bedroom. Nygard would then use this information to select his potential victims for the night, by meeting his self-avowed standard of: ‘an eight in the face, and a nice toilet.’
“The information was then entered into a company database, so that Nygard had a ready list of ‘prospective recruits’ who were potential victims to pursue at any given time. The database contained information and pictures of over 7,500 underage girls and women dating back to 1987. The database was hosted on a corporate server and was maintained by the Nygard Companies’ IT department.”
The defendants in the lawsuit are Mr Nygard and his companies.
The lawsuit describes in graphic detail how Mr Nygard’s alleged underaged victims were selected by him or his “groomers”, encouraged to drink wine laced with drugs at his Nygard Cay “pamper parties” and then lured to his bedroom where they were forced to engage in depraved sexual acts.
The women were sometimes allegedly lured under false promises of future modeling contracts and their hush money payments often ranged in the thousands, according to the lawsuit.
“Nygard used his considerable influence in the fashion industry, his power through corruption of officials, and a network of company employees under his direction to groom and entice underage girls and women,” the lawsuit alleges. “Defendants knew that Nygard would use means of alcohol, drugs, force, fraud and/or other forms of coercion to engage in commercial sex acts with these children and women, and in many cases, with knowledge that they were less than 18-years-old.
“Defendants destruction of innocent lives is immeasurable. When Nygard became aware of the investigation into his sex trafficking ring, he resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery and payoffs to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme.”
According to the lawsuit, there is no corporate distinction between or among Mr Nygard’s companies and he has exclusive control over them all as their sole owner and executive. Those companies allegedly financed, facilitated and covered up the abuses.
“The Nygard Companies funded Nygard’s ‘pamper parties’ under the Nygard brand by transferring cash from its bank account in Canada, routing it through New York, and depositing it in a Bahamian bank account that belongs to a Bahamian holding company called Nygard Holdings. The Nygard Companies used corporate accounts to pay for drugs, alcohol, entertainment, and food for the ‘pamper parties,’ and also provided the cash that Nygard delivered to accomplices and victims to facilitate Nygard’s commercial sex acts with children and young women. The Nygard Companies also paid all employees and staff, including accomplices who recruited and groomed children and women to engage in commercial sex acts, who worked the ‘pamper parties,’ according to the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the alleged victims say Nygard and his companies have violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The statue of limitations under that law is ten years and they want that tolled for all of his alleged victims, saying the extraordinary circumstances of this case requires that.