Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By TRIBUNE REPORTER
DOZENS of women have come forward to accuse Peter Nygard of sexual misconduct since lawyers in New York filed a class action lawsuit against the fashion mogul, according to a lawyer in the case.
In a statement to The Tribune yesterday in response to emailed questions, Greg Gutzler, co-counsel with Lisa Haba for the women, said: “Since filing a rape and sex trafficking class action lawsuit last week against Canadian fashion mogul, Peter Nygard, on behalf of ten women, we have received information from over 100 witnesses, including dozens of (alleged) victims, who have come forward with additional evidence relating to alleged rape and sexual abuse.
“In addition, the allegations in the complaint are accurate, verified and corroborated, following years of independent investigation. The brave women who have stepped forward thus far made the choice to hold Nygard responsible for his actions, regardless of his attempts to intimidate them into silence.”
He said many of the new alleged victims are from the United States and Canada.
“We knew that we were likely to hear very quickly from other victims, but the outpouring has been simply overwhelming,” he said. “Women are contacting Lisa and me by telephone, email and social media...”
A lawsuit filed in New York alleges Mr Nygard raped ten women, including nine Bahamians, and covered it up through payoffs and intimidation tactics. Mr Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, has dismissed the claims as false, telling Global News, a Canadian news outlet, that the complaints have been paid for by people involved in a criminal conspiracy against his client.
“(The allegations) are completely false. I’ve seen a lot of false allegations…but I’ve never seen such false allegations that are so nasty,” he said.
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 while the other three happened in 2003, 2014 and 2015. The women said the alleged offences were committed mostly at Mr Nygard’s “pamper parties” at his Nygard Cay home.
Meanwhile, The Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement continued to lock horns over the issue yesterday. The lawsuit argues Mr Nygard evaded accountability for his crimes by bribing law enforcement officials and certain PLP politicians. Evidence supporting this claim was not included in the documents.
In a statement, the FNM accused the PLP of callously ignoring Mr Nygard’s accusers.
“Their defensive release all but ignores the innocent victims who’ve made claims against the PLP’s top donor, a man accused of the most perverted acts,” the FNM said. “When will the PLP learn that this tragedy impacted so many lives and their knee-jerk reaction to deflecting any and all responsibility shows that Brave Davis and his party continue to put their ambitions first regardless of who has been hurt? Simply put, the PLP’s top donor––Peter Nygard––is accused of being the Jefferey Epstein of the Bahamas. This is who the PLP associated with and still stands with, casting aside the brave women who have come forward to seek justice. This is how this abomination continued for so long. The PLP’s angry, defensive release on the sex trafficking ring lawsuit doesn’t give the Bahamian people any confidence that the PLP under Davis will come forward with the facts and start putting the needs of the people they serve ahead of Peter Nygard – their top donor accused of harming children!”
In response, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell stressed that there are two “things at work in this badly written writ: first, the allegations of trafficking and secondly, abusive language about the PLP.”
“We said nothing about the first save whoever has a right in law to sue: God bless them; go for it. As for the second issue, the FNM is trying to stick the two together. Clearly that is a phoney logic. We say again this is all a political conception by a set of nasty, filthy, slimy, dirty minds in the FNM who now unfortunately have hijacked the party of Ingraham and Whitfield. We feel sorry for these incompetent, dumb and hapless jokers.”
“If the FNM is so concerned about trafficking victims then they should ask their Minister of National Security, who was on the police force and in charge of CDU when six of the alleged rapes occurred, (if he will) account for that dereliction of duty. When he answers that then maybe these idiots who write press releases for the FNM can talk. Until then all of it is senseless babble.
“The PLP is proud of its record on solving the public policy issues in human trafficking. When the FNM lost office in 2012, they left the country at tier two status and on the US government’s watch list. We stood to lose US security assistance because of the FNM’s dereliction of duty. During our term we were not only taken off the list but elevated to tier one status - the status we handed to this incompetent Minnis led administration in 2017.
“Further, there is in the public domain the names of a steady stream of FNM ministers going to ask for political donations or being entertained at Nygard Cay. These FNM press writers and the FNM chairman should ask the prime minister how much the FNM got from the Nygard connection,” the PLP statement said.