The New York Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into Harvey Weinstein stemming from a assault allegation 13 years ago, PEOPLE confirms.
The NYPD is looking into claims that the embattled movie mogul sexually assaulted the victim in 2004, a police spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
Officials would not release additional information on the alleged assault or the investigation. However, Lucia Stoller, now Lucia Evans, told the The New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
“I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him,” she told the magazine. “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
In response to several allegations made against Weinstein, including Evans’, in the New Yorker piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office investigated Weinstein in 2015 and went so far as to have an accuser wear a wire – but DA Cyrus Vance declined to press charges. Vance defended the decision on Wednesday, saying that he did not believe prosecutors could have won the case.
Vance has been widely criticized after he received a $10,000 donation from one of Weinstein’s lawyers. Vance said he never had contact with the lawyer who made the donation and the money had no bearing on his decision.
Evans told the New Yorker that Weinstein first approached her at a New York club when she was a college student. She said he began calling her repeatedly and had an assistant call her until Evans agreed to meet with Weinstein at his Manhattan Miramax office.
Evans claimed she was led to a secluded office where she was alone with Weinstein, and he soon allegedly began to demean her while telling her about movie scripts.
“At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,” Evans told New Yorker. “He forced me to perform oral sex on him.”
She added: “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
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In the years following the alleged assault, Evans said she was largely unable to talk about the incident — “I was disgusted with myself … It was always my fault for not stopping him,” she told the publication.
She said she developed “an eating problem” and concerned friends told her to seek help “because they thought I was going to kill myself.”
News of the investigation comes as the 65-year-old finds himself in the midst of an ongoing sexual harassment and abuse scandal with actresses including Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie speaking out against Weinstein’s alleged behavior.
In a bombshell New York Times report last week, eight women accused him of acting inappropriately. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.
In accounts in the New York Times, the New Yorker and elsewhere, more than 20 women have spoken out against the producer, with allegations including rape, forced oral sex, groping and harassment. Legal experts told PEOPLE that the women involved could seek criminal charges or pursue civil lawsuits depending on when the alleged harassment or assault occurred.
“If a woman comes forward and says this happened on this date and it’s within the statute of limitations, there is a likelihood that a prosecutor will look at it and take the case,” New York criminal defense attorney Stuart Slotnick said. “In prosecution for a Class A felony, and rape in the first degree or aggravated sexual abuse, there’s no statute of limitations. For any other felonies it’s five years.”
New York City’s Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman-Agnifilo’s office fielded a 2015 complaint of sexual assault against Weinstein by Italian model Ambra Battilana but did not bring charges (Battilana reportedly settled out of court with Weinstein).
“If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience,” Friedman-Agnifilo said in a statement.
“Any individual who feels that she may have been the victim of a crime by this person in Manhattan is strongly encouraged to contact our Office’s Sex Crimes Hotline at (212) 335-9373.”
The Weinstein Company announced on Sunday that the Shakespeare in Love producer would be removed from his position. As Weinstein faced backlash, his high-powered attorney Lisa Bloom has resigned from her position as his advisor. Meanwhile, his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE that Weinstein had flown out of Los Angeles to enter a residential treatment facility. The producer was spotted boarding a private jet on Wednesday from the Van Nuys airport in California and landed in Arizona later that night.