Asia Argento: LA Sheriff’s Department Is ‘Attempting to Reach Out to the Reported Victim’

Actress paid $380,000 to a young actor who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17, according to New York Times report

Last Updated: August 20, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is “attempting to reach out to the reported victim” of actress Asia Argento, following a report that she had paid $380,000 to an underage sexual assault accuser.

In a statement issued Monday, Cpt. Darren Harris of the sheriff’s department said, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is aware of the media reports naming Asia Argento as being involved in an alleged 2013 incident in an area policed by our Marina Del Rey Station. To date, the LASD has not located any police report alleging criminal activity within our jurisdiction in relation to this incident. After becoming aware of the allegations, the LASD’s Special Victims Bureau is attempting to reach out to the reported victim and/or his representatives in an effort to appropriately document any potential criminal allegations.”

The announcement comes following a report in the New York Times that Argento, who has accused disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her, paid $380,000 to a young actor who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was just 17.

According to documents obtained by the Times, Argento arranged to pay the settlement last November to Jimmy Bennett, a now-22-year-old actor-musician who played Argento’s son in the 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.”

The documents indicate that Bennett met Argento in a California hotel room in May 2013 — when he was just two months after his 17th birthday — where he said she sexually assaulted him. Bennett’s lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, had sent Argento an intent to sue her for $3.5 million in damages for the infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery.

Bennett’s income dropped from $2.7 million in the five years before the 2013 encounter to an average of $60,000 since, according to the documents. Sattro wrote that Bennett attributes the drop in income to the trauma of his sexual encounter with Argento.

The Times also quoted from a letter from Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, detailing both the monetary settlement and a schedule of payments intended to be “helping Mr. Bennett.”

According to the Times, the agreement between Argento and Bennett “does not prevent either party from discussing it” and Goldberg noted in one document that California law doesn’t allow nondisclosure agreements in cases involving this sort of accusation.

Argento’s team has not responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the accusations.

In a statement issued Monday, Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, accused Argento of a “stunning level of hypocrisy” following the report.

“This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein,” Brafman said in a statement to TheWrap. “What is perhaps most egregious, is the timing, which suggests that at the very same time Argento was working on her own secret settlement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she was positioning herself at the forefront of those condemning Mr. Weinstein, despite the fact that her sexual relationship with Mr. Weinstein was between two consenting adults which lasted for more than four years.”