Los Angeles prosecutors reject 5 cases against James Toback
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors said Monday that they will not bring criminal charges against writer and director James Toback in five sexual abuse investigations they have reviewed.
The Oscar-nominated writer-director has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.
Documents released Monday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said the statute of limitations in all of the cases had expired.
The women, none of whom are identified in the documents, reported sexual abuse from Toback that spanned 30 years, from 1978 to 2008.
Toback, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing 1991’s “Bugsy,” has vehemently denied the allegations.
In the 1978 case, the woman told police that Toback had pushed her against the wall and asked her to have sex with him after a dinner. When she refused, he drove her home and she said he exposed himself in the car.
In one of two accusations dating to 2008, the woman said that after a dinner date she thought she was going to a movie screening with Toback and ended up alone with him in an empty house. She told investigators that he asked her to masturbate in front of him and she complied out of fear.
He then told her to sit in the chair by the door where he’d been sitting.
“The suspect knelt down in front of her, placed his hand on the armrests and rubbed his penis on her bare leg until he ejaculated,” the documents say.
Nearly identical allegations are made in another case from 2008. In that investigation, prosecutors say the accuser did not show up to be interviewed, and hasn’t responded to attempts to reach her. A prosecutor said that while the statute of limitations appears to have expired in this case too, it would be re-evaluated if the woman is interviewed later.
Information for an attorney or representative who could provide comment for Toback was not immediately available.
The allegations against Toback became public in October, part of the wide wave that came after stories of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct rocked Hollywood and sparked the #MeToo movement.
While dozens of men were accused of misbehavior, Toback, while not as well-known as many of them, stood out for the sheer number of women who said he had sexually assaulted or harassed them.
The Los Angeles Times reported that 38 women alleged sexual misconduct from Toback, and in the wake of that story hundreds more came forward.
They included actresses Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams.
Blair said Toback asked her to perform a monologue naked, propositioned her for sex, and said he would not let her leave until he “had release.” Blair said he then simulated sexual intercourse on her leg.
“I felt disgust and shame, and like nobody would ever think of me as being clean again after being this close to the devil,” Blair told Vanity Fair. “His energy was so sinister.”
But while lawsuits and firings have been plentiful, criminal consequences have been slow in coming for powerful men ensnared in the #MeToo movement, though many more, including Weinstein, remain under criminal investigation.
While never becoming a major player in Hollywood, Toback, 73, managed to have a moderately successful career in film that has lasted more than 40 years.
Movies he wrote and directed include Harvey Keitel’s “Fingers,” the loosely autobiographical “The Pick-up Artist,” which starred Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald, and “Two Girls and a Guy,” also with Downey Jr. and Heather Graham.
Many of his accusers said he touted his friendship with Downey in trying to show his importance as he pressured them for sex.