If Ms. Sutton was betrayed by Ms. Tapscott in the manner of the lawsuit by targeting a predator, how should the law respond? “Every time you work with children, there is an increased responsibility to protect them,” said Carrie Goldberg, a Brooklyn attorney who has represented many adult victims of child sexual abuse. The problem for young models, especially in the 80s and 90s, was that “they weren’t considered kids, but legally they are and they were.”
In the absence of strings of text and e-mails that did not exist 35 years ago, Ms. Sutton’s lawyers must first prove that Ms. Tapscott knew about Mr. Marie’s inclinations and still endangered her. In response to an investigation into Mr. Marie’s behavior and the various allegations against him published by The Guardian last fall, Ms. Tapscott did not claim that she forgets anything, but instead said: “We didn’t have the language then to to know that this was wrong, and if so, who would we report it to? We were like family and there was no human resources department. ”She went on to say that she had” enormous regrets that she had not done more at this time. ” With regard to Ms. Sutton’s lawsuit, Ms. Tapscott declined to comment.
In the summer of 1986, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Sutton told Ms. Tapscott what had happened to her and Ms. Tapscott reported the news in a written memo to Mr. Casablancas, the man in charge. Mr Casablancas, who died in 2013, should advise Mr Marie to simply be more careful in the future. Mr. Casablancas was unable to provide a moral counterexample. What he referred to as his affair with model Stephanie Seymour took place when she was 15 and he was 41 years old. He was married then, but that relationship ended. At 51, he married again, this time with a 17-year-old.
It only takes a short walk through the annals of recent history to see how little cultural condemnation has been directed against this type of behavior. In 2017, just eight months before the #MeToo movement exploded, Netflix released the documentary “Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women,” directed by former elite booker Hubert Woroniecki, who told the Wall Street Journal that it wasn’t the case is his job “to conduct an investigation”. (The article that featured this quote was titled, “A New Netflix Documentary Tells the Story of the Colorful Founder of Elite Model Management.”)
I asked Ms. Sutton what she hoped of bringing her case just as the deadline expired. She said she was motivated in large part by her anger over Bill Cosby’s release from prison, and watched her two daughters hit puberty only to see clearly how young and uneducated girls really are at that age are. “They are children,” she told me. A lawsuit like this also has the potential to encourage other victims to come forward.
Exactly a year ago, Ms. Sutton, along with 12 other people, sent a letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo asking him to support the Adult Survivors Act, which would extend the statute of limitations on civil claims to include those who have suffered sexual abuse when they were 18 or older. Given the frequency with which women and men are exploited in their late teens and early 20s, the law is a corollary of the Child Victims Act. Although the state Senate passed the bill earlier this year, the congregation did not put it to a vote until the adjournment. Now maybe it goes on. As State Senator Brad Hoylman, the sponsor of the law in this chamber, put it, “Wouldn’t that be a fitting coda to end the Cuomo administration?”