Knicks owner set woman up for sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein, suit alleges

The owner of the New York Knicks basketball team pressured a massage therapist for sex and then set her up for a “vicious” attack by convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, a lawsuit was filed in California on Tuesday.

James Dolan – a friend and former business partner of disgraced Hollywood producer Weinstein – trafficked the woman, Kellye Croft, then 27, “for the purpose of sex induced by force, fraud or coercion,” according to documents from the federal court filings in California. .

The alleged abuse occurred while Dolan’s band, JD & the Straight Shot, was on tour in support of the Eagles, who hired Croft as the group’s official masseuse in 2013.

Dolan, the lawsuit alleges, called Croft to his room several times during the tour and pressured her into unwanted sex. The alleged rape by Weinstein took place the following year in a Los Angeles hotel room, during a meeting that Croft said was orchestrated by Dolan.

Dolan was briefly a board member of the Weinstein Company.

“She wants the world to know: James Dolan unlawfully trafficked her for his own sexual gratification and was aware of Weinstein’s predatory behavior long before he published his musical inaccuracies,” the lawsuit says, referring to the song Dolan from 2018. I should have knownwritten about his relationship with Weinstein.

The lyrics in the song include the line, “I should have known, I should have thrown myself on his tracks and stopped him from these vicious attacks.”

In a statement to the Guardian from his lawyer Danya Perry, 68-year-old Dolan denied the claims.

“There is absolutely no merit to the allegations… Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” the statement said.

“The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply intended to incite and appear to be plagiarism from previous cases against Mr. Weinstein.

“Mr Dolan has always regarded Ms Croft as a good person and is surprised that she would agree to these claims. Bottom line: This is not a he said/she said and there is compelling evidence to support our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”

Croft, now 38, says in the lawsuit that she had no idea who Dolan was when he first booked her for a massage appointment during the tour. But she said she later found out he was “a major backer of the tour, allowing him to put his mediocre band as the opening act.”

She said she first became aware of his power when she discovered she was working not only for the Eagles — and specifically for Glenn Frey, the band’s founding member — but also for Dolan.

“Dolan expected Ms. Croft to have sexual interactions with him during the tour, and she spent her time alone or awaiting instructions from Dolan,” the lawsuit said.

“At times, Dolan would act romantically toward Ms. Croft, pretending that he had brought her to California for something more than just to satisfy his desire to have a sex-fueled ‘rock star’ experience along the way.

“Ms. Croft’s youthful naivete led her to believe at the time that Dolan truly cared about her.”

The alleged assault by Weinstein followed the tour, when the Eagles played a residency at the Forum in Los Angeles in 2014, and Dolan paid for her to travel back to the city.

Weinstein invited Croft to his hotel room, asked her to try on different clothes, then chased her to her own room and raped her when she refused, the lawsuit alleges.

Dolan, whose company Madison Square Garden Sports also owns the New York Rangers ice hockey team, was a close friend of Weinstein. And Dolan was a director of the Weinstein Company for about a year before it was dissolved in 2018.

He was named in a class action lawsuit filed against Weinstein by six women in 2017, alleging that he was “aware of Weinstein’s pattern and practice of predatory sexual conduct toward women from his personal relationship with Weinstein and his position as director of the Weinstein Company. )”.

Weinstein agreed to a $17.1 million settlement in 2021and both Dolan and other Weinstein associates were absolved of responsibility for enabling him.

After a lengthy trial in New York, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years for rape and sexual assault in 2020. And in February last year he was given an additional 16 years for three charges of rape and sexual assault against a single victim, a European model and actor. who testified anonymously.

Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse is available from the following organisations. In the U.S, Rain offers support at 800-656-4673. In the United Kingdom, Rape crisis offers support on 0808 500 2222. In Australia, support is available on 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at