CHICAGO (AFP) – A therapeutic massage therapist is suing Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame for sexual assault and battery, accusing him of inappropriate touching and misconduct throughout two periods final 12 months in Chicago.
Maria Carballo filed a five-count lawsuit on Monday, claiming Lee assaulted her by fondling himself and touching her along with his genitalia.
The lawsuit claims the incidents happened in April 2017, when the 95-year-old co-creator of many superhero characters, together with Black Panther and Spider-Man, was within the Midwestern metropolis for the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Lee’s lawyer Jonathan Freund denied the allegations to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
“He is a high-profile public figure and I think it’s a shakedown,” Freund was quoted by the Tribune as saying.
“The guy is 95, I don’t think he would do that.”
Carballo’s lawsuit claims she was despatched on two events to Lee’s lodge suite on the McCormick Place Hyatt Regency.
During the primary therapeutic massage, Lee allegedly fondled himself, inflicting Carballo to cease and go away early.
Carballo claims that Lee apologised by way of her employer and she or he returned for a second therapeutic massage appointment the next day, throughout which she employed a therapeutic massage method utilizing the toes as an alternative of arms.
She accuses Lee of moving her foot towards his genitals, prompting her to go away as soon as once more.
The alleged incidents predate the global unfold of the #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns.
Carballo was initially fearful that complaining about Lee’s actions would negatively have an effect on her profession, in keeping with the legislation agency representing her.
“After seeing other women fight to be treated with dignity and respect, I decided, me too,” Carballo stated in a press release launched by the Chicago-based agency Cunningham Lopez LLP.
The lawsuit is in search of at the least US$50,000 (S$66,000), in addition to punitive damages and lawyer’s charges for every of the 5 counts.
Lee has confronted an identical declare earlier than. In January, the Daily Mail reported on allegations of sexual assault and harassment by nurses who cared for Lee at his Los Angeles home.
Lee’s representatives denied these allegations.
The comedian guide legend has additionally been the topic of rumors of elder abuse within the arms of associates and his daughter, and has denied these claims as effectively.