Asia Argento Accused of Paying Off Sex Assault Accuser

Asia Argento Accused of Paying Off Sex Assault Accuser
Italian actress and director Asia Argento is alleged to have paid off a former child actor she sexually assaulted when he was 17 years old.

The New York Times reports that Argento is alleged to have paid to $380,000 USD to Jimmy Bennett, a former child actor and musician who alleged Argento had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room two months past his 17th birthday in 2013. Argento was 37 at the time. The age of consent in California is 18.

Argento and Bennett first met as co-stars in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, in which Bennett played Argento's son onscreen. The two remained close in the years that followed, referring to each other as mother and son in interviews and social media posts.

In May of 2013, the two met for a reunion at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, CA. As the Times reports, Bennett's court documents recall that Argento gave him alcohol to drink and had sexual intercourse with him.

Argento then asked him to take a number of photos, one of which she posted to Instagram later that day captioned, "Happiest day of my life reunion with @jimmymbennett xox." The photo, seen above, was included in Bennett's notice of intent, along with others that depict himself and Argento in bed with unclothed torsos exposed.

The Times reports that Bennett's notice of intent was sent a month after Argento and 12 other women accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment and rape in an investigative report published by the New Yorker.

Bennett's notice of intent asked for $3.5 million USD in damages "for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery."

The agreement between Argento and Bennett saw her agree to pay him $380,000 USD over the course of a year and a half, with an initial payment of $200,000 USD made in April of this year.

Argento and her lawyers did not respond to the Times request for comment.

UPDATE (8/20, 4:40 p.m. EDT): The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department now says it will investigate the allegations made against Argento, TMZ reports.

Earlier this year, Argento's boyfriend Anthony Bourdain died by suicide.