AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Beverly Hills man accused in a civil lawsuit of raping a former beauty queen who also sued a top Hollywood talent agency has denied her claims through his lawyer.
Claire Robinson, a former Miss British Columbia, filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday against talent agency International Creative Management and John Rockwell. The suit alleges that Rockwell raped her in 2008 and that he introduced her to a top ICM agent who sent her on phony auditions that resulted in sexual harassment.
Robinson also claims the agent, Jack Gilardi, inappropriately touched her in a company limousine while the pair were headed to a stuntman's award show in 2007.
ICM, which represents stars such as comedian Chris Rock and singer Beyonce Knowles, has denied the allegations against the firm and Gilardi as well.
"Mr. Rockwell had a personal relationship with the plaintiff for over a year," Jon Freis, Rockwell's attorney, said in a statement Friday. "During the course of the relationship, they had consensual sexual relations on many occasions. Mr. Rockwell will be vindicated 100 percent at trial in this matter on any claim of rape."
The statement also said that Rockwell introduced Robinson to entertainment industry contacts to try to jump-start her career as an actress. The statement called Robinson's allegations of sexual exploitation "absolutely false."
Robinson's lawyer, Perry C. Wander, said Robinson and Rockwell never had a personal relationship.
"Mr. Rockwell's claims reflect a person who is living in a fantasy," Wander said. "At no time was Ms. Robinson in a sexual, or personal relationship with Mr. Rockwell."
He said Robinson never pursued criminal charges against Rockwell because she had a nervous breakdown after the abuse and her family took her back to Canada. He said Robinson, 23, decided to pursue a civil case in the hopes of preventing abuse for other women.
He said the case is likely to end Robinson's career hopes in the United States, just as he said a criminal case would have if she pursued one.
"There's really no incentive for a girl to come forward," Wander said.
Robinson's suit seeks millions in damages for the model and others who may have been subjected to similar conduct. The suit also seeks a judge's ruling to end a practice called "hip-pocketing" in which an agent claims they will represent an actress, but never formally take them on as a client.
Robinson's lawsuit claims in her case, she was "hip-pocketed" and sent on auditions for roles that didn't exist or she couldn't get, and she was subjected to harassment instead.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.