New York Knicks team owner James Dolan was named in a lawsuit filed in California alleging that he sexually assaulted and trafficked a masseuse. The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 16 and claims that in November 2013 Dolan sexually assaulted the plaintiff, Kellye Croft, while his band was on tour with The Eagles. In that instance, the lawsuit alleges that while Croft was massaging Dolan the Knicks team owner was “extremely assertive, and pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him,” despite her being adamant that she did not want to engage in any sexual activity with him. Following that incident, according to the lawsuit, Dolan repeatedly made sexual advances toward Croft.
In another incident at end of 2013, the lawsuit states that Croft was flown out to California in what she thought was to work as a massage therapist. However, the lawsuit states those were “fradulent pretenses” and instead Croft was “trafficked” by Dolan to “engage in unlawful and unwelcome sex acts with her.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Dolan “fraudulently coordinated” a meeting between Croft and convicted sex offender and former movie producer Harvey Weinstein in January 2014, which led to Croft being sexually assaulted by Weinstein. The lawsuit alleges that Dolan knew about Weinstein’s history of sexually assaulting and abusing women, and when Croft alerted Dolan of the sexual assault by Weinstein he did nothing about it.
“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice,” Croft said in a statement. “But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability. James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein. My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”
In a statement by Dolan’s lawyer, E. Danya Perry, he is denying the allegations against him while also denying that he knew about Weinstein’s history.
“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan. Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship. The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. These claims reflect an act of retaliation by an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Mr. Dolan and has not, and cannot, win a judgement against him. Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that he was aware of the lawsuit, and that the league would “stand by and wait to find out more information.”
Dolan, 68, is the chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden Sports, the group that manages the Knicks and Rangers. He is also the chairman of MSG Networks.
Croft is seeking monetary damages and is demanding a trial by jury on the lawsuit.