Models claim to have been sexually abused by French fashion titan Gerald Marie: “He tried to rape me”

Models claim to have been sexually abused by French fashion titan Gerald Marie: “He tried to rape me”

Models claim to have been sexually abused by French fashion titan Gerald Marie: “He tried to rape me”

A former titan of the fashion industry faces multiple sexual assault allegations. Fifteen women have gone to the French authorities with allegations of sexual assault against Gerald Marie, who for decades was one of the most powerful men in the modeling world.

Two of his accusers, Laurie Marsden and Lisa Brinkworth, shared their stories with CBS News.

“I started in New York City and then went to Milan, which is a kind of trajectory that a lot of models go through,” said Laurie Marsden. “And then my Milan office said, ‘Why don’t you try Paris?'”

Marsden was a top model in the 80s. She arrived in Paris at the age of 19. Her agent was Marie, who was one of the most powerful men in the modeling industry at the time. Marsden claims that Marie told her she was going to be a star. At a house party, however, he attacked her, Marsden said.

“He jumped on top of me and he pinned me down,” Marsden said. “And he tried to rape me. Finally I got out from under him and then I fled.’

“There was no question that he was there for sex,” Marsden said when asked if she believed it was an attempted rape. “And the fact that he didn’t stop, and the fact that he took my clothes off, there came a point where I said to myself, ‘You’re being raped.'”

Marsden says she did not go to the police at the time because she thought she would not be taken seriously.

The allegations of the 15 women were submitted to French authorities in September 2021. The alleged attacks took place in the 1980s and 1990s.

Another alleged victim of Marie is Lisa Brinkworth. In 1998, Brinkworth worked as an undercover journalist on a documentary about the abuse of young models. She herself posed as a model. She says she met Marie at a nightclub with other model managers.

“Gerald Marie sat next to me and he was very insistent that we sleep together,” Brinkworth said. “And then, all of a sudden, without any warning, he straddled me and pinned me against the back of my chair, and sort of simulated sex. And this went on for a while. I was absolutely terrified that I was going to be raped And I yelled, “No, no.” Then he finally got rid of me.”

Brinkworth says she recorded a video account obtained by ’60 Minutes Australia’ immediately after the attack.

“It was just absolutely horrific,” she said in the video.

However, she says she was prevented from going to the authorities because it could affect the documentary.

“After dinner, Gerald offers Marie to have a drink at his house. Sometimes he just tells them to talk about work, and eventually, when they get there, you know, he attacks them,” Anne-Claire Le Jeune, a French lawyer representing the 15 alleged victims, told CBS News in Paris, the fashion capital of the world, where Marie once sat at the top of the modeling world.

Le Jeune says most of the alleged attacks took place outside the French statute of limitations, too long ago for Marie to be charged. Marie is now retired.

“The modeling industry creates a perfect storm for predators,” Marsden said. “You have very smart older men, and then you have very young girls — 15, 16, 17 years old — thrown together.”

“It’s completely unregulated,” Brinkworth said. “Fashion actually thrives on the abuse of girls. I mean, they go hand in hand.”

Marie, who is now in her 70s, has never been charged with a crime.

“We are easily attacked,” he said in a 1999 interview when asked about some of the allegations.

His attorney told CBS News in a statement that Marie “firmly objects to the defamatory and false charges made against him” and “withholds his statements from the legal system.”