NEW YORK — Two of a Canadian fashion mogul’s sons have filed a lawsuit against their father claiming they were statutorily raped at his direction when they were teenagers.
The lawsuit says the sons want to shine the light of truth on Peter Nygard’s sexual abuse. It alleges that Nygard, 79, arranged the rapes of his sons by a sex worker.
“Each of the sons has experienced, first-hand, the destruction caused by Peter Nygard’s sex trafficking venture and, through their truth, stand for accountability and justice,” says the lawsuit filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Nygard, through his lawyer, said Monday that he was shocked by the allegations and categorically denied them.
The lawsuit says the sons’ names are being withheld for their protection.
It alleges that in 2018 Nygard’s 14-year-old son was brought from California to Winnipeg, where Nygard arranged for a woman to have sex with the teen to “make a man” out of him. The woman was a longtime “girlfriend” of Nygard, the document says.
The lawsuit also claims that Nygard instructed the same woman to have sex with another son, when he was 15, in the Bahamas in 2004.
The suit names privately held Nygard Inc., Nygard International and Nygard Holdings Ltd. as defendants. Nygard’s sexual predation is an “open secret” at the Nygard companies, the lawsuit alleges.
The sons are asking for a trial by jury and are seeking yet-to-be determined damages.
Nygard is facing a separate class-action lawsuit by 57 women alleging he used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to sexually assault them and avoid accountability for decades.
Many allegations from the women — who are from Canada, the Bahamas, the United States and the United Kingdom — date back decades. Two women allege they were as young as 14 when they were sexually assaulted.
The law firm representing the women is also counsel for Nygard’s sons.
“The bravery of these two young men, who have come forward to testify to their own father’s heinous, decades-long career of shocking sexual crimes, corroborates what so many survivors have already revealed,” said co-counsel Greg Gutzler.
Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, said the allegations are part of an ongoing publicity campaign against his client. Nygard has previously denied all allegations and blamed them on a feud with his billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas.
Prober said the sons’ allegations are lacking in detail because the rapes never happened.
“They are without merit and he categorically denies them,” Prober said.
Nygard was once one of the richest people in Canada. He started his clothing company in Winnipeg more than 50 years ago.
The lawsuit says Nygard has an estimated net worth of about $900 million.
In February, soon after the women’s initial lawsuit was filed, the FBI and police in New York City raided his offices and Nygard stepped down as chairman of his company.
In court filings in July, Nygard argues the New York court does not have jurisdiction to hear the original lawsuit.
Nygard has said Manitoba has been his primary residence since the start of 2019. Before that, his main home was in Nassau in the Bahamas, where he has permanent residency.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2020
— By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg
The Canadian Press