Sean 'Diddy' Combs has been sued by singer, actress and model Cassie Ventura over allegations of sexual and physical assault. The allegations relate to a number of incidents that occurred during the more than a decade that Combs and Ventura were in a relationship. The singer was also signed to the rapper’s Bad Boy Entertainment company.
Her lawsuit, filed with the courts in New York, states that: "Ms Ventura has now fully escaped Mr Combs, but the harm that the assaults and sexual abuse he caused her to experience for nearly a decade will forever haunt her. She has required intensive medical and psychological care to recover from the trauma she lived through".
"Ms Ventura met Mr Combs in 2005, when she was nineteen years old and he was 37 years old", the legal filing explains. "He signed her to his label Bad Boy Records and, within a few years, lured Ms Ventura into an ostentatious, fast-paced and drug-fuelled lifestyle, and into a romantic relationship with him - her boss, one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry, and a vicious, cruel and controlling man nearly two decades her senior".
The lawsuit, which begins with a trigger warning, then sets out a number of specific claims about Combs’s conduct, including allegations of rape and other sexual assaults and physical violence, and in relation to his use of firearms.
Ventura has gone legal now because of the Adult Survivors Act in New York state, which provides a one year window in which victims of alleged sexual offences can file new proceedings even if an incident took place sufficiently long ago that legal action would usually be prevented by the statute of limitations. The deadline for filing lawsuits under the act is 24 Nov.
A legal representative for Combs has confirmed that his client "vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations". He added that Ventura had previously demanded $30 million from Combs "under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship", but that this demand "was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail".
"Despite withdrawing her initial threat", the lawyer continued, "Ms Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr Combs's reputation, and seeking a pay day".
Ventura’s lawyers, meanwhile, have unsurprisingly hit back at the blackmail claim. “Mr Combs offered Ms Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit", they told reporters. "She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all women who suffer in silence. Ms Ventura should be applauded for her bravery".