Model Sues Top Agency, Alleges Sexual Battery - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Model Sues Top Agency, Alleges Sexual Battery

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - A former beauty queen has sued International Creative Management, claiming the firm and one of its top talent agents subjected her to unwanted sexual advances.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Claire Robinson alleges ICM and agent Jack Gilardi exploited the former Miss British Columbia and that she was sent to auditions for roles that didn't exist or weren't available to her. She alleges that one of Gilardi's friends, John Rockwell, introduced her to the agent and in 2008 threatened and raped her.

The talent agency denies Robinson's allegations. A phone message left Tuesday for Rockwell, who isn't affiliated with ICM, wasn't returned.

"ICM denies any and all wrongdoing," said Michelle Suess, an agency spokeswoman. "Ms. Robinson's allegations are completely baseless and ICM will vigorously defend this action."

The class-action lawsuit also seeks to end a practice it calls "hip pocketing," in which an agent sends young, aspiring actresses on fake auditions that quickly turn to sexual harassment.

Robinson's suit also claims that Gilardi inappropriately touched her while en route in an ICM limousine to a stuntmen awards show in 2007.

The lawsuit seeks millions in damages and a judge's order to end "hip pocketing" at ICM, which the suit claims has been going on for years.

ICM represents some of the entertainment industry's biggest names, including Chris Rock and Beyonce Knowles. Gilardi, who was married to actress Annette Funicello, has represented actors such as James Caan, Charlton Heston and Burt Reynolds.

Attorneys for Robinson, 23, say they're hoping to find women who may have received similar treatment within the past four years. Robinson's suit claims her career was irreparably damaged by ICM and Rockwell's alleged actions and that she suffered a nervous breakdown as a result.

Besides fraud, negligent supervision and a sexual battery claim against Rockwell, the suit seeks civil damages against ICM under a legal procedure often reserved for the mob or gangs.

The suit wants to designate the talent agency under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, also known as RICO. If a judge allows that claim, Robinson's attorneys, Perry Wander and Mitch Kalcheim, say they intend to seek triple the amount of Robinson's actual damages. They're also seeking 10 percent of ICM's gross earnings for one year as punitive damages if Robinson's lawsuit succeeds.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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