NEW YORK — Sex trafficking charges might bring a mandatory wardrobe change to an orange jumpsuit for Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
Nygard — accused of carrying out his scheme by throwing “pamper parties” — was slapped Tuesday with criminal charges that he drugged and sexually abused dozens of women and girls over a 25-year period in the U.S., the Bahamas and Canada.
Prosecutors said Nygard maintained “personal and quasi-professional relationships” with women he referred to as “girlfriends” or “assistants.”
The women traveled with Nygard and were allegedly expected to recruit new victims. The “girlfriends” were drugged, plied with alcohol and berated if they did not join in sexual activity, according to the Manhattan Federal Court indictment.
Nygard threw “pamper parties” at his properties in Marina del Rey, California, and the Bahamas that featured free food, drink and spa services. The extravagant shindigs gave Nygard and other men opportunities to ambush women — many of whom were seeking to make it in the fashion business, prosecutors wrote.
“Some unwilling participants, including minors, were drugged to force their compliance with his sexual demands. Other victims had no advance warning of Nygard’s interest in sexual activity before being lured to a secluded area of the property where Nygard used physical force and/or psychological pressure to coerce sex,” read a release from acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
Nygard, 79, resigned from his namesake company in February after the feds raided his Times Square headquarters. He was arrested Monday in Winnipeg, Manitoba, his hometown.
The mogul was due to appear in a Canadian courtroom in connection with an extradition request from Manhattan federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Nygard also victimized women through swingers parties and sexual swaps with women brought by other men, according to the indictment.
“Nygard did not inform ‘girlfriends’ in advance that he would trade them for sex and often used manipulation, intimidation, degradation, and threats to ensure compliance,” prosecutors wrote.
The “girlfriends” were given cocaine and ecstasy before sexual activity and were expected to indulge Nygard, including orders they have sex with him and each other, prosecutors wrote. At Nygard’s properties the women were under “constant surveillance” and allowed to leave only with his permission, according to the indictment.
A spokesman for Nygard did not respond to an inquiry. The mogul has claimed in court that the allegations he staged abusive orgies for more than two decades are part of a conspiracy launched by his Bahamas neighbor, billionaire hedge funder Louis Bacon.
Nygard’s fashion empire allegedly played a critical role in his trafficking scheme. He put “girlfriends” on the company payroll as models and assistants. Company employees recruited new victims to the pamper parties, prosecutors charged.
Employees had the responsibility of “screening attendees for their physical appearance to confirm that Nygard would find them attractive, and maintaining a register of Pamper Party attendees’ personal information, documenting their names, contact information, weight, and physical measurements,” according to a release. The information was maintained on a company server.
Nygard Group staff was also expected to make sure the boss had a steady supply of condoms, lube and cash, according to the indictment.
Nygard is charged with racketeering and sex trafficking, including of a minor.
The allegations against Nygard first emerged in a civil lawsuit filed in February by seven women who said he sexually assaulted them at his Bahamas retreat when they were teens. Nygard asked guests to defecate on him, urinate in his mouth and use a sex toy on him, the 99-page lawsuit alleged.
Visitors to the mogul’s island getaway reportedly included Prince Andrew, who is also alleged to have abused a victim of another notorious sex trafficker: Jeffrey Epstein.
“On behalf of the dozens of survivors of decades-long abuse, we are encouraged that a small measure of justice for Peter Nygard is finally developing. We are relieved that some degree of accountability is hopefully forthcoming, but we would be remiss if we did not state that this is something that should have been done decades ago. We also hope that his accomplices and co-conspirators are brought to justice for their web of lies and abuse,” said Greg Gutzler, an attorney for 86 Nygard accusers.
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