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Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, has been accused of having sexual relations with an underage woman allegedly trafficked by a billionaire who previously pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution. Dershowitz denies the allegations and says he will take legal action to disprove them.
The accusations came in a Dec. 30, 2014, civil filing in federal court in Florida, alleging that Dershowitz had sexual relations with a then-underaged woman that the court documents identify as “Jane Doe No. 3.” According to the court filing, “Jane Doe No. 3” entered those relations with Dershowitz at the urgings of Jeffrey E. Epstein, a billionaire who was released from prison in 2009 after pleading guilty in state court to soliciting prostitution.
The Dec. 30 filing alleges that Epstein “forced” “Jane Doe No. 3” to have sexual relations with Dershowitz “while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” The filing also accuses Epstein of trafficking “Jane Doe No. 3” to “many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders.”
Dershowitz was one of the lawyers who negotiated the plea deal which prevented Epstein’s prosecution in federal court. The court filing alleges that the agreement that Dershowitz negotiated—which also barred federal prosecution of any of Epstein’s “potential co-conspirators”—“provided protection for himself against criminal prosecution in Florida.”
The Dec. 30 court filing is part of civil case challenging Epstein’s plea deal. The filing also includes allegations against Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and a member of the British royal family.
In an interview Sunday, Dershowitz denied even the possibility that the accusations against him are true and said he will take action to disprove them. Specifically, he said he would file to intervene in the case so as to “prove under oath that [the accusations] never happened.”
Dershowitz called the allegations “totally false and totally made up in every respect.”
“I will be completely vindicated,” he said.
Dershowitz criticized “Jane Doe No. 3” and her lawyers for making the accusation in a court filing for a case to which he is not a party and challenged “Jane Doe No. 3” to file a criminal rape charge against him so that he can respond to the allegations in court. He also challenged her and her lawyers to “repeat the charges in public.”
“Jane Doe No. 3,” in an emailed statement provided by her lawyer, Paul G. Cassell, wrote that she looks “forward to vindicating my rights as an innocent victim and pursuing all available recourse” and would not “be bullied back into silence."
The accusations against Dershowitz come amidst controversy and debate at the Law School over how colleges and universities should adjudicate cases of alleged sexual harassment. Dershowitz is one of more than two dozen Law School professors who signed an October open letter to The Boston Globe criticizing Harvard’s sexual harassment procedures for “lack[ing] the most basic elements of fairness and due process.”
Following faculty discontent over Harvard’s approach, the Law School adopted new procedures for responding to sexual harassment cases that are pending review by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The pending procedures offer legal counsel to all concerned parties and feature a three-person adjudicatory panel composed of non-Harvard affiliated experts.
In the interview Sunday, Dershowitz brought up the debate over Harvard’s sexual harassment policy and procedures. He called it “fascinating” that what he claims are false accusations of sexual misconduct came after he and other Law School professors “demand[ed] due process for Harvard students in cases of sexual assault.” He said he is “even more committed” to incorporating due process into sexual assault adjudication procedures now that he has been accused of misconduct.
Dershowitz, who is known for representing Claus von Bülow and O.J. Simpson, retired last academic year from the Law School after 50 years there.
—Staff writer Andrew M. Duehren can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @aduehren14.
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