Russell Simmons sued for alleged sexual assault in 2016

PHOTO: Music producer Russell Simmons speaks onstage at the 2017 Make a Wish Gala, Nov. 9, 2017, in Los Angeles.PlayTiffany Rose/Getty Images for Make A Wish
WATCH Russell Simmons steps down amid sexual misconduct allegations

A California woman is suing Russell Simmons for allegedly sexually assaulting her.

Jennifer Jarosik filed a $5 million lawsuit against the founder of hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings in a California district court Wednesday, saying she suffered "numerous internal injuries, severe fright, shock, pain, discomfort and anxiety."

Simmons called the allegation "absolutely untrue" and, in a statement to ABC News, said, "I look forward to having my day in court."

Jarosik claims Simmons, who she said offered to co-produce, finance and assist with a documentary film she was making, invited her to his home in August 2016 and propositioned her for sex. She said when she refused, Simmons "got aggressive" and pushed her on his bed. During a struggle, she said she was knocked off the bed and hit her head.

The lawsuit then states that Simmons "pounced on her while she was still in shock and fear, and proceeded to rape her."

In his statement, Simmons called Jarosik's allegations "horrific."

"These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual. I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described."

He continued: "In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. The current allegations range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by 'Guilty by Accusation.'"

Jarosik's attorney, Perry Wander, responded to Simmons' statement by saying, "We’re excited to go to court."

He said that because Simmons released his statement, his client has also decided to file a criminal complaint, in addition to the civil suit, and will be meeting with the LAPD and NYPD in the coming week. "My client wasn’t going to forward with a criminal complaint but now she is," he said, adding that she is within the statue of limitations.

"She's a very spiritual person," Wander said of his client. "If he had showed her some compassion and taken responsibility ... she would have shown forgiveness."

In the suit, Jarosik said she first met Simmons in 2006 and they became friends out of a shared "love and passion for meditation, yoga and a vegan diet."

After the alleged incident, she said she told a few close friends, including her film director and editor, about the alleged incident, according to the suit. She said she confronted Simmons after other women came forward with accusations, but, she said, he "pretended it never happened," the suit says.

Jarosik is asking for at least $5 million in damages and a jury trial.

Over the past few months, at least six other women have come forward to accuse Simmons, 60, of sexual misconduct. In November, the former CEO of Rush Communications announced that he was stepping down from his companies. In December, an NYPD spokesman told ABC News that authorities were investigating multiple allegations of sexual assault made against him.

Simmons' full statement is below:

"This allegation is absolutely untrue. I look forward to having my day in court -- where, unlike the court of public opinion, I will have the ability to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known. In the meantime, please understand that I will not litigate this matter in the media. I am confident that when all is said and all is done, it will be as clear to others as it is to me that I did not do what this lawsuit accuses me of doing.

"These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual. I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power. I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described. In recent weeks, some former business, creative and romantic partners have aired grievances as claims I categorically reject. In some of these instances, financial motives and direct contradictory witness testimony has been supplied to the media, which has been completely left out of stories. The current allegations range from the patently untrue to the frivolous and hurtful. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty must not be replaced by 'Guilty by Accusation.'

"I have already apologized for the instances of thoughtlessness in my consensual relations. I have separated myself from my businesses and charities in order to not become a distraction. I have re-dedicated myself to spiritual learning, healing and working on behalf of the communities to which I have devoted my life. I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women. What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done. I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence."

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