Now that the magnitude of Hollywood’s sexual abuse problem has come to light, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Thursday it will be creating a special task force dedicated solely to investigating claims of harassment and abuse.
The move comes as police continue to investigate allegations against some of Hollywood’s bigwigs, including producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback, and actors Ed Westwick, among others.
According to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, the team will be made up of “veteran sex crimes prosecutors.”
“In response to the widespread allegations of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, I have established a task force of specially trained deputy district attorneys who are ready to evaluate these cases if any are referred to my office for criminal prosecution,” Lacey said in a statement.
“I have assigned the group of veteran sex crimes prosecutors to work together to ensure a uniformed approach to the legal review and possible prosecution of any case that meets both the legal and factual standards for criminal prosecution.”
Since The New York Times broke the story about Weinstein, more than 75 women have come forward publicly accusing the movie mogul of inappropriate sexual behavior, including sexual harassment and rape.
While police departments in London, New York, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills are looking into potential criminal charges against Weinstein, only the NYPD has said they believe they have enough evidence to make an arrest based on actress Paz de la Huerta’s allegations Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.
“I believe based on my interviews with Paz that from the NYPD standpoint we have enough to make an arrest,” Nicholas DiGaudio, the NYPD officer in charge of the investigation, told Vanity Fair earlier this month.