In October, controversial photographer Terry Richardson was unceremoniously dumped by several brands after publications began banning him over scores of sexual coercion allegations against him. It was a move that many believed was overdue, given how these reports have circulated for many years, but the current Harvey Weinstein-induced climate is bringing results. Now, Richardson is apparently under investigation by the NYPD in relation to an alleged sexual assault that occurred in 2003 (and per New York law, likely not subject to a statute of limitation) and other reported instances of sexual misconduct.
The New York Daily News reports that Richardson is being probed by the NYPD’s Special Victims Squad, via several women who say that detectives contacted them. In particular, former Ford runway model Caron Bernstein says the NYPD wants to discuss this alleged assault at Richardson’s studio:
He took some photos, positioned her in a chair, took more photos, exposed his penis and forced himself into her mouth, she recalled.
“It was like literally being shot with a stun gun. My brain just went on pause,” Bernstein, 47, said. “I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t performing as a model.”
“I was like a deer in the headlights,” she said. “I wasn’t drugged, I wasn’t handcuffed. Thank God that never happened. But in a weird way, that would have made it easier to forgive myself for not fighting him off.”
Richardson’s attorney has fired back to the NY Daily News while asserting that Bernstein’s contact with the photographer was all “consensual,” but she’s holding her ground. Bernstein says that she agreed to pose topless, but she accuses Richardson of ejaculating on her breasts after others left the room. To her knowledge (after being told by Richardson), the photos were a test shoot for V magazine, but the publication denied being aware of any 2003 assignment to Richardson. Whether or not the magazine was aware, the NY Daily News reports that they reviewed over 30 negatives — all of which showed Bernstein with “with semen on her breasts” (and her face cropped out) — from the shoot.
The Hollywood Reporter has subsequently reported that Model Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization, is fully cooperating with the NYPD during their investigation of Richardson.