The New York Police Department is investigating embattled Hollywood director Bryan Singer for a forcible sexual assault that was allegedly committed last year against a man in his twenties, an NYPD spokesperson has told BuzzFeed News.
The 48-year-old Singer, known for directing the X-Men movies, has not been charged with a crime. Whether he ever will be depends largely on what the investigation turns up. Two civil lawsuits accusing Singer of sexual abuse of underage boys have recently been dropped.
Singer's lawyer, Martin Singer (no relation), wrote in an email, "Neither my client nor any of his representatives have been contacted by the NYPD, or anyone else about an alleged criminal investigation of my client. My client did not engage in any criminal or inappropriate behavior with anyone in New York or elsewhere." He added, "False investigations are filed all the time and no action is taken by the authorities."
Martin Singer also accused BuzzFeed of conducting "a witch hunt against my client because he is gay" and warned that publishing the story would expose BuzzFeed "to tens of millions of dollars in damages."
After a tip from a confidential source, BuzzFeed asked the NYPD if it was investigating Bryan Singer over a complaint about sexual assault. "We have a formal compliant [sic] on file for criminal sexual act," NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster replied in an email Wednesday. "The complaint was filed on May 9th of this year, however the incident occurred on March 23, 2013. The case is open and being investigated by our Special Victims Squad."
In a follow-up interview Thursday, Royster said the case involved a male in his twenties who was allegedly forcibly sexually assaulted. She said the suspect is Bryan Singer. She said she could give no more information about the victim because it's a sexual assault case.
Asked if it is unusual for Singer not to have been contacted, she replied, "I'm not sure of that," adding "not necessarily if you're building a case."
Told of what Royster said in the follow-up interview, another attorney for Singer, Andrew Brettler, wrote to BuzzFeed, "Your source is obviously not reliable. Less than 12 hours ago, you claimed that our client was being investigated for a criminal sexual act under the statute that covers sex with underage minors. Now you are claiming that the alleged complaining witness is a male in his 20s. Are you going to identify your alleged NYPD source by name in the defamatory story you intend to publish?"
Deputy Chief Royster is the commanding officer of the NYPD's public information division.
Under New York law, a criminal sexual act applies to an adult having sex with someone who is underage. The statute also covers sexual acts between adults when, for example, the sex is by "forcible compulsion" or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because he is "physically helpless" or "mentally incapacitated."
Singer's Twitter feed appears to indicate that he was in the New York City area on March 23, the date of the alleged incident.
Bryan Singer eats ice cream with a friend who is not known to have a connection to the case.
This new revelation comes just when two bombshell civil lawsuits against Singer for allegedly sexually abusing underage boys were fizzling. In April, former aspiring actor Michael Egan sued Bryan Singer in federal court in Hawaii, roiling Hollywood with his accusations that the director had drugged and raped him about 15 years ago, when Egan was underage. Singer adamantly denied Egan's allegations. After Egan was caught in contradictory statements and fell out with his lawyer, his suit was withdrawn Wednesday, though he could refile.
In his email, Singer's lawyer accused BuzzFeed of "acting as a shill and publicist for Michael Egan and his attorneys."
Singer was also the target of a second sex abuse lawsuit filed in May by a young British actor identified only as John Doe 117, who also accused Singer of drugging him before having sex. Singer denied these allegations too. That case was dropped on July 25, with the accuser relinquishing his right to file another suit on the same claims.
The complaint alleging a criminal sexual act was filed with the NYPD shortly after the second lawsuit, in the midst of heated media coverage surrounding Egan's and John Doe 117's accusations. But it had not been made public until now.
Singer has directed numerous Hollywood films, including The Usual Suspects. His most recent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was released in May and so far has grossed more than $744 million worldwide.