Sex trafficking co-conspirators are being identified by other insiders as international actress and model faces accusation of recruiting rape victims
NEW YORK – According to a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida on October 21, 2020, Instagram model, Suelyn Medeiros, knowingly and actively recruited young women for Nygard to rape and sexually assault as part of a sweeping international sex trafficking venture. The recently filed lawsuit is consistent with existing claims that Peter Nygard’s decades-long sex trafficking network was facilitated by co-conspirators who aided and abetted the embattled fashion designer. According to the victims’ lawyers, several co-conspirators have also come forward admitting to their own wrongdoing and identifying others who were also complicit.
“We have dozens of co-conspirators, in several countries, that our investigation has identified. We know the truth and that truth will be told,” said Greg Gutzler, of the victims’ attorneys. “They should come forward now and cooperate with our investigation to help the victims and to hold Nygard accountable. Those who choose to hide will be brought to justice.”
In a recently filed case in New York, Plaintiffs alleged that Nygard raped and sexually assaulted at least 57 women, including several when they were minors, as part of a decades-long sex trafficking conspiracy that included the Nygard corporate entities, corporate officers and directors, and numerous paid recruiters and facilitators. In the Florida case, Suelyn Medeiros was identified as one of the most prominent recruiters for the sex trafficking venture. Included among Nygard’s accusers are two of his sons, who say their father sex trafficked them when they were 14 and 15 years old.
The action against Medeiros was filed by one of the 57 named plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit filed against Nygard in New York federal court in February 2020, who says Medeiros knowingly lured her from her native Florida to the Bahamas in 2010 when she was 18 years old, for the purpose of aiding and abetting Nygard to drug and forcibly rape her. At the time an aspiring model, according to the Complaint, Medeiros invited the victim to a party in Miami then took her to a nightclub and gave her alcohol, knowing she was 18 years old. Preying on the young woman’s innocence and dream of being a model, Medeiros lured her to travel to the Bahamas for a “fun party weekend,” saying her “friend” owned a fashion company. “Medeiros invited Jane Doe knowing that Peter Nygard would use means of force, fraud, and coercion to engage in commercial sex acts with her.”
The Complaint alleges that soon after arriving at Nygard’s gated Bahamas compound, the victim realized she was not free to leave without his explicit permission.
“While confined within the Nygard compound, Medeiros instructed Jane Doe that she was required to have sex with Nygard against Jane Doe’s wishes, stating that she shouldn’t worry because sex with Nygard ‘wasn’t that bad’ and would be ‘really fast and easy’,” the lawsuit claims.
When she refused, the lawsuit claims that Medeiros abruptly announced that she was leaving the Bahamas and left the victim at Nygard’s compound alone. The lawsuit adds: “While isolated and confined within the Nygard compound, Nygard approached Jane Doe, and instructed her that she was going with him to his bedroom. Nygard forced Jane Doe onto his bed, holding her arms down and ignoring her attempts to tell him ‘no.’ Nygard then forcibly raped her. The next morning, Nygard handed Jane Doe $500 in U.S. currency.”
According to the Complaint, Medeiros is a key member of Nygard’s sex trafficking venture as well as one of his many “girlfriends,” who are required to recruit and lure other young women to have sex with him or if they refuse, face being “raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually battered.”
Nygard’s girlfriends’ level of pay was based on “their race, ethnicity, physical appearance, the level of sexual depravity they would engage in with Nygard and, also, the number of attractive young women they could lure for Nygard to have sex with and often rape,” the lawsuit says.
In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs identifies Medeiros as Nygard’s “top girlfriend,” living in his Marina del Rey compound for at least five years, and receiving significant cash, salary, jewelry, plastic surgery, stem cell injections, and cars, according to the lawsuit. Flight logs show that in just a four-month period, Medeiros flew on Nygard’s private jet on nearly 30 trips.
According to the Complaint, in late 2019, Medeiros conspired with Nygard to obstruct investigations into his sex trafficking network, flying to his Winnipeg compound several times to “do damage control, including concocting lies in which Nygard instructed Medeiros to falsely claim she was ‘always’ with him for wide swaths of time so she could be his alibi.”
In February of this year, Federal agents and New York police officers raided Nygard’s Manhattan headquarters and his Los Angeles home, following a five-month investigation into allegations of sexual assault by a joint child exploitation task force including F.B.I. agents and the NYPD.
In July, Medeiros was arrested in Rio de Janeiro after police found her with cocaine and pills hidden on her person. She posted bail after being charged with possession of narcotic drugs.
“This is the beginning of a journey for justice for all of our survivors. We will be bringing several more cases to ensure accountability,” Gutzler said.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
About DiCello Levitt Gutzler
DiCello Levitt combines excellence in commercial litigation, class action litigation, mass tort litigation, catastrophic injury litigation, medical malpractice litigation, and civil rights litigation. Practicing nationwide—and internationally—from offices in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, St. Louis, and Washington, DC, we are an aggressive, attentive, and creative complex litigation firm whose work speaks for itself—billions of dollars in recoveries in some of the highest-profile matters in U.S. history. Revered by clients and respected by defense counsel, our team gets results.