(LOS ANGELES) — A lawsuit filed in California alleges that professional boxer and former heavyweight champion George Foreman sexually assaulted at least two women in the 1970s, when they were teenagers and below the age of consent.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, does not identify Foreman by name, but identifies the alleged abuser as a former professional heavyweight boxer who defeated Joe Frazier in 1973 to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Foreman became champion after he defeated Frazier on Jan. 22, 1973.
Foreman has denied the allegations in a statement to ABC News, alleging people are “trying to extort millions of dollars each from me and my family.”
The lawsuit, filed by a woman identified as Denise S., alleges Foreman started “grooming” her at an early age by taking her out for ice cream and allowing her to sit in his lap as he drove his car, according to the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Denise S. is the daughter of an Oakland-based boxer who trained with Foreman in the early 1970s. She allegedly met Forman when she was around 8 years old.
According to the suit, the alleged sexual assault and misconduct occurred when Denise S. was 13 to 16 years old, below the legal age of consent. Foreman was over the age of 23, the suit said.
Foreman and Denise S. allegedly had sexual intercourse several times when she was 15 years old and she alleges she was sexually abused by Foreman in a San Francisco hotel on at least one occasion, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is filed under a new California law that increases the limit for when someone can bring a legal action to recover damages from childhood sexual assault.
The law allows accusers to bring a suit 22 years from the date the plaintiff reaches the age of majority, 18 in California, or within five years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness after the age of 18 was the caused by the sexual assault, whichever is later.
Denise S. alleges she suffered injuries, including physical and mental pain and suffering, past and future costs of medical care and treatment and past and future loss of earnings and earning capacity, “in an amount not yet ascertained, but which exceeds the minimum jurisdictional limits of this Court,” according to the lawsuit.
She is asking for a jury trial and an unspecified amount of damages.
Denise S. alleges in the suit that she disclosed the abuse to a friend and business associate of Foreman, identified as “Ron,” who allegedly said he was aware of at least one other victim that Foreman sexually abused when she was a minor, according to the lawsuit.
According to the suit, Ron confronted Foreman about the abuse of the two minors on at least one occasion, and Foreman allegedly did not deny the allegations.
According to the New York Times, a second lawsuit was filed by a woman using the pseudonym Gwen H. who alleges she met Foreman when she was under the age of 10 and was groomed by him.
It’s unclear if “Gwen H” is the other teenager Ron allegedly knew Foreman abused.
In a statement to ABC News, Foreman said he will work with his lawyers to “fully and truthfully expose my accusers’ scheme and defend myself in court. I don’t pick fights, but I don’t run away from them either.”
“They are falsely claiming that I sexually abused them over 45 years ago in the 1970s. I adamantly and categorically deny these allegations. The pride I take in my reputation means as much to me as my sports accomplishments, and I will not be intimidated by baseless threats and lies,” Foreman said.
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