Soap Opera Star Claims L.A. Attorney and Young Woman Tried to Extort Him
MIAMI (CN) - Spanish-language soap opera star William Levy demands $10 million from a Los Angeles attorney and his clients, claiming they tried to extort $950,000 from him with false accusations that he forced a girl to perform oral sex on him, and gave her a venereal disease.
Levy, an unmarried actor whose life has become tabloid fodder for Spanish-language media, claims attorney Steven Lerman at Steven A. Lerman & Associates "maliciously misstated the facts" in order "to blackmail/extort him into a settlement for alleged acts defendants knew were fabricated and untrue."
Levy also sued the young woman, Karla Alvarez, and her mother, Ana Saucedo, in Federal Court.
Levy acknowledges in the complaint that he spent time alone with Alvarez in his hotel room on the night of July 18-19. He claims that Alvarez told him that she was 19 years old. He disputes Alvarez's alleged claim that he "held her against her will, threatened her, strangled her and forced her to have oral copulation."
Levy claims that "On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, plaintiff was informed that defendant Alvarez had filed criminal charges against him for nonconsensual oral copulation and batter on a minor. Defendant Alvarez claimed that Levy knew she was seventeen (17) years old while she allegedly performed oral copulation on him."
Levy adds: "The allegations further state that Levy transmitted a sexually transmitted disease (hereinafter 'STD') to defendant Alvarez. All of these allegations are known to be false by defendant Lerman and Law Firm. None of these allegations were corroborated by the authorities nor is there any evidence which would support such allegations."
Levy claims that "defendant Alvarez and defendant Lerman acted in concert and with deliberate malice to cause Levy harm by virtue of attempting to blackmail/extort him into a settlement for alleged acts defendants knew were fabricated and untrue."
Levy claims that as a TV star, dependent upon his public persona, the "outlandish allegations" were intended to make him fear being cast in a negative light.
Levy claims the encounter was alleged to have occurred shortly after he began working in a show called Una Amante a la Medida (A Lover Made to Suit) in Glendale, Calif.
At the time, Levy says, Alvarez was working as a box office clerk, but she "somehow" managed to change her responsibilities to those of a personal assistant.
In this role, he said, Alvarez made several attempts to be present during his wardrobe changes. Levy claims he refused her assistance. A few nights later, Levy says, he was awakened at about 2 a.m. on July 19 by one of the show's producers, who invited him out for cocktails.
Levy says he resisted at first, but ultimately agreed to join the producer, then found that Alvarez and another producer were also waiting at the restaurant. During cocktails, he says, Alvarez moved closer to Levy and engaged him in conversation.
Levy says as the night drew to a close, he invited Alvarez to stay in his room while waiting for transportation home. She left his room at 4 a.m., he says.
Two days later, Levy says, he found that Alvarez had filed criminal charges against him, alleging nonconsensual oral copulation and battery of a minor.
Levy claims Glendale police investigated and concluded "there was no probable or sufficient cause" to proceed against him.
Shortly thereafter, Levy says, his attorney in Miami received a letter from Lerman, "implying that unless Levy paid defendant $950,000 in exchange for a release, that the matter would be 'shared' with the Spanish media and that suit would be filed in the pleading form attached to the letter."
Levy claims that "Lerman knew that the suit papers attached to the Aug. 3, 2010 letter ... maliciously misstated the facts so as to place the plaintiff in a negative light with the public. Defendant Lerman's sold purpose for the letter was to blackmail and/or extort Levy into a settlement for apprehension of having the outlandish allegations made public, given Levy's dependence on his public persona."
Levy demands $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages, alleging extortion, civil conspiracy, infliction of emotional distress, wrongful interference with economic advantage and tortious deceit.
He is represented by Ralph Patino with Patino & Associates of Coral Gables.