Radar Sullied Name of Tom Cruise Bodygard, He Says
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - As Tom Cruise took on careless reporting, Radar Online doubled down by lying about his former bodyguard, a federal complaint alleges.
Sean Ringgold sued Radar Online for defamation today over the splashy headline it ran on Nov. 11, 2013, "Bodyguard-to-the-Stars & Soap Star Sean Ringgold Grand Jury Rape Investigation."
Ringgold says that Radar claimed he had been charged with or accused of rape, even though it knew that was not the case.
It allegedly emphasized the untrue rape "accusation in bold lettering," "in an attempt to ... increase traffic to [its] website."
Retaliation also inspired Radar's story, according to the seven-page complaint, which alleges that the article somehow gave Radar "a litigation advantage in the ongoing lawsuit commenced against [Radar] by Tom Cruise."
Indeed, just over a month later, Cruise withdrew the lawsuit "by stipulation of parties," according to the complaint.
Cruise's lawsuit had stemmed from Radar's false allegation that he had "abandon[ed] [his daughter] Suri" during the divorce with Katie Holmes, the former bodyguard says.
Radar allegedly stopped using the word "rape" as it tracked the Ringgold story.
"Ringgold will perpetually be known as a rapist based solely upon the conduct of the defendant," the complaint states.
All criminal charges against him were dropped in September, he says.
According to a document that Ringgold attached as an exhibit, a grand jury in Hudson County, N.J., eventually handed down an indictment that said he "knowingly did commit an act of sexual contact" with someone, "using physical force or coercion."
Nowhere in the indictment does it say the word "rape."
Earlier this month, Radar pushed a story stating that Ringgold was "cleared of rape charges."
Ringgold is represented in the defamation suit for damages by Manhattan attorney Thomas Shanahan.
Aside from his bodyguard-to-the-stars duties, the Queens man is also an actor on the ABC soap "One Life To Live."
Tom Cruise brought a complaint over "Abandoned" Suri headlines published by In Touch and Life & Style in October 2012.