LOS ANGELES (CN) — TV producer and screenwriter Eric Weinberg has been charged in the sexual assaults of five women going back to 2014, making him the latest Hollywood bigwig to get caught up in the reckoning of decades of sexual abuse of women in the entertainment industry.
Weinberg, 62, faces 18 counts of forcible rape and sexual battery, among other charges. He stands accused of approaching young women in public and using his Hollywood credentials to lure them to his house where he assaulted them.
At a press conference Wednesday announcing the charges, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gasćon praised the courage and strength the women Weinberg is accused of assaulting have shown in coming forward.
"Without them we would not be able to hold this individual accountable," Gasćon said. "And we're hoping that there are other victims out there who will come forward. We know there are many more."
Weinberg is best known for his work on "Scrubs," a sitcom set in a teaching hospital that ran on NBC and ABC from 2001 to 2010. Since his initial arrest in July, dozens of additional potential victims have contacted law enforcement, according to the DA, and the investigation is ongoing.
An attorney for Weinberg didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the charges.
Since the #MeToo movement gained momentum with the exposure of producer Harvey Weinstein's misdeeds in 2017, dozens of hitherto untouchable men in the entertainment industry — and other industries and in sports and academia — have faced accusations of using their influence and power to prey on women and girls. Weinstein is scheduled to go on trial this month in LA; he's already been convicted of sex crimes in New York.
Another high-profile accused Hollywood sexual predator going on trial this month in LA is Danny Masterson. Police charged Masterson in June 2020 with three counts of felony rape "by force or fear" that prosecutors say took place in the early 2000s, when Masterson starred in the popular sitcom "That '70s Show." Masterson has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.
Weinberg left jail after posting $5 million bail. Prosecutors unsuccessfully lobbied the judge to deny bail because he is a danger to the public, prompting Gasćon to express his unhappiness with the current bail system that predominately, he said, benefits the rich.
"If you're wealthy, you get to bail out — if you're poor, you get to stay in, regardless of the seriousness of the offense, regardless of the danger you may present to society," he said.
"Mr. Weinberg was able to commit his crimes using his power and wealth and privilege, and he's now been able to leave custody using his wealth."Follow @edpettersson
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