Update: Since the publication of this story, the plaintiff withdrew her claims against Kevin Mahaney from the lawsuit.
A prominent alumnus of Middlebury College has been tied to a sexual assault case in the New York supreme court. In a civil lawsuit filed in January, Kevin Mahaney ’84, a major benefactor of the college and the namesake of its Center for the Arts, was accused of helping to “cover-up” and “emotionally manipulate” a 20-year-old woman after she had been allegedly raped and tortured in a Manhattan penthouse in 2015.
The allegation is the fourth sexual assault lawsuit brought against Howard Rubin, 62, a wealthy Wall Street investment manager. Although Mahaney denies any personal relationship with Rubin, Mahaney was named in the lawsuit after having a long-term “friendship” with the young woman.
The emergence of Mahaney in the suit — which alleges that he paid for the woman’s college tuition and rent in Los Angeles after the alleged rape, urging her not to report it to the police or seek medical treatment — comes a full two years after the initial alleged assault by Rubin.
The woman, who was allowed to proceed in the courts under a pseudonym, Julie Parker, met Mahaney, 55, at the Polo Lounge in Los Angeles in 2015. She was 20 at the time of their meeting, and according to the lawsuit, the two quickly became friends despite their age difference.
Shortly after, Mahaney flew the woman to New York, where their “friendship,” as referred to in the lawsuit, evolved into a relationship in which Mahaney “encouraged [Parker] to treat him as a ‘mentor’ and ‘confidant.’ ” The two never had sexual intercourse, but their relationship remained ambiguous — they sometimes “cuddled and kissed,” according to the lawsuit.
After spending time together, Parker told Mahaney that she hoped to attend college, but that her financial situation made the goal elusive. Mahaney, according to the lawsuit, put Parker in touch with a third party, Nicole Minton, who he claimed would connect Parker with a “wealthy guy willing to pay for having lunch and drinks together.” The client was Rubin and he offered the plaintiff $2,000 in exchange for lunch.
According to the lawsuit, the victim met Rubin in the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan on Nov. 5, 2015, where he provided her caviar and alcohol. After several rounds of tequila and other drinks, the suit stated, Rubin’s assistant supposedly arrived at the midtown establishment mid-meal, clutching a non-disclosure agreement. The agreement claimed that any disclosure of the interactions between Rubin and the plaintiff would leave her vulnerable to being sued for up to $1 million.
Allegedly, the victim asked Mr. Rubin and his assistant why she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. He responded that it was to protect his marriage and children, as well as his business, the suit said, and so Parker signed it. “Hindsight is 20/20,” the lawsuit says. “It was an intoxicated, impromptu decision made by the plaintiff without legal counsel or even the thought that something horrible was about to transpire.”
The complaint said that Parker was then escorted by Rubin to his apartment tower next door.
The lawsuit details a violent attack involving electrocuting devices, clamps and other instruments in what Rubin called his “toy room,” a 200- to 300-square-foot space that other victims dubbed the “dungeon.” The suit further states that Rubin used a date rape drug on Parker and tied her wrists in order to immobilize her. He then punched and slapped her before sodomizing her with a dildo and later raping her himself. After assaulting her, he supposedly “thanked her for a pleasurable experience” before leaving to meet his wife and children for dinner.
Rubin’s lawyer declined to comment on the allegations.
On Monday, a spokesperson for Mahaney dismissed any notion of a cover-up. “As we have said all along, Kevin Mahaney did not introduce the plaintiff to Howard Rubin and does not know him, so Mahaney’s alleged participation in this incident is not just implausible, but impossible,” the spokesperson said.
After the alleged rape, the plaintiff immediately telephoned a friend and the two went back to Mahaney’s condominium, where the plaintiff had been allegedly staying at the time. Parker claims that Mahaney asked the friend to leave the room before she delved into the “details” of what had just occurred. The lawsuit said that Mahaney discouraged her from seeking legal or medical attention, telling her that Rubin could destroy her with his wealth and power, as well as the non-disclosure agreement.
“Ms. Parker’s claims are authentic and injuries genuinely real,” said a spokesperson for the plaintiff who requested anonymity. “Her privacy and well-being is of the utmost concern. Please consult the Complaint and public filing for further reference on all things related to Ms. Parker’s suit.”
Mahaney’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case on Monday, arguing that the lawsuit’s claims were not substantiated. In the claim, Mahaney does not deny that Parker returned to his apartment following the meeting with Rubin. But his lawyers assert that any claim that he dissuaded her from going to the police was false. Further, the motion addresses the lawsuit’s assertion that Mahaney laid out the consequences of reporting the encounter, saying that the advice, “whether good or bad, is certainly not actionable.”
Mahaney’s motion to have the case dismissed also said: “These claims are belied by lack of even a single allegation that Mr. Mahaney knew or had any relationship with Mr. Rubin whatsoever, either before or after the alleged assault.”
“We continue to vehemently deny these preposterous allegations and are confident that when the Court reviews our motion to dismiss, the truth will prevail,” Mahaney’s spokesperson said Monday.
Parker’s primary cause of action against Mahaney cites “aiding and abetting fraud,” which indicates he is “criminally liable for the conduct of Defendant Rubin.” After the alleged assault, Mahaney confirms in his motion that he enabled her to attend college in Los Angeles to pursue stage and theatrical makeup design, by covering her tuition and rent payments in full.
But Parker and Mahaney provide very different contexts for his acts of generosity. Parker’s lawsuit indicates that the financial support stemmed from a desire by Mahaney to control the young woman, and enabled him to wield power in their relationship. It is unclear whether, after the alleged attack by Rubin, Mahaney and Parker continued to engage in the romantic ambiguity of “kissing” and “cuddling” that they had prior.
As Parker began suffering from panic attacks and depression, the lawsuit said, Mahaney would fly out to Los Angeles and “remind her of the terrible things that could happen if [she] told anyone” about the attack by Rubin, and that “if anything was reported, that Mahaney would no longer be there to ‘protect’ her, or pay for her apartment or college.”
Although Mahaney insists in his motion for dismissal that he in no way knew Rubin, it is unclear whether he can still be legally liable for his supposed knowledge of or involvement in Parker’s case after the alleged rape. According to Parker’s allegation, however, she appeared at his doorstep with visible “injuries that she had sustained from the rape.”
Mahaney won a silver medal for sailing at the 1992 Olympics and is now the CEO of Olympia Companies, a real estate firm based in Portland, Maine.
According to Colleen Fitzpatrick, Middlebury’s vice president for advancement, the college does not release giving information from donors. Although Fitzpatrick did not divulge the exact amount of Mahaney’s donations to Middlebury, he is a significant donor to the arts program. The college renamed the Center for the Arts after him in 2007 on the occasion of the building’s 15th anniversary.
After a Campus inquiry last week about Middlebury’s response to the allegations, the college released a statement on its website, saying that “Middlebury is committed to fairness for every person, which includes ensuring that people have the opportunity as a matter of due process to respond to allegations made against them.” The statement continued: “Middlebury strives to reduce sexual violence within its community, and responds to all allegations made under its policies. Middlebury will continue to monitor this case closely.”
Parker is seeking $17 million in damages, plus legal fees, against both Rubin and Mahaney. The plaintiff is expected to file an opposition to Mahaney’s motion to dismiss within the next 20 days.