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NYPD opens investigation into Russell Simmons amid rape allegations

Friday - 15/12/2017 09:49
Simmons issued a statement in response to the story at the time of publication but did not address her age.

(CNN)- The New York Police Department has opened an investigation into Russell Simmons based on media reports of multiple women coming forward to accuse the music mogul of sexual misconduct, including rape, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said.

The NYPD can open an investigation without a complaint made directly to them, which is the case with Simmons. A group of women told their stories to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Brad Rose, an attorney for Simmons, released a statement Thursday night saying that "Russell Simmons fully supports and will cooperate with the police inquiry and is confident of a swift resolution."

In stories published Wednesday, nine women accused the media mogul of sexual harassment and assault, in incidents alleged to have occurred over decades. Four of those women, Drew Dixon, Toni Sallie, Tina Baker and Sherri Hines accuse Simmons of rape. CNN's policy is not to name victims of sexual assault or rape unless they make their names public.

CNN has not independently verified the women's stories and has reached out to them for comment.

Detectives in the NYPD Special Victims Unit are working to identify the seven women who made the accusations and are reaching out to them as part of the investigation.

In a statement to CNN, Simmons "vehemently" denied all the allegations. "These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual," he said.

"I am blessed to have shared extraordinary relationships, whether through work or love, with many great women; and I have enormous respect for the women's movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power," he said in the statement. "I am devastated by any reason I may have given to anyone to say or think of me in the ways that are currently being described."

On Thursday, Simmons posted a photo on his official Instagram account showing the words,"NotMe."
"Today, I begin to properly defend myself," the caption read. "I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges." (Simmons has not been criminally charged.)

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