NOTE: The following article contains content regarding sexual assault that some might find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
Boxer Mike Tyson allegedly raped a woman during a night out in New York in the early 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed in Albany County Court on Jan. 5 under the New York Adult Survivors Act.
The woman, who is staying anonymous for fear of ridicule, said in an affidavit filed with the lawsuit that she met Tyson, 56, outside a New York dance club called September. (Tyson would have been in his 20s in the early ’90s.)
“My friend and I were hanging out with him and his limousine driver. Tyson told us about a party and asked us to join him,” the affidavit reads. “My friend was going to drop off her car, and Tyson said he would pick her up in the limousine.”
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The woman says she followed Tyson into his limo alone and he immediately “started to touch me and attempted to kiss me.”
“I told him no several times and asked him to stop, but he continued to attack me. He then pulled my pants off and violently raped me,” her statement continues.
The victim is seeking US$5 million in damages for “physical, psychological, and emotional injury.” She says she developed “depression, anxiety, violent tendencies, drug and alcohol addiction and confusion resulting from the brutal rape.”
Tyson has not publicly commented on the allegations.
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The woman says she filed her lawsuit anonymously because she fears being “attacked by the media” due to Tyson’s celebrity status.
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The lawsuit was filed under the N.Y. Adult Survivors Act, a law passed in May 2022 that established a “one-year lookback window” for adult survivors of sexual assault “to sue their abusers regardless of when the abuse occurred.”
“For too long, our legal system has failed adult survivors and prevented them from accessing true justice,” N.Y. State Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins said at the time. “It takes time to come forward, particularly when faced with the trauma that accompanies disclosures. With the Adult Survivors Act, we are saying that we believe you and that you deserve accountability.”
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Tyson rose to fame in the late 1980s after being named the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. In a major upset, Tyson was knocked out by Buster Douglas in 1990, who went on to claim the heavyweight title that year.
Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time but his personal life has been marred by legal troubles and controversy. He spent three years in prison starting in 1992 after being convicted of rape. He was released halfway through his sentence and returned to the ring in 1996.
In 1997, Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing match, and in 2007 he pleaded guilty to drug possession and driving under the influence.
Tyson’s first wife, Robin Givens, accused him of being physically abusive, for which she received negative press attention. During a controversial Oprah Winfrey interview in 2009, Tyson joked about “socking” her.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
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