16 Women Accuse David Copperfield of Sexual Misconduct

A Guardian report includes allegations that the famous illusionist groomed teenage girls and drugged women before sex.

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16 Women Accuse David Copperfield of Sexual Misconduct

Sixteen women have accused David Copperfield of grooming, groping, drugging and rape in a detailed report published by the Guardian on Wednesday.

All of the women—now adults in their 40s—have remained anonymous but allege that the famous magician began engaging with them as teenagers. Their ages, per the Guardian, “ranged from 15 to 19” at the time they say Copperfield pursued contact with them.

The disturbing report begins with claims from “Carla” and “Lily” (both names were changed) who say that they met Copperfield when they were 15 years old. The former said Copperfield gave her his number after a show in Georgia in 1991; Lily said he chose her out of the audience to participate in a trick on stage during a show in San Francisco. For more than two years, Carla says Copperfield “groomed” her via gifts and notes like a teddy bear and balloon for Valentine’s Day. Another, seen by the Guardian, was a book with a note attached that read: “In 2 years I will be back.” When she was 18, Copperfield became the first man Carla had sex with. He was nearly 40.

Lily alleged that Copperfield “groped her breasts” while on stage for the magic trick as her family looked on in horror from the front row. She told the publication she’s had “nightmares” about Copperfield in the aftermath.

Three other women accused Copperfield of groping them while onstage; three more claim he drugged them prior to sexual intercourse.

The Guardian‘s full investigation into the allegations from Carla, Lily, and 14 other women—which span four decades, from the late 1980s to as recent as 2014—included interviews with 100 people, as well as court and police records obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

When contacted by the Guardian, attorneys for Copperfield responded that he “never, ever acted inappropriately with anyone, let alone anyone underage.” They added that their client was a supporter of the Me Too movement and the allegations are “the opposite of everything he stands for and works hard for.”

On Friday, the Guardian published another report that suggests Copperfield was a friend of Jeffrey Epstein’s, recounting a series of phone messages and meetings between the two men in 2004 and 2005. “Any messages that were left would have been left by our client’s office in response to a request by Epstein for tickets to a show,” Copperfields’ attorneys told the Guardian.

In early January, when 900 pages of largely unredacted documents detailing the international sex trafficking and pedophilia perpetrated by Epstein and several of his associates and friends were released, Copperfield’s name appeared in one survivor’s testimony. Johanna Sjoberg said she’d attended a party in 2004 where Copperfield asked if she was aware “that girls were getting paid to find other girls.” Copperfield’s lawyers told the Guardian he had heard a rumor about Epstein’s trafficking operation, but when Sjoberg, who was in her 20s at the time, said she didn’t know anything about that, he dropped it. 

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