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Sean 'Diddy' Combs seen at the Met Gala in 2017 in New York is accused of sexual assault in new lawsuit from former winner of MTV’s Model Mission. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters/File via CNN Newsource)

New lawsuit against Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

May 22, 2024

By Alli Rosenbloom and Elizabeth Wagmeister, CNN

(CNN) — Sean “Diddy” Combs has been accused of sexual assault in a new lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Crystal McKinney, a former model and winner of MTV’s 1998 Model Mission competition show.

According to the complaint, filed in New York and obtained by CNN, McKinney claims that she was “drugged and sexually assaulted” in 2003 by Combs following a Men’s Fashion Week event in New York City.

McKinney, who was 22 years old at the time, first met Combs at a dinner, where he came on to her “in a sexually suggestive manner” and told her to call him later, the complaint alleges. McKinney “felt confused but hopeful that Combs would fulfill his promises to help her career,” and Combs invited her to his recording studio later that night, the complaint continues.

At the studio, Combs offered McKinney marijuana, which she claims was “laced” with “a narcotic or other intoxicating substance.” The complaint alleges Combs saw McKinney was “very intoxicated” and demanded her to follow him as he “physically led” her to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, Combs “began kissing her without her consent” and later “forced her to perform oral sex on him,” according to the complaint.

After the assault, McKinney claims she felt “more and more woozy and then lost consciousness,” later waking up in a taxicab heading back to the apartment belonging to the designer she was working with at the time. “As her consciousness returned, Plaintiff realized that she had been sexually assaulted by Combs,” the complaint reads.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Combs and McKinney for comment, as well as representatives for Bad Boy Records, Sean John Clothing LLC, and Universal Music Group Inc., the entities of which were also named as defendants.

McKinney is suing the defendants for violation of the New York Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law.

According to the New York City Council, the law gives “survivors of gender-motivated acts of violence more time to pursue civil actions by extending the statute of limitations” and also “applies to such acts committed by parties who direct, enable, participate in, or conspire in a gender-motivated act of violence.”

McKinney was crowned the winner of MTV’s Model Mission in 1998 and was awarded a modeling contract with IMG. She became a familiar face on various MTV shows and modeled in a fashion campaign for designer Tommy Hilfiger.

As a result of the incident, McKinney became “severely depressed,” and “experienced alcohol and drug addiction” as she tried to cope, the complaint claimed. To this day, the complaint states, McKinney still experiences mental health struggles stemming from the alleged assault and has since ceased pursuing a career in modeling.

She is seeking an unspecified amount in punitive and compensatory damages.

Latest suit in a series against Combs

This latest lawsuit comes days after CNN released exclusive surveillance footage that showed Combs physically attacking his then-girlfriend Cassie Ventura in 2016.

The attack was first referenced in a November 2023 lawsuit that Ventura brought against the rap mogul, whom she dated off and on from 2007 to 2018.

In her complaint that was settled a day after being filed, Ventura alleged Combs raped her in 2018 and subjected her to years of repeated physical and other abuses over the course of their relationship.

Following the settlement, an attorney for Combs said the “decision to settle a lawsuit…is in no way an admission of wrongdoing.”

Combs apologized on Sunday for his actions in the video.

Ventura’s attorney Meredith Firetog criticized his response saying, “When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday.”

This is the seventh lawsuit in which Combs has been named in recent months. Six of those lawsuits, including the one filed Tuesday, contain allegations of sexual assault. One of the six suits names Combs as a defendant but was was brought against Combs’ son, Christian Combs. Only Ventura’s has been settled.

Authorities searched Diddy’s homes on March 25, 2024, because he is a target of a federal investigation carried out by a Department of Homeland Security team that handles human trafficking crimes, according to a senior federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

The investigation stems from many of the same sexual assault allegations put forth in the civil lawsuits, according to a second law enforcement source familiar with the searches.

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