X-FACTOR and Disney pop star Ricky Gracia has alleged his Brit manager sexually assaulted him and passed him around as a “sexual plaything”.
Now 20, he claims in a lawsuit that Joby Harte abused him from the age of 12 and throughout his teenage years.
In a lawsuit filed LA County Superior Court, Harte used the “well-worn paedophile playbook of grooming and seduction” by initially chatting with Garcia about sexuality, showing him porn and later on feeding him with alcohol before raping him.
By the time Garcia was 16, Harte sexually assaulted him “on an almost weekly basis,” according to court documents seen by TMZ.
Harte, 37, from London, who set up Hot Rock Media, groomed the rising teen star as a “sexual plaything that could be passed around his friends in the business,” including an ex-agent, a manager and producer, it is alleged.
‘IT’LL TAKE A LIFETIME TO RECOVER’
The abuse has “derailed” Garcia’s career and will “take him a lifetime to recover from”.
In a statement by his lawyers: “High powered male entertainment industry executives, led by his former manager Joby Harte, who were responsible for nurturing his career, instead sexually preyed on his economic and emotional vulnerability, and sexually assaulted and raped him.”
The former “X-Factor” contestant said he never told anyone about the alleged abuse until March 2018 because he was afraid if could kill his career, the lawsuit says.
He first told Harte’s former assistant, who told Garcia’s mother.
When confronted, Harte allegedly tried to brush the abuse off as “horseplay,” according to the suit.
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In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Garcia thanked his family, friends and God for helping him have “the courage to speak out against the executives who sexually abused me as a child”.
He said: “Sadly, I know my experience is just one of many and I hope my actions today will help others who experienced abuse to know that they are not alone and that there are people in the world fighting for them.”
The Sun Online has contacted Harte for a comment. He has not commented so far to other media outlets.
Ricky Garcias Instagram post[/caption]
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