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$260M Sex-Slave Lawsuit Against American Apparel Founder Dov Charney Tossed

By William Gorta | March 21, 2012 7:13am
American Apparel founder Dov Charney.
American Apparel founder Dov Charney.
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BROOKLYN — A $260 million sex-slave lawsuit against American Apparel founder Dov Charney has been tossed out of court after a Brooklyn judge found the parties had already agreed to arbitration in California.

Irene Morales, who was once a manager of Chelsea branch of the trendy clothing chain, claimed Charney sexually harassed her starting when she was a 17-year-old trainee. He allegedly told her she “would have to engage in sexual acts with him as soon as she turned 18,” according to the original lawsuit.

Morales claimed Charney demanded she work long hours doing personal errands for him and that, shortly after her 18th birthday, he ordered her to his West 18th Street apartment and forced himself on her. 

Alleged photo of Irene Morales sent to American Apparel founder Dov Charney.
Alleged photo of Irene Morales sent to American Apparel founder Dov Charney.
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Morales accused Charney  of forcing her to be his sex slave for more than eight months, telling her she would lose her job if she refused to service him, according to the Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit filed in March 2011.

She also said she was “induced to visit” Charney in California, where he allegedly subjected her to “extreme psychological abuse and torment.”

But in a decision released late Tuesday, Justice Bernadette Bayne bounced the case from court, agreeing with the assertion of Charney’s lawyer that since a California court had already ordered the sexual harassment claim to arbitration, a New York court was unable to overrule it.

“It took a while, but the right result was reached,” attorney Stuart Slotnick told DNAinfo. “We’re happy to see that the frivolous claims are going to be heard in the proper venue.”

The merits of Morales’ claim were not addressed in Bayne’s Feb. 10 decision, which was delivered to lawyers Wednesday.

Much of her case has already been undermined by a long string of salacious emails Morales reportedly sent to Charney, under the name of Irene Julia  — Julia is Morales’ middle name — begging him for clothes and promising to perform any number of sex acts, Slotnick said.

The emails included dozens of lurid pictures and a plea for re-employment — even “if it's at the Hoboken store,” Slotnick added.

Morales’ lawyer, Eric Baum, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday night.