Ricky Garcia, a member of the boy band Forever in Your Mind claims his ex-manager sexually assaulted him for years and passed him around as a “sexual plaything” to other pedophiles in the industry.
The former Disney Channel star, now 20, alleges Joby Harte of Hot Rock Media sexually abused him from the age of twelve and throughout his teenage years, according to a lawsuit filed last week in LA County Superior Court.
The suit claims the manager used the “well-worn paedophile playbook of grooming and seduction”1 by first having conversations with him about sexuality, showing him porn and then later offering him alcohol before raping him.
By the time Garcia was sixteen, Harte, 37, was sexually assaulting him “on an almost weekly basis,” the lawsuit claims. He treated the budding star as a “sexual plaything that could be passed around to his friends in the business,”1 including a former agent and a manager and producer, the suit charges.
Garcia’s attorneys, Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos and Michael Popok of Zumpano Patricios & Popok, said in a statement:
“The abuse “derailed” Garcia’s career and will “take him a lifetime to recover from.”
“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.” source
Afraid he would lose his career, the former “X-Factor” contestant didn’t tell anyone about the alleged abuse until March 2018, the suit says. He initially told Harte’s former assistant, who told Garcia’s mother.
According to the lawsuit, Harte, when confronted, allegedly tried to brush off the abuse as “horseplay.”
Garcia posted a message on Instagram thanking his family, friends, and God for helping him have “the courage to speak out against the executives who sexually abused me as a child.”1 He wrote:
“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.” source
Speaking up took a great deal of courage, and we admire Garcia for doing so.