Wildfox CEO Sued for Sexual Exploitation
Jimmy Sommers, chief executive officer of the prominent Wildfox Couture LLC label, headquartered in Los Angeles, has been sued by a Florida woman who alleges Sommers offered fraudulent promises of employment in exchange for sex.
Meghan Chereek was 17 at the time when the alleged crimes took place, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Herman Law, a Boca Raton, Fla.–based law firm that specializes in trying civil cases against people accused of being sexual predators.
Jeff Herman, the firm’s partner and founder, won a $100 million verdict against the Rev. Neil Doherty for abusing a boy in Florida earlier this year.
“What she is alleging goes on in the fashion and entertainment industry all the time,” Herman said. “Victims should not suffer in silence, and they should get help.”
Wildfox did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.
According to the suit, Chereek said she met Sommers in a Los Angeles restaurant in July 2012 after Chereek had left her family’s home in Florida after fighting with her father. Sommers was introduced as the chief executive officer of Wildfox, Chereek mentioned that she was interested in modeling, and Sommers noted that there would be opportunities to model for his company, according to the lawsuit, which also says Sommers promised her a job at Wildfox designing jewelry. The court documents alleged that he gave her drugs and alcohol and engaged in sexual intercourse with her.
By September 2012, Chereek was unable to pay her rent and moved into a guest room at Sommers’ home, the suit continues. No modeling or jewelry-design work came up, but the suit alleges that he built a “hostile living situation” for her and continued to demand sex from her.
By fall 2012, she moved out of Sommers’ home and relocated to Florida. Chereek contacted Herman Law earlier this year. She has made a criminal complaint against Sommers, Herman said.
Herman Law is demanding compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Launched in 2007, Wildfox has grown to prominence, selling at retailers such as American Rag, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.The company’s swim line showsat Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami Beach, Fla. The line offers many categories of fashions, ranging from swimwear to lingerie, dresses, scarves and denim.