Group hopes Weinstein allegations help sex assault victims come forward

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BETHPAGE -

A Long Island support group is hoping the sexual assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will encourage more victims to speak out against abuse.

Among the new accusers are three women who reportedly accused Weinstein of raping them, according to an article published in the New Yorker. The magazine identified the alleged victims as actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans. The third woman hasn't been named.

The New Yorker also released NYPD audio recordings in which Weinstein appears to admit to groping a model.

"I'm a famous guy," says a voice identified as Weinstein's.

"I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now," the model responds.

"Please come in now," he says back. "And if you want to leave when they guy comes with my jacket, you can go."

"Why, yesterday, you touch my breast?" she asks.

"Oh please, I'm sorry," the man answers. "I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on, please."

The Safe Center in Bethpage, which helps domestic violence and sexual assault victims, says it hopes the Weinstein story alleviates the fear of seeking help publicly or confidentially.

"I think that the more examples we have of courageous people coming forward and not being silent, the more room we make for other people to feel they can do the same," says Anthony Zenkus, of The Safe Center. "I think and hope it puts a chill on these behaviors so people understand they aren't acceptable." 

Melissa Ocampo, a model who competed in beauty pageants, says she knows the fear of coming out with sexual assault allegations.

"It was very hard for me to come out and talk about it because I thought no one would believe me," she says. "People need to know they're not alone. There is hope. There is help for them."

And Weinstein's alleged victims are not alone, either. Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie say he sexually harassed them early in their careers.

Another accuser, Louisette Geiss, says she was horrified during her encounter with Weinstein.

"He started following me and telling me that he could introduce me to Bob Weinstein, and that I could get a three-picture deal, and that he would greenlight my script," she says. "But I had to watch him masturbate."

Weinstein was a major donor to Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton. Critics have called for her to return the campaign donations. She spoke out Tuesday and called the alleged actions appalling.

As a result of the accusations, Weinstein was ousted from his post at the company that bears his name. Other published reports said Weinstein's wife decided to leave him in the wake of the allegations.

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