Oscar-nominated screenwriter denies 1994 B.C. sex assault allegations

An Academy Awards-nominated screenwriter has denied allegations he sexually assaulted a teen who was hired as an extra on a Hollywood movie being shot in Campbell River in 1994.

The alleged victim claims Douglas Day Stewart approached her when she and other extras on the film The Scarlett Letter were asked to go topless in the background during the filming of an outdoor scene.

She said in her lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court that she was 17 years old and still in high school when Stewart brought her a blanket to cover her and help her stay warm during the filming and for about a week showed her increasing attention.

Now 42 and living in England, the plaintiff alleges that when filming ended Stewart invited her to a wrap party and at the party she was given alcohol, although she was below the legal drinking age.

She claims the then-54-year-old Stewart invited her to his hotel suite and into a jacuzzi where he proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her, which was her first significant sexual encounter.

But in a response to the lawsuit, Stewart denies that he approached the plaintiff nor offered her a blanket during her topless scene.

Stewart, nominated for an Oscar for the 1982 hit movie An Officer and a Gentleman, says that the plaintiff’s makeup artist friend invited her to the wrap party and during the party she showed signs that she was interested in having a sexual relationship with him.

He says that when offered an alcoholic beverage, she declined, indicating that due to her Indigenous ancestry alcohol did not suit her.

Writer-director Douglas Day Stewart on the set of the movie Listen to Me, circa 1989.

In the presence of others, she showed him a Canadian driver’s licence to prove she was 21 and of legal drinking age, he says.

Stewart claims that the plaintiff asked her if she could stay in his hotel room as she had nowhere to go and he agreed but insisted on her sleeping in the second bed alone, which she did.

“There were no sexual relations, other than kissing, that evening,” says Stewart’s lawsuit response. “There was no alcohol or drugs consumed in the hotel room.”

The plaintiff claims that Stewart invited her to come to Nova Scotia for further filming of The Scarlett Letter and he assured her that he could get her a part.

She says that although there was concern she would not be able to start her final year of high school as planned, her parents — distracted and financially impaired by her father’s medical problems — agreed to let her go to Nova Scotia.

In Nova Scotia, she claims she was further sexually exploited, but Stewart denies the claim.

He says he made no promises about helping her get more work and in any event did not have the authority to make such a promise.

He says they did have sex in Nova Scotia but insists it was consensual and that she represented to him that she was 21.

“(She) was of legal age to consent to sexual intercourse and was not intoxicated in any way during the course of this evening.”

The plaintiff alleges the exploitation continued in the United States, where Stewart lived, but Stewart also denied that allegation.

kfraser@postmedia.com

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