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May 12, 2000 03:33pm
Nicholson Cited in Sex And Assault Lawsuit
Source: Reuters

(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- A woman who claims that actor Jack Nicholson beat her and left her with serious injuries after refusing to pay for sex has filed a lawsuit in a bid to overturn a 1997 legal settlement she says she reached with him.

Catherine Sheehan alleges that she and another woman were promised $1,000 each to have sex with Nicholson at his home in October 1996. When she asked for the money later, Sheehan claims the actor became angry, retorted he did not have to pay anyone for sex, grabbed her by the hair, pounded her head into the floor and threw her into a hedge outside.

A copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, was made available to Reuters on Friday.

Almost a year later, Sheehan says she reached a legal agreement with Nicholson to drop allegations against him in return for $32,500 and a promise not to tell anyone outside her immediate family about the alleged incident.

Nicholson's agent said on Friday there was ``no comment'' on Sheehan's lawsuit or on any of allegations surrounding it. The 63-year-old actor's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Lawyers for Sheehan said she wanted to have the 1997 legal agreement declared null and void because she was unaware of the seriousness of the injuries she suffered in the alleged incident at Nicholson's home.

Included in the filing is a doctor's letter stating that Sheehan suffers from headaches, vertigo and insomnia. Sheehan's lawyer Ira Chester said Sheehan had spent more than $60,000 on medical bills since 1996.

Chester denied suggestions that the lawsuit was a frivolous publicity stunt. ``I would only have filed this lawsuit if I knew I had legal grounds. There is nothing uphill battle about it.''

Chester said Sheehan, who he described as in her late 30s, had worked for a video distribution company but had been unable to work since the alleged incident. She was not an escort or prostitute, he said.

``I think it was just a matter of getting a little extra rent money when times get a little tough. There was no full-blown escort deal. But even under those circumstances nobody deserves to get beat up,'' Chester said.

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