American Apparel Founder Sued for Alleged Sexual Assault

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    The founder of hipster clothing brand American Apparel is being sued by a former employee who alleges he trapped her in his apartment and forced her to perform sexual acts against her will.

    The alleged victim is seeking $260 million in damages.

    The lawsuit accuses American Apparel Inc. founder Dov Charney, 42, of inviting the victim to his Manhattan apartment in April of 2009, where he opened the door in underpants and "forced her to go down to her knees just inside the front door and perform fellatio upon him," the lawsuit says.

    "She was then, to all intents and purposes, held prisoner in the apartment for several hours and forced to perform additional sexual acts," the suit says.

    Charney's representatives did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.  

    The former employee was 18 at the time but she said Charney's advances started when she was 17, according to the lawsuit.

    American Apparel Inc., is no stranger to controversial headlines. Late last year, government investigators found that 1,800 of its employees are either illegally working in the U.S. or potentially illegal to work.

    Those employees comprise about one-third of the clothier's Los Angeles manufacturing operation.

    The disclosure came as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Of the 1,800 workers identified, 1,600 were deemed to be unauthorized to work while Immigration had been unable to verify the status of the remaining 200. The company said it was not found to have willingly hired illegal workers.

    American Apparel had promoted its "sweatshop-free" operation and said it pays some of the highest wages in the industry.

    Charney has been at the center of other controversies and was sued for sexual harassment in the past.  He most recently settled for $5 million with Woody Allen over the use of Allen's image in a billboard.

    American Apparel had depicted Allen as a Hasidic Jew with a long beard, side curls and black hat. The billboard featured Yiddish text meaning the holy rabbi.