Peter Nygard arrives at Norby Walters' 26th Annual Night Of 100 Stars Oscar Viewing at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
This story contains graphic descriptions of alleged sexual assault. A man who was mostly known for branding mid-market grandma clothes until a class action lawsuit accused him of serial rape and sexual assault is now in custody in Winnipeg.Peter Nygard, the namesake of a fashion brand with shrinking department store placement in Canada and the United States, is accused of sexually assaulting 84 women and underage girls according to Lisa Haba, a lawyer representing victims in a class action lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York earlier this year.
A correctional officer with the Winnipeg Remand Centre confirmed Nygard was in custody Tuesday. He was apprehended late Monday under the extradition act on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering out of the Southern District of New York.The class action lawsuit against Nygard includes several detailed victim accounts, about half of the unnamed victims are aged 14 or 15. The girls described being invited to private events with the promise of access to the modeling industry. Many described resisting Nygard’s sexual advances, being offered a drink, getting sleepy and nauseated, and then waking up with blood in their underwear. In some cases Nygard offered cash after the fact. Nygard’s sexual proclivities seem to involve asking women to pee or defecate on him, and he often refers to women’s butts as “the toilet.” Some of the women described anal penetration and injury.Nygard, 79, used his company’s resources to line up a steady stream of women and girls, who he drugged, degraded, penetrated, and silenced, according to the lawsuit. He has previously denied the charges against him, and a phone call to his Canadian lawyer from VICE World News went unanswered Tuesday.Since the lawsuit was filed in February, dozens more women and girls have signed on from Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas, where he owns property. His New York offices were raided by the FBI shortly following the class action suit. The class action suit has since been put on pause, suggesting a criminal investigation is moving forward.Nygard’s sons have also filed a lawsuit against him, accusing their father of paying sex workers to take their virginity when they were teens.Manitoba RCMP did not immediately return requests for comment.Follow Sarah Berman on Twitter.