Boy Band Member Sues Manager, APA Over Alleged Sexual Abuse

Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Ricky Garcia attends the Premiere Of Netflix's "Stranger Things" Season 2 at the Regency Bruin Theatre on Oct. 26, 2017 in Los Angeles.  

Ricky Garcia of Forever in Your Mind is suing his ex-manager Joby Harte, along with APA, Cohen/Thomas Management, Hot Rock Media and several other individuals.

A member of boy band Forever in Your Mind is suing his former manager and several other music industry players for allegedly committing or abetting childhood sexual assault. Ricky Garcia says his "meteoric rise" was derailed because a series of Hollywood execs preyed on him, alleging the abuse began when he was just 12 years-old. Garcia and two other musicians formed FIYM in 2013 after he was eliminated from The X Factor.

In a complaint submitted Tuesday (Sept. 10) to the L.A. County Superior court which has not yet been assigned to a judge, Garcia says his ex-manager Joby Harte raped and sexually assaulted him "dozens of times" during his teenage years. Garcia also claims Harte groomed him into a "sexual plaything that could be passed around his friends in the business," including ex-APA agent Tyler Grasham and manager-producer Nils Larsen. He accuses Grasham of making sexually aggressive comments and licking his toes and Larsen of grabbing his penis over his pants at a concert in 2016.

"Defendant Harte, the ringleader, employed the well-worn pedophile playbook of grooming and seduction," writes Geragos & Geragos attorney Ben Meiselas in the complaint. "He targeted an economically and emotionally vulnerable pre-teen and his parents. He then groomed and seduced the child's mother to have her lay down her defenses and give him unfettered access to her son, making her an unwitting accomplice to his depravity."

Garcia says in the complaint that he didn't tell anyone about the experiences until March of 2018 because he was afraid of the potential fallout. He first told Harte's former assistant, who told Garcia's mother. According to the complaint, Harte tried to brush it off as "horseplay."

Garcia is suing Harte, Grasham, Larsen, Hot Rock Media and its CEO Joby Harte, Cohen/Thomas Management and its partners Sheri Andersen Thomas and Paul Cohen, as well as APA. He alleges the companies ratified the assault by "fostering a sexually abusive culture in their offices" and failed to take action to prevent the assault even though they knew or should have known that it had happened to others previously.

APA fired Grasham in October 2017 amid sexual harassment and assault allegations.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.