The New York City Police Department announced it is gathering evidence on an actress's credible accusation of rape by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The department’s investigators interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta about two instances in 2010 when she said Weinstein raped her, the AP reports. The police said they are investigating the case, and that they would have taken Weinstein into custody if he were in the city and the alleged crimes were recent.
"If this person was still in New York, and it was recent, we’d go right away and make the arrest. No doubt," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said of Weinstein. "But we’re talking about a 7-year-old case. And we have to move forward gathering evidence first."
Boyce said the aspects of de la Huerta's story that made it credible included: "The ability to articulate each and every minute of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did."
De la Huerta did an interview with CBS News that aired Thursday in which she described her allegations.
"He pushed me on the bed, he unzipped his pants, and it happened all very suddenly," de la Huerta said about Weinstein.
She said the second time he raped her was at her apartment after she had been drinking and could not consent to having sex.
According to police, she said she did not report the incidents because she was afraid of having her career ruined and not being believed. Weinstein was a top Hollywood producer for years until reports in the New York Times and New Yorker, along with a growing list of allegations, drove the Weinstein Company he co-founded to remove him.
New York has no statute of limitations on rape.
Weinstein’s whereabouts are unknown, although TMZ reported that he was in disguise in Phoenix, Arizona, and his representatives have not commented. Boyce said Weinstein currently knows that the NYPD wants to speak with him.
In order to obtain an arrest warrant or an indictment through a grand jury, the NYPD would need cooperation from Manhattan prosecutors, who did not pursue a 2015 case against Weinstein.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s assistant prosecutor had blamed the NYPD for the 2015 case not being able to move forward, although the NYPD contradicted that claim. The police and the district attorney appear to be working together this time, and Vance’s office has assigned a prosecutor to this case.