In a statement, a lawyer for the music mogul called Cassie's claims "offensive and outrageous"
Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, filed a complaint against Combs, 54, on Thursday in New York, claiming she was stuck in a decade-long “cycle of abuse, violence and sex trafficking” that included a 2018 rape after she tried to leave him, and multiple instances of domestic violence.
“After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships,” she said in a statement. “With the expiration of New York’s Adult Survivors Act fast approaching, it became clear that this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Combs’ lawyer Ben Brafman denied the allegations, which he called “offensive and outrageous.”
"Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. Ms. Ventura's demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail," Brafman said. "Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs' reputation, and seeking a pay day."
In response, Ventura’s attorney Douglas Wigdor said in a statement: “Mr. Comb’s offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit. She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all woman who suffer in silence. Ms. Ventura should be applauded for her bravery.”
Reps for Ventura did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The complaint, which was first reported by The New York Times and was obtained by PEOPLE, says that Ventura first met Combs in 2005, when she was 19 years old and he was 37. The "Me & U" singer signed to Bad Boy Records, the label he founded in 1993, in 2006 — and before long, he’d allegedly commanded “complete control” over her life, “thereby ensuring her inability to escape his hold.”
Though Combs initially positioned himself as a father figure in Ventura’s life (she had a boyfriend at the time, and he was publicly dating Kim Porter), he allegedly began pursuing a relationship with her, and in September 2007, she agreed to go out with him, fearing retaliation should she deny him, according to the complaint.
Ventura, 37, alleges that Combs soon began giving her “copious amounts of drugs,” which began a painful struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, and also paid for her housing and her car.
“All aspects of Ms. Ventura’s life were controlled by either Mr. Combs or his management companies,” the complaint says.
Combs allegedly exhibited “uncontrollable rage” often and “frequently beat Ms. Ventura savagely,” violence she claims was witnessed by many of the people he employed.
The complaint says that after instances of violence, Combs would often hide Ventura in “hotels for days at a time to let her bruises heal” as a means of covering up the attacks, like a 2009 encounter in which he allegedly stomped on her face, then forced her to hole up in a hotel room for a week.
“She found herself becoming numb to the abuse she was experiencing, and became entirely beholden to Mr. Combs’s demands,” the complaint says. “She began to blindly follow his instructions out of fear of again being on the receiving end of a vicious beating.”
Ventura also alleges that Combs often forced her to partake in forced encounters with sex workers that he called “freak offs,” or “FOs,” and that the encounters “always” included ecstasy, cocaine, GHB, ketamine, marijuana and alcohol. The singer alleges that she would sometimes vomit before the encounters due to anxiety.
Though Ventura claims in the complaint that she tried multiple times to leave Combs and break the cycle of abuse, he’d allegedly always send his employees to track her down and manipulate her into returning with warnings that her career would suffer if she didn’t.
In one instance of alleged manipulation, Ventura claims that she entered into a brief relationship with the rapper Kid Cudi in 2011 — and that when Combs found emails they’d sent each other, he “hit her several times, and then kicked her in the back as she tried to run out the door.”
The next year, Combs allegedly told Ventura he was going to blow up Kid Cudi’s car — and the star’s car exploded in his driveway around the same time. A rep for Kid Cudi did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
By 2017, Ventura became determined to leave Combs, the complaint says, and met him for dinner in Malibu to discuss ending things for good. After dinner, he allegedly forced his way into her home and raped her.
“Ms. Ventura has now fully escaped Mr. Combs, but the harm that the assaults and sexual abuse he caused her to experience for nearly a decade will forever haunt her,” the complaint says. “She has required intensive medical and psychological care to recover from the trauma she lived through.”
The singer married Alex Fine, a personal trainer, in 2019, and says the two children they share have given her “a new lease on life” and new “purpose.”
Ventura’s case is being brought under the Adult Survivors Act, a law in New York that allows sexual abuse victims to file civil suits even after the expiration of the statute of limitations. The New York Times reports that the one-year window to bring cases under this law ends next week.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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