By Liz Crokin, Hagmann Report Contributor
One of the women who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault before the election has multiple family members who were convicted of sexually assaulting about a dozen women in an illegal sex ring they operated in Palm Springs.
In an interview with the New York Times, Jessica Leeds claimed Trump inappropriately touched her during a flight over three decades ago. She said that Trump lifted the armrest between their first-class seats on the flight to New York and then proceeded to grab her breasts and attempted to put his hand up her skirt. “He was like an octopus – his hands were everywhere,” she said. “It was an assault.” Leeds said she fled to the back of the plane after the alleged incident but she never reported the alleged assault to authorities.
The 74-year-old accuser is the widow of New York businessman Arnold Leeds, according to an obituary in the New York Times cross referenced with multiple public records searches that link both Leeds to the same residential Park Avenue address in Manhattan at the time of his death. According to the obituary, public records and Family Search, Gail Susan Leeds, who has also been known as Gail Rutkoff, is the late Arnold’s daughter and Jessica’s stepdaughter.
In 2006, Gail Susan Leeds and her then boyfriend, Ananda Charles Rutkoff, were arrested at their Palm Canyon Drive home in Palm Springs, California, according to the Napa Valley Register. After a two-year investigation, authorities charged each with six counts of sexual battery for convincing over a dozen women, who thought they were applying for a job as Rutkoff’s caretaker, to perform sexual acts on him. The women were told that Rutkoff had a spinal injury from a car accident and that sex acts were legitimate therapeutic techniques. Detective Troy Castillo said at the time that Rutkoff sexually battered three of the victims. Both Gail and Rutkoff each pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual battery and one count of false imprisonment involving women, Palm Springs Sgt. Mitch Spike told CBS then according to an archived report.
Leeds posted on a public Facebook page last October that she was working on starting a charity for sexual assault victims. Leeds has not made any public statements since then.
Liz Crokin is an award winning investigative journalist, author of Malice and regular contributor to the Hagmann and Hagmann Report.
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