Ricky Garcia, a former member of the boy band Forever In Your Mind and an actor on the Disney channel show Best Friends Whenever, is suing former manager Joby Harte, claiming Harte sexually assaulted him dozens of times starting at age 12.
View this post on Instagram
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reached out after they saw my live🙏🏼 trying my hardest to be more open and let you guys in on my life. Like any normal human being, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs and finally realized I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all human and we make mistakes. We’re not perfect. You gotta allow yourself the grace of having redemption. Give others the chance to show their true colors and then make that decision. Too much 🗣 and not enough action. Actions do speak louder than words. Keep spreading love🙏🏼❤️ that’s what it’s about
USA Today reports: “In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles and obtained by USA TODAY, Garcia’s attorneys allege years of sexual abuse by Harte, beginning when Garcia was 12. The lawsuit names Harte, four entertainment companies and four other individuals. … The suit says Harte initially began having conversations with Garcia about sexuality and later intoxicated Garcia before stripping him naked and sexually assaulting him. By the time Garcia was 16, his lawsuit claims, Harte sexually assaulted him “on an almost weekly basis.”
View this post on Instagram
So please if anyone is out there right now going through something even remotely similar to what I went through, please, we all need to speak out about this– yes of course I want justice for the POS that manipulated me, but more importantly this is about saving anyone else who feels like they don’t have a voice, because I can tell you this. YOU are not alone. This can can happen to anyone that you know. It’s just a matter of talking about this to people and letting your close ones know that it’s not okay. So if anyone knows anyone else that’s going through this shit as well. It’s so important to speak up for them🙏🏼
TMZ adds: “The singer, now 20, claims Harte used the “well-worn pedophile playbook of grooming and seduction.” Garcia claims it started with Harte promising him the world … before showing him porn and then allegedly sexually assaulting him. In the docs, filed by attorney Ben Meiselas of Geragos and Geragos, Garcia — who auditioned for season 3 of “The X Factor” and joined the boy band at Simon Cowell’s invitation — claims on multiple occasions Harte got him blackout drunk. Garcia claims he’d wake up naked the following mornings next to Harte. … For his 17th birthday, Garcia claims Harte got in his shower stall at a hotel resort and forced him to masturbate Harte until he ejaculated. Garcia says he never told anyone about the alleged sexual assaults because he was afraid of losing his career.”
Garcia’s attorneys Ben Meiselas and Michael Popok denounced Harte in a statement to USA Today: “Our client, Ricky Garcia, was a preteen and teen music and acting star in the making. Tragically, and as alleged by him under oath in the complaint, high-powered male entertainment industry executives, led by his former manager Joby Harte, who were responsible for nurturing his career, instead sexually preyed on his economic and emotional vulnerability, and sexually assaulted and raped him. In twisted fashion they inflicted injuries and shame on our client that have derailed his promising career and that will take him a lifetime to recover from.”