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The Huntington News

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Lawsuit alleges Northeastern Board of Trustees member aided, abetted sexual misconduct by Sean “Diddy” Combs

Lucian Grainge filed a motion to dismiss all claims made against him last week, arguing the allegations are “knowingly false and invented.”
Lucian+Grainge+speaks+at+the+Treasury+Connect+Creative+Industries+Conference+May+3%2C+2023.+Grainge+was+listed+as+a+defendant+in+a+sexual+assault+and+trafficking+case+against+Sean+%E2%80%9CDiddy%E2%80%9D+Combs.+Photo+courtesy+Kirsty+OConnor%2C+HM+Treasury%2C+flickr.
Lucian Grainge speaks at the Treasury Connect Creative Industries Conference May 3, 2023. Grainge was listed as a defendant in a sexual assault and trafficking case against Sean “Diddy” Combs. Photo courtesy Kirsty O’Connor, HM Treasury, flickr.

Editor’s Note: This story contains details of sexual assault.

A lawsuit filed last month lists a member of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees as a defendant in a sexual assault and trafficking case against rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs. 

The suit alleges Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, or UMG, and member of the university’s board since 2013, aided and abetted Combs’ behavior by sponsoring gatherings where underage girls were reportedly drugged and raped and provided “vast” sums of money to Combs, who allegedly used it for sex trafficking. 

The lawsuit, brought by music producer Rodney Jones Jr., is the latest in a series of court motions filed against Combs in recent months. Four women — some of whom were underage at the time of the abuse — have accused Combs of rape and sexual assault, including gang rape and drugging. 

Combs has denied all allegations against him. 

“Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged,” Combs said in a statement posted to his Instagram account Dec. 6.

Jones’ lawsuit against Combs, which was filed Feb. 26,  individually lists Grainge as a defendant along with UMG, of which Grainge became chairman and CEO in 2011. The suit lists some 30 defendants, which include an array of individuals and music corporations. 

Grainge joined Northeastern’s Board of Trustees in 2013, according to a Northeastern Global News article, and is a member of the board’s financial affairs committee. He was knighted for his “accomplishments and leadership” in the music industry in 2016. 

“He has provided guidance of the university’s global initiatives and served as a key strategist for the board’s recent meeting in London,” the article, written by the university-run news outlet in 2016, reads. 

In the lawsuit, Jones — who was one of the producers of Combs’  “The Love Album: Off the Grid” — said he was sexually assaulted by Combs and made to recruit sex workers for him. The lawsuit also says Jones has witnessed and has evidence of Combs drugging and raping underage girls at parties and using and distributing hard drugs, such as cocaine, during the time of the albums’ recording from September 2022 to November 2023. 

According to court documents, Jones claims he saw Grainge visiting Combs’ home on multiple occasions throughout that time period. Grainge would reportedly visit in the evening, and he and Combs would “disappear for hours in Mr. Combs’ bedroom,” the lawsuit states. 

Grainge and UMG also sponsored and attended several “Love Album” listening parties where sex workers and underage girls were present, the suit claims. 

“During these parties, Defendant Grainge knew or should have known that Mr. Combs was drugging the attendees through laced bottles of DeLeon Tequila, and Ciroc Vodka,” the court filing reads. 

Jones also alleges that Combs used cash and financial support provided to him by Grainge and UMG to coerce him and others into commercial sex acts, breaking the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The law targets organized criminal activity and racketeering.

“By providing cash that Defendants Lucian Charles Grainge, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Motown Records, Love Records and Universal Music Group knew would be used to fund the sex trafficking venture … [defendants] actively participated in the recruitment of victims of the venture,” the lawsuit reads, adding that the circumstances under which Combs was requesting this money should have raised “red flags” for the defendants. 

Federal agents raided Combs’ residences in Florida and California March 25. While it’s not clear whether the raids were related to the lawsuits, federal investigators in New York have been conducting interviews with potential witnesses about Combs’ sexual misconduct, according to reporting by The New York Times. 

Jones filed a second, updated complaint last week, with accusations that Grainge’s lawyers’ said “drastically altered” the accusations against him, Billboard reported. 

Grainge, along with Universal Music Group, filed a motion to dismiss all claims made against him in Jones’ lawsuit March 27. The motion argued that Jones’ allegations are “knowingly false and ‘invented,’” Billboard reported

Donald S. Zakarin, the attorney for UMG and Grainge, called the complaint “offensively reckless” in a statement to The News. 

“In an offensively reckless complaint, Sir Lucian has been improperly dragged into this matter despite having no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any of Mr. Combs’ alleged conduct,” Zakarin said.  

“Further, after we advised Plaintiff’s counsel of the offensive falsity of the absurd claims, instead of dismissing the claims, as they should have done, the plaintiff has now attempted to amend his claims against Sir Lucian, removing the original set of outrageous falsehoods related to Sir Lucian, replacing them with wholly contradictory new falsehoods that are equally absurd.  Not only will we demonstrate the offensive falsity of these claims, but we will seek recovery of every penny of cost and damage caused by their assertion.”

Northeastern declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

About the Contributor
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at Boston.com and has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
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