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Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Ron Jeremy Sexual Assault Case: The Legacy of a Former Porn Star

     Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, born in 1953 into a middle class family, grew up in Queens, New York. Following a stint as a school teacher he tried to establish a career as an actor on Broadway. When that didn't pan out, the chubby, five-foot six aspiring actor moved to the Los Angeles area to pursue a career in the film industry. Hyatt, now going under the name Ron Jeremy, found his place as a Hollywood actor when in 1979 the 26-year-old appeared in his first porn flick. (According to porn film fans, inches that would have made Jeremy six-foot three, ended up elsewhere. For the porn industry he was tall in the right place.)

     By 2018, having appeared in more than 2,200 adult films, Ron Jeremy, having acquired the nickname "Hedgehog" because of his stature and hairy body, had become an icon in the porn business. According to the Guinness Book of World Records he held the record in the category "Most Appearances in Adult Films." Moreover, his fame reached beyond the porn community into popular culture where, through endorsements and his "acting," he became a multi-millionaire. In 2001 Jeremy was the subject of a documentary called "Porn Star: The Legacy of Ron Jeremy."

     On November 15, 2017 Rolling Stone published an article by EJ Dickson that discussed a June 2017 YouTube video posted by a woman named Ginger Banks. In that ten-minute clip Banks told the stories of several women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Ron Jeremy.

     Ron Jeremy's attorney attempted to get Rolling Stone to retract the damning piece, but the magazine stood behind the reporting.

     In 2018, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau launched an investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Ron Jeremy.

     On June 23, 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrested the former porn star. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office charged Jeremy with raping a 25-year-old woman in her home in West Hollywood in May 2014. He also faced charges related to the sexual assault, on separate occasions, of two women in a West Hollywood bar. The alleged assaults of these women, ages 33 and 46, took place in 2017. The final charge involved the alleged rape, in the same bar, of a 30-year-old woman. This offense allegedly occurred in July 2019.

     The 67-year-old former porn star, incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Jail under $6.6 million bond, pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted as charged he faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

     On August 31, 2020, Ron Jeremy was back in court to face 20 additional sexual assault charges involving 13 women ages 15 to 56. The oldest alleged crime took place in 2004.

     The new charges included six counts of sexual battery by restraint, five counts of forcible rape, three counts of forcible oral copulation and two counts of forcible penetration by a foreign object. Ron Jeremy also stood accused of one count each of sodomy assault with intent to commit rape, penetration by a foreign object on an unconscious or sleeping victim and lewd conduct with a 15-year-old girl.

     The most recent sexual allegation against Ron Jeremy took place on January 1, 2020 when he allegedly assaulted a 21-year-old woman outside a business in West Hollywood.

     Ron Jeremy pleaded not guilty to the August 31, 2020 sexual assault charges.
     In January 2023, a judge found Jeremy incompetent to stand trial due to "neurocognative decline." Nine months later the 70-year-old defendant, with dementia and declining health, was released from his jail cell in Los Angeles to a private residence. It is doubtful he will ever be tried for any of the above crimes.

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