Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that he raped Cesar Sanchez-Guzman in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sanchez-Guzman, who was 17 at the time of the alleged assault, wrote in his complaint that he was attending a party on Lester Waters’ yacht when Singer lured him into a private room, forced him to perform oral sex, performed oral sex on him, and raped him, despite his protests. Singer has consistently and flatly denied Sanchez-Guzman’s claims, saying he didn’t know him at all.
The settlement was the product of negotiations between Singer’s attorneys and Sanchez-Guzman’s bankruptcy trustee Nancy James, not Sanchez-Guzman himself. Singer’s accuser filed for bankruptcy in 2014; when he sued Singer three years later, his bankruptcy trustee reopened his case on the grounds that his creditors had an interest in the proceeds, if there were any. In a filing on Wednesday, James recommended the court approve a settlement of $150,000, noting that Sanchez-Guzman had not produced any evidence he attended the 2003 party. Singer’s attorneys said in a statement that agreeing to the settlement was a business decision, not an admission of guilt:
Mr. Singer has denied even knowing this individual, let alone allegedly having interacted with him more than 15 years ago. The decision to resolve the matter with the bankruptcy trustee was a purely business one, as litigation costs would well exceed the amount requested by the trustee to pay off the creditors who were owed money when the debtor filed for bankruptcy.
Nearly half of the proposed settlement, $61,000, would go immediately to Sanchez-Guzman’s creditors, mostly for the student loan debt he couldn’t discharge through bankruptcy. A portion of the remaining money would be used to pay administrative costs related to his bankruptcy, and Sanchez-Guzman would receive whatever was left.
Singer has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct since a 1997 lawsuit alleging he asked underaged extras to appear nude in a shower scene in Apt Pupil. He has consistently denied wrongdoing.