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Asia Argento accuser Jimmy Bennett breaks silence on alleged sexual assault

Click to play video: 'Asia Argento, Harvey Weinstein accuser, paid off actor who said she sexually assaulted him: report'
Asia Argento, Harvey Weinstein accuser, paid off actor who said she sexually assaulted him: report
WATCH: Asia Argento, Harvey Weinstein accuser, reportedly paid off actor who said she sexually assaulted him – Aug 20, 2018

The actor who accused actress Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him when he was 17 years old says he didn’t speak out about the alleged crime earlier because he didn’t think people would empathize with a male accuser.

In a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday, Jimmy Bennett said he chose to handle the situation in private because he wasn’t prepared to deal with any public fallout, and that his trauma resurfaced after Argento came out as a sexual assault victim herself.

It’s the first public comment released by Bennett, now 22, since a Sunday report by the New York Times which claimed Argento, 42, settled with her former male co-star for $380,000.

READ MORE: Asia Argento allegations are a reminder that you can be both victim and perpetrator

“I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public,” Bennett wrote.

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“At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”

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Argento is alleged to have paid out the $380,000 settlement last October, shortly after she publicly accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of raping her in 1997.

Weinstein denied that allegation, which made Argento one of the figureheads of the #MeToo movement.

The Italian actress has denied having any sexual relationship with Bennett, who played the part of her son in the 2004 film The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.

Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett in a scene from the 2004 film “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.”
Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett in a scene from the 2004 film “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.”. ©Palm Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

She said in a statement that her late boyfriend, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, “personally undertook to help Bennett economically” in response to the young actor’s “exorbitant request” of money.

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WATCH: Asia Argento denies sexual assault allegations; claims Bourdain paid accuser out of compassion

Click to play video: 'Asia Argento denies sexual assault allegations; claims Bourdain paid accuser out of compassion'
Asia Argento denies sexual assault allegations; claims Bourdain paid accuser out of compassion

The payment was made under the condition that “we would no longer suffer any intrusions in our life,” Argento added.

Argento’s statement concluded that she is exploring “all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues.”

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