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3 Former DEN Workers File Suit

July 26, 2000|JOSEPH MENN

Three former employees of Digital Entertainment Network, including one hired and allegedly abused before age 16, have accused the defunct company's three founders of rape, assault and death threats, according to a civil complaint filed last week.

The allegations against Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley and Brock Pierce came in a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit. The suit also names the Internet video company known as DEN, which filed for bankruptcy liquidation in June.

The case follows a similar suit filed last month by a DEN employee hired at age 15 and allegedly seduced with the aid of drugs and alcohol after he turned 16. The defendants haven't been served yet with either suit.

Alex Burton, then an 18-year-old DEN actor, was threatened with death by Collins-Rector before sex, the new suit says. A second DEN employee, Mark Ryan, rebuffed a sexual advance in September, was drugged without his knowledge and molested while unconscious, the suit says. He was fired the next day. And the third plaintiff, then 15, was given drugs, cash and presents and threatened with death, the suit says.

An attorney for the three defendants didn't return telephone calls Tuesday.

The three founders left DEN last fall, after Collins-Rector settled a sex molestation suit by a teen who had worked at his previous firm; Collins-Rector has denied the charges. Microsoft, Dell Computer and NBC were among the investors in DEN, a Santa Monica company that at one point had more than 300 employees.

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