Playwright Israel Horovitz accused of sexual assault

Nine women have accused the playwright and theater director Israel Horovitz, who wrote more than 70 plays, including "The Indian Wants the Bronx," "Line" and "Park Your Car in Harvard Yard," of sexual assault. 

The women, who worked for or with Horovitz, told The New York Times that Horovitz, now 78, kissed, groped or forced himself on them when they were in their teens or early 20s. The incidents date from the 1980s to as recently as last year. 

Horovitz issued an apology but said that he has "a different memory of some of these events."

His son Adam Horovitz, also known as Ad-Rock of Beastie Boys fame, has come forward to support the accusers, saying, "I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them."

One woman, Jocelyn Meinhardt, who dated Adam Horovitz in high school, said Israel Horovitz raped her when she was 19. 

Meinhardt said the rape took place when she began a summer fellowship in 1989 with Israel Horovitz at the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts, where he was artistic director. She told the Times that on the first night, Horovitz drove her to his home, locked the door and eventually raped her. Meinhardt said she continued to work for him after the incident and said, "He was a good mentor, until he was the worst, probably most nightmarish mentor you could have."

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Israel Horovitz told the Times, "I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me. To hear that I have caused pain is profoundly upsetting, as is the idea that I might have crossed a line with anyone who considered me a mentor."

Other accusers include an au pair, who said she was 16 when Horovitz groped her breasts and put her hand on his penis in 1991, and an actress in one of Horovitz's plays who said she was 16 when he pushed her against a wall and forcefully kissed her. Maia Ermansons, an aspiring playwright, said that when she went to meet with Horovitz last year, he kissed her and groped her breasts. She was 21 and had known Horovitz since she was a child. She said she felt betrayed by the man she felt close to "like a grandfather."

It is not the first time Horovitz has faced such allegations.

The Times reported that in 1993, The Boston Phoenix, a weekly paper, reported on sexual misconduct accusations by seven actresses and Gloucester staff members and three nannies, which Horovitz called "character assassination." The Gloucester theater's board president, Barry Weiner, dismissed the accusations at the time and called the accusers "tightly wound, if you know what I mean."