Reclusive Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss — one of the Democrats’ biggest and most secretive donors — is currently under investigation for a 2011 sexual assault, as originally reported in a handwritten complaint by his former employee Jacqueline Long.
The current status of the investigation was confirmed by a Nov. 30, 2017 document obtained by TheDCNF in a case titled the “State vs. Hansjorg Wyss.” The document was from the office of Fredric M. Knapp, the Morris County, N.J., prosecutor.
The document confirmed the receipt of sexual paraphernalia from Long, including a “purple vibrator.” She alleged in the complaint the device was used by Wyss as a weapon during the assault against her.
Separately, John Mills, the Morris Township, N.J., attorney where the alleged assault took place, informed TheDCNF in an email the township could not release any documents concerning the probe because it involved in “an ongoing investigation [that] involves victims’ rights.”
Township authorities are looking into the accusation Wyss launched a vicious and brutal sexual assault against Long on April 3, 2011, while the two were staying at the Governor Morris Hotel in Morristown, N.J.
The case apparently remained dormant and was never closed. Last fall, Long traveled to Morris Township to meet with local officials in the prosecutor’s office and at the police department, according to her attorney, John F. O’Riordan.
TheDCNF accompanied Long to Morris Township and observed the prosecutor’s office’s request for the new evidence pertaining to the alleged sexual assault.
Wyss has ties to Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and John Podesta, Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman. Although he is not as well known as other liberal mega-donor billionaires like George Soros and Tom Steyer, Wyss has given hundreds of millions of dollars to progressive activist groups through his private foundations.
In just 2014 and 2015, the Wyss Foundation reported in its Form 990 filings with the Internal Revenue Service it gave $110 million to progressive activist groups. His foundation also donated several million dollars to non-activist organizations such as Yale University, the Salvation Army and food pantries. His foundation’s assets were nearly $2.2 billion according to a 2015 filing.
The Swiss citizen sits on the board of the progressive Center for American Progress, founded by Podesta. From 2009 to 2013, Podesta also sat on the board of Wyss’s HJW Foundation and served as a consultant, personally pocketing $87,000, according to his 2013 White House financial disclosure.
Wyss donated $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in December 2013 to support “the progress women and girls have made in the 20 years since the UN Fourth World Conference on Women,” according to the foundation’s web site.
Wyss also was the architect for an aggressive $100 million “Democracy Program” in 2016, which sought to create a “surge of registration” and “substantially advancing the [Wyss] Foundation’s policy agenda,” according to a memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
This is not the first time Wyss has had a run-in with the law. He gained notoriety when his company, known as Synthes, Inc., conducted surgical procedures on patients — procedures that lacked approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Five people died following the illegal medical procedures.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Mary Crawley, who led the Synthes prosecution, told federal Judge Legrome Davis that Wyss’ firm “used these people, these elderly patients, as guinea pigs.” She called it “human experimentation,” noting, “they all have undermined the fundamental procedural protections that separate a civilized society from an uncivilized society when it comes to human experimentation.”
Four top executives from the Pennsylvania firm served time in prison, but Wyss walked free under the Obama Justice Department despite being named “Person No. 7” in the federal indictment. Federal prosecutors originally identified Wyss as the CEO who repeatedly approved the illegal surgical operations.
The 2011 assault allegedly occurred when Long had a personal relationship with Wyss. But in April, she told Wyss she wanted to end the relationship due to mounting abuse, according to the handwritten complaint Long filed with the Morris Township Police Department.
In her complaint to Morris Township police, obtained years ago by TheDCNF, Long said, “I told him I wanted out of any relationship and just continue to do my work.”
Long was allegedly enticed to quit a job in Aspen, Colo., in 2009 to join Wyss as a marketing manager to the billionaire’s winery along with his HJW Foundation. Later, she left both entities and joined the Wyss Foundation also as an employee. At both foundations she tried to fund programs for underprivileged and abused women and children.
Long helped to establish and fund a Colorado-state sex and human trafficking task force led by the Denver Police Department when Wyss made the job offer. She continued with the task force and still works with it today.
Long previously told TheDCNF Wyss also promised her he would cover costs for her daughter Callie, who was entering the Betty Ford Center. She was suffering from prescription and substance-abuse problems.
Over time, however, Long’s relationship allegedly devolved into a “pattern” that ran “the full gamut of rather perverse sex acts,” according to a May 8, 2013 letter by Ryan DiMaria, a previous Long lawyer, to Carolyn Short, one Wyss’s top lawyers.
“Wyss had a pattern and practice of carefully executed grooming and victimization of women,” DiMaria charged.
“Ms. Long felt she had no choice but to acquiesce to most of his demands and fell victims to his deviancy due to her financial dependency on him and the well-being of her daughter,” DiMaria alleges.
DiMaria detailed “bizarre fetish demands,” including “a fetish for sadomasochism and introduced the aspect of pain and physical injury into the sexual acts.”
At the New Jersey hotel, Wyss assaulted Long physically and sexually, according to her police complaint.
“Me screaming, ‘No stop it,’” she wrote in her own handwriting to police. “He grabbed my teeth with his left hand and ripped my mouth open. He inserted a vibrator into my vagina and almost suffocated me by putting his fist into my mouth. I struggled and pushed. I thought for sure he was going to kill me,” she wrote.
“I left that hotel room sick and in pain,” she told police in the statement. She returned to Boulder and “stayed in bed for weeks. The physical sickness of this event was devastating,” she told police.
Wyss also allegedly threatened to stop his financial support for her daughter if she broke up with him, according to Long.
“She’s probably one of the first who took on powerful men over sexual misconduct,” recalled Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby in an interview with TheDCNF. He personally knew the Boulder resident and counseled her about her relationship with Wyss.
“After the attack, I had breakfast with Jackie at the Hotel Boulderado. She broke down during breakfast. This thing had happened and it was terrible. She was quite shaken and Jackie doesn’t shake too easily,” Koby said.
“Hans had her in a bind in terms of helping Jackie heal her daughter, who had some serious health addiction issues,” Kolby added. “That was what was keeping Jackie in the relationship and she didn’t have a lot of money. She was still clinging to the hope she could save her daughter. And that she had these things she wanted to do with these organizations working on detention homes and shelters in Boulder and in Denver,” Koby recalled.
“I said ‘Jackie, you have to get out of the relationship. You cannot do things based on an unequal relationship. This relationship has gone evil,’” Koby told TheDCNF.
Kevin Kinnear, a Boulder attorney who has known Long for decades, told TheDCNF she changed after the alleged attack, from a successful, friendly, outgoing person to a withdrawn, shell-shocked individual.
“She became a different human being, to kind of a ‘shell’ and shell-shocked. Right after the attack, then her daughter died and her mother died,” Kinnear told TheDCNF. “It’s kind of unimaginable to me.”
“The physical abuse she described, I can’t comprehend it. An act like that and bullying her in that relationship, then with her daughter, it was deeply affecting,” he told TheDCNF.
Although the alleged assault occurred in 2011, Long instead focused on her daughter’s condition after the incident. Callie died on Dec. 12, 2013. Long traveled to Morris Township three months later and filed her handwritten complaint. Long told the police her daughter had died. “That is why I am free now to report this incident,” she wrote in her March 12, 2014 complaint.
O’Riordan, Long’s lawyer, said he could not comment on the case under a 2013 settlement agreement between his client and Wyss. The 2013 settlement contains both confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses.
“The confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions of the settlement agreement and subsequent court orders bar Ms. Long from discussing what happened to her, her relationship with Mr. Wyss, or the terms on which the lawsuit of Long v. Wyss was resolved. Similarly, I cannot and will not comment on any of those matters,” O’Riordan told TheDCNF.
But in light of the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s eight confidential settlements with women over three decades that The New York Times reported imposed a “code of silence” on both his victims and on his company’s employees, many advocates for women are challenging the pervasive use of confidentiality clauses in sexual abuse settlements.
In Pennsylvania, where Wyss executed his settlement with Long, there is an active movement to prohibit out-of-court settlements that can serve as “gag orders” on abused women.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Judith Schwank, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that seeks to end the silencing of women through the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or out-of-court settlements.
“Over the last year, we have repeatedly seen the sexual harassment and misconduct swept under the rug by way of the use of NDAs and out-of-court settlements,” Schwank stated upon the introduction of her bill last October before the state Senate. “These agreements allow serial predators to continue abusing employees, clients, and contractors, sometimes over decades.”
“Additionally, victims of sexual harassment often find themselves pressured by the expense and length of court battles into signing agreements that do not protect the public interest and can enable predators,” she said. “The elimination of NDAs and out-of-court settlements that protect perpetrators is a positive step forward.”
The argument over the use of confidentiality clauses to protect sexual predators is not new. In 2008, Jon Bauer, a law professor at the University of Connecticut Law School published a paper titled, “Buying Witness Silence: Evidence-Suppressing Settlements and Lawyer’s Ethics.”
“A debate about settlement secrecy has raged on and off for the past two decades,” Bauer wrote, noting that defendants who practiced highly offensive conduct have “strong incentives” to seek such confidentiality clauses or agreements “in order to avoid adverse publicity, decrease the chances of similar suits being filed, and make it more difficult for those who bring claims to prove their cases.”
Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said even after a relationship is long over, abusers often will turn to the legal system to reassert control. “They will maintain control by using any systems that are at their disposal to continue to batter,” she told TheDCNF.
“I cannot wrap my head around why it would be in the victim’s best interest to say, ‘I won’t talk about you assaulting me,’” Glenn added, and said confidentiality agreements “are about power and control.”
She said she would like groups that deal with the trauma of sexual abuse to re-contact women to see if they would want confidentiality clauses removed.
“In the perfect world, wouldn’t it be awesome for them if someone were to go back and knock on a woman’s door, noting the NDA or the confidentiality agreement, and they would say, ‘we’d like to offer you the opportunity to review and to make the determination if you’d like for us to take a look another look at it through trauma lens.’ Something that simple,” she said.
O’Riordan told TheDCNF, “Cases such as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and Roger Ailes have prompted legislators, including the New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislatures, to consider banning the use of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in sexual abuse and harassment cases.”
The new movement “has caused many to rethink whether these types of agreements serve any legitimate purpose in today’s society and whether they should be declared illegal and unenforceable as a matter of public policy,” O’Riordan told TheDCNF.
Tom Fitton, the president of conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, told TheDCNF sometimes confidentiality clauses protect both sides, especially when embarrassing information is involved.
But Fitton, whose group represented a large number of women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault, said confidentiality clauses should not protect someone from criminal prosecution. “When they are used to cover up criminality, I don’t know if legally they have much weight in terms of enforcement,” he said. He added that it’s in the public interest to make “sure that confidentially clauses and settlement agreements are not used to cover up criminal acts.”
Long has established a foundation called “Callie’s Backyard” that focuses on youth homelessness, addiction and sex trafficking.
“She’s trying to turn all of that around and now she’s working hard on Callie’s Backyard,” Kinnear told TheDCNF. “She formed it to make what happened to Callie to have some meaning.”
TheDCNF contacted the Wyss Foundation and its president, Molly McUsic about the case. There was no reply to our inquiry.
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