Genesis Prize co-founder accused of drugging, sexually assaulting woman in 2021

Unnamed plaintiff sues American-Jewish businessman Stan Polovets for allegedly drugging her on date, then assaulting her at apartment; his lawyer and Genesis issue denials

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

File: Genesis Prize Foundation Co-Founder Stan Polovets attends the 'Genesis Generation Challenge' at Bloomberg Philanthropies on April 28, 2015 in New York City. (Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images via AFP)
File: Genesis Prize Foundation Co-Founder Stan Polovets attends the 'Genesis Generation Challenge' at Bloomberg Philanthropies on April 28, 2015 in New York City. (Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images via AFP)

A woman has filed a lawsuit against Genesis Prize co-founder Stan Polovets for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting her on a date in December 2021, according to a civil court summons published Wednesday.

According to the New York Supreme Court filing, Polovets used his position as a well-known businessman to gain the trust of the unnamed woman, referenced only as Jane Doe.

Additionally, the plaintiff accused The Skylark luxury cocktail bar in Manhattan, where the two sat for drinks on their date, of destroying video evidence of the drugging incident, despite being pressed multiple times by the plaintiff’s lawyer to hand over security footage from the evening.

Following the incident, Jane Doe was drug-tested, coming back positive for Benzodiazepines, a type of drug that includes Rohypnol, commonly known as the date rape drug, according to the document.

The plaintiff is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for nine claims against Polovets, including sexual battery, sexual assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, gender-motivated violence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She also filed claims of negligence and aiding and abetting against The Skylark.

Polovets, an American-Jewish businessman, in 2013 co-founded the Genesis Prize Foundation, which grants a $1 million award each year to a person for their professional achievements, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values.

File: Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla (right) receives the 2022 Genesis Prize from Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, left, and Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman/CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Mark Bederow, an attorney representing Polovets, denied the accusations on behalf of his client in an interview with The Forward Friday.

Bederow said the police rebuffed the woman’s request to investigate the incident, which was made after her lawyers requested monetary compensation from Polovets over the incident.

“The NYPD declined to take action and after that, the lawsuit follows demanding money again,” he said. “So, it is what it is in terms of what they’re doing here and he looks forward to clearing his name and is fully confident he’ll be exonerated.”

The Genesis Prize Foundation told The Forward that its founder “looks forward to clearing his name.”

“The foundation believes that false accusations of sexual assault injure not only the person falsely accused, but also survivors of sexual assault,” the Genesis Prize Foundation said.

Lawyers for the unnamed plaintiff and The Skylark did not make a comment.

The case was first reported by the New York-based group Za’akah, which supports sexual abuse victims in Jewish communities.

According to the document, Jane Doe went on a date with Polovets after being introduced through a matchmaker in the summer of 2021. The two maintained “sporadic” contact and agreed to meet for a second date that December.

At the time, the plaintiff stressed to Polovets that she preferred to meet at a public place, while Polovets pushed to meet her at his residence at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel apartments.

On December 16, the two met for a drink and then went to see a play hosted by the Council of Foreign Affairs. After that, they headed to The Skylark, where they each ordered two rounds of cocktails.

“After a few sips of her second cocktail, Jane Doe felt suddenly disoriented and began to lose control of her motor functions. Jane Doe had never experienced the feeling before and she felt overwhelmed by distress, confusion and fear,” the document read, adding that Polovets did not appear surprised by her change in behavior.

With his hands around her waist, Polovets ushered Jane Doe with him outside, despite her objections, pleas to let her go home, and attempts to escape.

“Jane Doe attempted to call Ubers to her apartment at 11:08 p.m. and 11:09 p.m., but Polovets took Jane Doe’s phone from her hands and canceled both Ubers against Jane Doe’s will,” the document said.

Polovets brought the plaintiff back to his apartment in an Uber, stripped her, put her in his bed and began “groping her intimate areas and kissing her” while she remained under the drug’s influence but continued to object to the moves, according to the accusations.

Jane Doe woke up at 1 a.m. and fled back to her own home, where she arrived disorientated and required help from her doorman to get to her apartment.

“She woke up to several WhatsApp messages from Polovets, which she ignored,” the document said.

Jane Doe told the matchmaking service of her experience and warned them not to set Polovets up with any more matches.

Polovets continued to contact Jane Doe after the date with messages that “expressly acknowledged that Jane Doe was incapacitated on their date — ‘and thus unable to consent to any sexual activity’ — and that Polovets took Jane Doe to his apartment against her will.”

The messages from Polovets blamed Jane Doe’s incapacitated state on drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, and berated her for blocking his phone number and leaving “without saying goodbye.”

The summons said Jane Doe still suffers from mental distress and “expended significant costs” on medical and psychological treatment due to the incident.

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