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"I was afraid": The actor accusing Asia Argento of sexual assault has spoken out.

When sexual misconduct allegations were levelled at Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, Italian-born actress Asia Argento was among the vanguard of famous women declaring #metoo.

But this week, courtesy of a report by The New York Times on Sunday, it’s now Argento on the receiving end of such claims.

According to the paper, the xXx star received a notice of intent to sue from actor Jimmy Bennett in November 2017; the same month she publicly accused Weinstein of raping her two decades earlier.

The former child star, who played Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, alleges that the mother of two committed “sexual battery” against him in a Californian hotel room in May 2013. Bennett’s account reportedly states that Argento removed his pants and performed fellatio, before climbing on top of him and engaging in intercourse. She was 37 at the time, while he was just 17 – below the state’s age of consent.

The pair reached a financial settlement in March 2018, reportedly for $380,000.

Asia and Jimmy in 2013. Image: Instagram.
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In his first official statement on the issue, Bennett, now 22, told The New York Times on Wednesday that he previously remained silent because he was "ashamed and afraid" to be part of the public narrative.

"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," he wrote.

"I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself.”

Bennett's statement comes a day after Argento's own, in which she "strongly" denied the assault allegations the young actor has levelled her.

Argento did confirm that a settlement occurred, but claimed it was simply an attempt to avoid negative press and to help Bennett with his financial troubles. The funds came courtesy of her partner, Anthony Bourdain, the world renowned chef who took his own life in June, at the age of 61.

"Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such a person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us," she told the paper.

"I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."

But the case took yet another turn on Wednesday.

Tabloid outlet TMZ published the content of text messages sent by Argento to a friend in which she reportedly admitted to having a sexual encounter with Bennett. According to the tabloid, she claimed he "jumped" her.

"I had sex with him. It felt weird. I didn't know he was a minor until his shakedown letter," one message reads.

“He wrote me this afterwards and kept sending me unsolicited nudes all these years up until two weeks before the attorneys letter.

“It wasn’t raped [sic] but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me I had been his sexual fantasy since was 12.”

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is reportedly considering an investigation into Bennett's claims.

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