Another Disney Star, Ricky Garcia Accuses His Ex-Manager Of Sexually Abusing Him As A Child
Former Disney Channel star Ricky Garcia is accusing his former manager, Joby Harte, of sexually abusing him while he was a child. Ricky, now 20, starred in the show Best Friends Whenever on the network from 2015-2016 and also appeared on The X Factor in 2013, which was where he met his current Forever In Your Mind bandmates. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ricky is suing Harte and a number of other industry officials for allegedly committing or abetting childhood sexual assault.
According to the report obtained by THR, Ricky claims the abuse began when he was just 12 years old and that Harte raped and sexually assaulted him “dozens of times” throughout his teenage years. Ricky said Harte groomed him into a “sexual plaything that could be passed around his friends in the business,” including ex-APA agent Tyler Grasham and manager-producer Nils Larsen. In the complaint, Ricky’s attorneys wrote: “Defendant Harte, the ringleader, employed the well-worn pedophile playbook of grooming and seduction. He targeted an economically and emotionally vulnerable pre-teen and his parents. He then groomed and seduced the child’s mother to have her lay down her defenses and give him unfettered access to her son, making her an unwitting accomplice to his depravity.”
According to People, Ricky claims Harte would “show him porn and ply him with alcohol, after which he would wake up naked the next morning beside Harte.” The complaint also says that on his 17th birthday, Ricky alleges that Harte entered his shower stall at a hotel and forced him to perform sexual acts on the former manager.
Ricky kept the alleged assault a secret until March of 2018 when he told Harte’s former assistant, who then told his mom. The complaint says that, at the time, Harte brushed the accusation off as “horseplay” but then admitted he “did not behave like an adult.”
Yesterday, 20-year-old Ricky took to Instagram to say it was “one of the most difficult days of my life.”
“It was through the support of my family, friends, all my supporters, and most of all God that I summoned the courage to speak out against the executives who sexually abused me as a child,” he wrote. “Sadly, I know my experience is just one of many and I hope my actions today will help others who experienced abuse to know that they are not alone and that there are people in this world fighting for them.”
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So please if anyone is out there right now going through something even remotely similar to what I went through, please, we all need to speak out about this– yes of course I want justice for the POS that manipulated me, but more importantly this is about saving anyone else who feels like they don’t have a voice, because I can tell you this. YOU are not alone. This can can happen to anyone that you know. It’s just a matter of talking about this to people and letting your close ones know that it’s not okay. So if anyone knows anyone else that’s going through this shit as well. It’s so important to speak up for them🙏🏼
[11:34 AM] Cara Croke
Ricky is the second former Disney star to come forward and accuse their ex-manager of sexual misconduct in the last number of weeks. Last week, singer Jordan Pruitt, who recorded songs for multiple Disney Channel Original Movies as a teenager, claimed she was sexually abused by her manager while working for the network and said “Disney treats their underage talent like cash cows.”
One of the accused, Nils Larsen, issued a statement via his attorney to THR yesterday. “My client Nils Larsen categorically disputes the claim,” he said. “He intends to sue the attorneys for malicious prosecution after he prevails in this action.” Harte and Gresham are yet to respond to the allegations. Gresham was fired from APA in 2017 amid unrelated sexual harassment and assault claims.