Nearly two decades after a judge abruptly cleared pop diva Gloria Trevi of charges she lured minors into a secret sex ring in Mexico, the singer is facing a new civil lawsuit in Los Angeles that revives claims she procured underage girls for her ex-producer Sergio Andrade.
The new complaint, obtained by Rolling Stone, was filed shortly before the Dec. 31 deadline for a three-year “lookback” window that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on childhood sex assault claims in California. Neither Trevi nor Andrade are specifically named in the suit, but it’s clear they’re the top two Doe defendants based on details including concerts Trevi played in the 1990s and albums she recorded.
According to the filing, two Jane Doe plaintiffs allege they were 13 and 15 years old respectively when Trevi approached them in public and lured them into joining Andrade’s purported music training program by promoting it as an elite star-making opportunity. The victims says Trevi groomed them to become sex slaves to Andrade, and that much of their abuse happened in Los Angeles County.
By the time the Jane Does were recruited, Trevi and Andrade already had reached international fame with a series of hits showcasing Trevi’s edgy lyrics and rebellious persona, the lawsuit states. Trevi was dubbed Mexico’s version of Madonna while Andrade was credited as her behind-the-scenes production ace. It would be several years before the once-celebrated duo would seemingly disappear ahead of a flood of sex cult allegations from multiple former protégées. The claims would explode into an international scandal, with Andrade painted as a violent serial pedophile and Trevi his willing accomplice. The two would be arrested in Brazil in January 2000 after an international manhunt.
Trevi, now 54, spent four years in pre-trial detention but was ultimately acquitted when a judge said there was insufficient evidence to support the rape, kidnapping and corruption of minors charges filed against her by Mexican prosecutors. After spending four years awaiting trial, Andrade was convicted of rape, kidnapping and corruption of minors, but ended up spending only one more year behind bars.
Trevi has maintained her innocence from the start. After her release from custody in 2004, she moved to the U.S., married a lawyer and settled in Texas. She has 5 million Instagram followers and continues to tour and appear on TV. She released her highly successful seventh studio album Una Rosa Blue in 2007 and her 2011 self-titled album Gloria, which topped Billboard‘s Latin Albums chart.
At the 2018 Latin American Music Awards, Trevi staunchly defended herself in an emotional speech. “I was not complicit. I was 15 years old, with a mindset of 12, when I met a big producer,” she said from the stage. “He immediately sought to become a mirage of love and pretended to be my only chance to reach my dreams,” she said of Andrade. “I was 15 years old when I began to live with manipulation, beatings, screaming, abuse, punishment. And it was 17 years of humiliations.”
Despite her public denials, her career comeback and her seemingly complete estrangement from Andrade after reportedly giving birth to his son while incarcerated in Brazil, Trevi is now back to being a co-defendant with the disgraced producer over claims dating back to the late 1980s.
“[Trevi and Andrade] used their role, status and power as a well-known and successful Mexican pop star and a famous producer to gain access to, groom, manipulate and exploit [the victims] and coerce sexual contact with them over a course of years,” the new civil action seeking real and punitive damages alleges.
The filing also mentions a third defendant who worked with Trevi and Andrade as a choreographer, dancer and assistant, but the individual isn’t named. (The legal team that filed the lawsuit did not respond to an email seeking comment for the story. Reps for Trevi had no immediate comment.)
Attempts to reach Andrade were not immediately successful. The once-powerful producer previously admitted he had sex with Karina Yapor, the chief accuser behind his criminal conviction, when she was 13 years old, but during his trial, he denied raping her or holding her against her will. Yapor had alleged she was essentially kidnapped at 12 and brainwashed into becoming a member of Andrade’s harem with Trevi, then in her late 20s, playing a key role. At age 15, Yapor gave birth to Andrade’s baby in Spain. She abandoned the child there in 1998 at Andrade’s request, according to her 2001 book Revelaciones.
According to the new 30-page complaint, Jane Doe 1 was 15 years old in the summer of 1991, living with her family in Puebla, Mexico, when her mother took her to an event where she hoped to meet the charismatic singer already known throughout Latin America for her 1989 No. 1 hit “Dr. Psiquiatra.”
Jane Doe 1 was dancing and singing along to Trevi’s music with a group of fans outside Andrade’s office in Mexico City when Trevi emerged and allegedly approached her. Trevi told Jane Doe 1 that she was “a very good dancer and very beautiful,” and invited her to an on-the-spot audition that resulted in an offer, the lawsuit filed by lawyers Karen Barth Menzies, Ari Wilkenfeld, Laura Nagel and Caroline Whitlock claims.
Believing the offer was her opportunity to achieve teen pop superstardom herself, Jane Doe 1 moved to Mexico City for what she and her mother thought was a residential training program. The lawsuit says the seemingly “idyllic” living arrangement took a dark turn when Trevi visited the teen in a room at the Hotel del Bosque in late 1991 or early 1992 and said Andrade was “extremely upset” about a friendship Jane Doe 1 had forged with a male member of the group.
Andrade allegedly had “strict rules” that forbade the friendship, and Trevi purportedly told the teen through tears that she would have to leave the troupe unless she could convince Andrade to let her stay.
“I don’t want you to go, you need to go talk to [Andrade], do whatever is necessary, whatever he asks of you…because I want you to stay,” Trevi allegedly told her, according to the filing.
Jane Doe 1 went to Andrade’s hotel room in tears and was told that “if she wanted to stay in the group, she had to have sexual intercourse with him,” the lawsuit reads. “[Jane Doe 1] did not want to have sex with [Andrade] but felt extreme pressure because she admired [Trevi] and [Andrade], who were adults, and she wanted to stay in the group and didn’t know what else to do,” the paperwork alleges.
Andrade, who was 36 years old at the time while Jane Doe 1 was 16, allegedly coerced her into an initial sexual assault that night and then manipulated or “forced” her into a series of assaults and rapes that continued until approximately 2001, according to the complaint.
“When [Trevi] perceived that [Jane Doe 1] was at a ‘breaking point’ from the abuse, [she] would intercede to manipulate and coerce [Jane Doe 1] into staying with the group, not leaving and not telling anyone about it, causing the sexual abuse to continue,” the filing states. “[She] would tell [Jane Doe 1] that the outside world was much worse than staying with the group.”
Trevi purportedly told Jane Doe 1 the group was “a family,” and she belonged there. “What’s waiting for you if you go back to Puebla City?” Trevi allegedly asked. “This is your opportunity so don’t waste it. You are going to be traveling, doing music, learning a lot, BUT you need to do this.”
The lawsuit alleges Andrade also controlled Jane Doe 1 and other unidentified dancers by subjecting them to “whippings, beatings, food deprivation and forced physical exercise” if they dared to “displease” him.
“[He] beat [Jane Doe 1] and other young female dancers with electrical cords until their backs were bloody and bruised, and a condition of the punishment was that they could not cry out or move while he beat them,” the lawsuit claims. “The whipping did not end until they were silent and motionless as he inflicted the blows.”
By late 1993, Jane Doe 1 says she was removed from the stage altogether and assigned to work as an assistant and virtual sex slave for Andrade, the filing alleges. She was so traumatized and “broken” by the ongoing sexual and physical abuse, she remained with the group despite feeling utterly “hopeless” and “like a zombie,” the complaint states.
Jane Doe 1 alleges her “sexual, physical and mental abuse” continued when she traveled with Trevi and Andrade to Southern California for recording sessions and shows, such as Trevi’s performance at the famed Roxy Theater on August 31, 1992. The suit alleges the abuse continued until 2000, when Andrade was arrested.
According to the paperwork, Jane Doe 2 was 13 years old in June 1989 when Trevi allegedly spotted her outside a Mexico City radio station. Trevi approached, claimed she was scouting for fellow performers and lavished the girl with praise for her “very tall and pretty” appearance, the lawsuit reads.
At an “audition” weeks later, Trevi allegedly asked the girl to remove her clothes, claiming she herself had stripped naked for her own tryout because it was necessary to pinpoint “what parts of her body needed work.” The girl declined to disrobe but did sing and dance, and ultimately was offered a “scholarship” to attend classes with Andrade, the lawsuit says.
As the complaint further alleges, Trevi soon began grooming the girl to become Andrade’s “girlfriend,” telling her she was the perfect candidate to make him “believe in love again” after another girl her same age had “betrayed him” and broken his heart. Later that summer, when Jane Doe 2 was still 13 years old, Andrade began sexually assaulting the girl in an office and an apartment in Mexico City, the filing claims. He would have been 33 at the time, while Trevi was 21.
Andrade allegedly became increasingly abusive and controlling, promising Jane Doe 2 that he would “make her a star” like Trevi if she met his demands. According to the complaint, he marked an office calendar with dates showing purported plans to travel to Los Angeles to record her debut album, but he would “cross out the date” if she “misbehaved.”
Andrade brutally abused Jane Doe 2 as well, the suit claims, beating her with a belt, punching and slapping her, depriving her of food and prohibiting her from using the bathroom.
The abuse allegedly continued when he brought her to Los Angeles for lengthy stays between 1990 and 1992, when Trevi was recording her albums Tu Ángel de la Guarda and Mi Siento Tan Sola, the filing states. At one point, Jane Doe 2 allegedly called her mother and begged to be rescued from the “bad people” holding her captive in Los Angeles. That’s when Trevi purportedly swooped in and spent hours convincing her to stay, telling her she was “so close to completing her album and reaching her dream of becoming a singer.”
The assaults continued, and in December 1990, the suit alleges, Andrade married Jane Doe 2 in Mexico when she was 15 years old to remove her from her mother’s legal custody. Jane Doe 2 agreed to the marriage “because she was terrified of what [Andrade] would do if she refused.” She “escaped” from the troupe’s group home in Mexico City, the lawsuit alleges, in December of 1992. Both plaintiffs claim they’ve suffered “substantial emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness, anger and fear,” and each has “issues with their personal lives, such as issues with trust and control.”
The Jane Does filed their complaint just before the deadline of California’s Child Victims Act, a 2019 legislation that temporarily waived the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to come forward with their allegations for civil suits. The lookback window closed on December 31. The same legislation allowed for a woman to sue Steven Tyler last week over sexual assault allegations dating back to the 1970s when she was 16 years old.
While the Child Victims Act closed, another California bill took effect on Monday, allowing adult victims of sexual abuse to file previously time-barred lawsuits until the end of 2023 if one or more defendants allegedly engaged in a cover-up.