Celebrity magician David Blaine is under investigation by New York police for allegations he sexually assaulted two women, according to a report from The Daily Beast. The New York Police Department Special Victims Unit (SVU) confirmed during a Monday press conference that a pair of complaints against Blaine has prompted "an active investigation" into allegations that he may have assaulted two different women on two separate occasions.
While The Daily Beast is reporting that the NYPD confirmed that it has taken statements from the two women, they noted that at least one of the claims might fall outside of the statute of limitations. According to people familiar with one woman's allegation, her alleged assault took place in Blaine's Manhattan apartment in 1998.
NYPD chief of detectives Dermot Shea said he could neither confirm nor deny whether the department had or was seeking to interview Blaine personally. However, they did confirm that as of now, Blaine has not been charged with a crime. Meanwhile, Blaine responded to requests for comment from The Daily Beast only by confirming that he had not been contacted by the police.
"The NYPD takes sexual assault and rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors," said NYPD spokesman Phil Walzak in a statement.
It's not the first time the 45-year-old Blaine has been accused of sexual assault. In 2004 former model Natasha Prince accused him of raping her in London, allegations that Blaine denied. After investigating her claims, Scotland Yard detectives opted to take no further action.
Furthermore, CNN is reporting that there was a separate investigation into Blaine about a year ago, but that that matter has since been closed.
Blaine is perhaps best known for his headline-grabbing public illusions presented on a grand scale. He first came into the limelight over two decades ago with a stunt in which he was buried in a coffin beneath a three-ton water tank for seven days with no food or water. Another of Blaine's large-scale tricks involved him being suspended 30 feet in the air in a see-through plexiglass box for over 40 days in London in 2003. He had himself encased in ice in Times Square for 58 hours, and in another event, he spent 35 hours standing on top of a flag pole.
Blaine is scheduled to begin a tour of Ireland and the U.K. in June.