The Sexual Predator on The Movie Set…

Harry Lebow sat in his den looking out the window as the rain violently struck against it and he knew something was very wrong. It had started when Covid-19 hit Toronto and he couldn’t do his accounting work from his office downtown. He was not an essential business, so he had to leave his office under threat of being fined.

He had moved everything home to be in quarantine with his wife Sabrina. She was a makeup artist who worked on a lot of different productions in Toronto and had just finished working on a major movie.

Sabrina and Harry had been married six years and had never had a fight or a major disagreement about anything. Magoo, their Shitzu seemed delighted that Harry would be spending more time at home.

The first night in quarantine when Sabrina came to bed, Harry started to kiss her neck and she turned to look at him. ‘’Harry, I’m feeling really wiped out, so let’s just sleep tonight.’’ Unfortunately, he got the same response, every time he tried to be amorous and he knew there was a problem.

In the morning when Harry asked Sabrina about what was going on, her response was ‘’It’s really complicated.’’ Harry knew he needed to find the cause of her alienation of affection and try to fix the situation, he wondered what he had done wrong.

Every morning Harry took Magoo for a walk. He started at six am and they walked for about forty minutes, and then it was into the shower, breakfast, and work. It was a pretty boring routine. Harry walked Magoo again at around five and then read the news till dinner.

After supper, he would offer to watch a Netflix or Amazon series or movie with Sabrina and she would decline and head to their bedroom, where she’d turn on the TV, lay down on the bed, and watch a show by herself. She was hooked on the Bachelor. The few episodes he had watched with her always reminded him of Caligula. Twenty Seven different women would let one guy fool around with them until he decided which one he wanted to fool around with the most. It was so primitive and degrading, but Sabrina loved it. It still didn’t explain the lack of passion that was becoming more evident every night.

The lack of love and lovemaking was starting to take a toll on Harry. One night he prepared a very romantic dinner but after a few bites and a couple of sips of the wine, Sabrina announced she was full and for some reason started to cry, it was extremely strange.

Harry was frustrated and when he tried to discuss things, Sabrina would shut him down. Every night in bed, it was complete rejection no matter how much he coaxed or tried. There was something very, very wrong.

One evening, Harry started to walk Magoo when he realized he’d left his cellphone in the bedroom. He came back to the house, left Magoo outside in the back, and headed in. He was halfway up the stairs when he heard Sabrina talking very quietly and with great emotion.

‘’I’m really troubled, I wanted to discuss the night I was in bed with you at the Four Seasons, I’m still very uncomfortable about what went down. The fact I don’t remember very much of it is really bothering me. I need answers. What happened is wrecking my life. What! What!’’

Harry couldn’t believe what he heard. When he entered the bedroom Sabrina’s face turned bright red. ‘’How much did you hear?’’ Harry shook his head, ‘’Everything, I’m such an idiot, I thought we loved each other, I always took our wedding vows seriously, I’m so fucking stupid.’’

He turned and went down the stairs out the door grabbed Magoo and took off on their walk. Harry moved a little faster than normal. He was trying to understand and comprehend. How could the love of his life cheat on him? It seemed incomprehensible.

When he got back to the house Sabrina was making dinner. Harry sat down at the table and kept looking at his wife. ‘’I made you a veggie burger and fries. Here’s some lemonade. I’m sorry you heard my conversation, it wasn’t the way I was planning to tell you about what happened at the Four Seasons.’’

Sabrina placed the burger and fries in front of him. He looked her up and down and was confused. As she stood there, he slowly and deliberately took off his wedding ring. It was the first time he had removed it since he put it on under the Chuppah. A tear rolled down his face.

‘’Why Sabrina? We have never fought about anything, we’ve always talked, gotten along, made love, I’ve loved you unconditionally from the day we met. What did I do wrong that would cause you to cheat on me?’’

Sabrina sat down and placed her hands in front of her in a very formal kind of way. ‘’You know the old cliché, it’s not you, it’s me, well, in this case, it’s true. On my last movie, the Director told me he felt this incredible attraction. Every day he’d come into the makeup trailer and tell me he wanted to know me better. I’d laugh and tell him I was married, and that seemed to increase the attention he was giving me. His name’s Gregory Abbott. He’s an ‘’in demand’’ guy. He has a place in Malibu and he said he was planning to leave his wife, I became his unofficial confidant between takes. To make a long story short, Somehow I ended up in Gregory’s suite at the Four Seasons. I really don’t remember much including how I got there except I woke up naked beside him. I feel guilty and very sorry. I don’t know how it happened. I had a few drinks at the wrap party and the next thing I knew I was in another man’s bed. I don’t remember anything about the night except waking up without my clothes on. It wasn’t normal and I felt really sick. I tried to call him tonight for an explanation and he said it was all my fault and to stop bothering him and he hung up on me.’’

There was a wrenching in Harry’s gut, something he had never felt before. He felt nausea and an emptiness. Harry looked at his wife. He thought she was a very striking, beautiful woman. He loved her with every ounce of strength in his body. ‘’It sounds like you were drugged. Your story sounds like you were sexually assaulted. We need to investigate this Gregory Abbott.’’

Harry stood up and walked into his den. He did a google search on famed Director Gregory Abbott. The first few write-ups were very impressive. Abbot had been nominated for a Tony, Oscar, and Emmy. He had won all kinds of awards and was considered one of the Best Directors in the industry. It wasn’t until much further down in the search that some unflattering reports appeared about him. It looked like publicists had tried to erase his past, but they had failed.

A woman who was a Costume Designer had sued Abbot for sexual harassment when she worked with him on a Broadway show, another woman who was a Production Assistant had sued him for sexual harassment when he Directed a few episodes of the television series she was working on, and finally, he had been sued by a Publicist who claimed he had sexually assaulted her when they were doing a media tour for a new movie he had directed. There was one common element, he had settled with each of the women for his bad behaviour out of court for undisclosed sums. There was no question, Gregory Abbot was a snake. Harry knew that Sabrina had to go to the Police and it would be her word against his. It would be tough but the predator had to be stopped.

Harry decided to check out what kind of woman could live with a serial sexual abuser. Abbot’s wife’s name was Emily Stowe and she was noteworthy because she was a high-profile fashion designer. Emily had married him five years earlier and they had one child together. After he settled his last sexual harassment suit, he had gone to ‘’therapy’’ for ‘’sexual addiction.’’ He and his wife had had recently renewed their vows in front of a Hollywood crowd. They were now in quarantine together in Malibu.

After sitting in the den, Harry got up and put the leash on Magoo. He rarely walked him twice in the evening, but he needed to think and fresh air was a great restorative.

The next morning, Harry went out for a very long walk with Magoo. When he came home he found Sabrina crying. ‘’I called one of the girls who worked on the movie and who I remembered seeing at the wrap party. She said the last time she saw me, I was out of it and Greg and an Assistant Director were walking me towards the exit. Harry I’m not a kid, and I’m not a person who would have ever gotten that drunk. Oh my Gd, Harry I think I was raped. I have been living with this guilt and shame and I couldn’t understand it. I would Never cheat on you, that’s why I’ve been living this tortured life.’’

Sabrina got up and went into the bathroom. Harry could hear her sobbing. When she came back he hugged her and said it was time to call the sexual assault division of the Toronto Police Service.

Two female Detectives from the Police Service arrived and spent a considerable amount of time with Sabrina. They took statements and said further investigation would be needed. They gave the name of a Psychologist and suggested that Sabrina make an appointment. They promised to keep her informed of their findings and if she recalled anything or needed anything they would be available for her twenty-four hours a day. Harry expressed his gratitude.

That night in bed Harry took a deep breath ‘’Why didn’t you want to make love the last few nights?’’ There was a significant pause before Sabrina responded. ‘’I felt funny, I wanted to tell you about the Greg thing but I didn’t know-how. I didn’t want you to think I was using our lovemaking to excuse my actions and I didn’t know if you’d want to make love to me after you found out what happened. It was all very confusing until we started analyzing the situation. It’s all been so terrifying.’’

Two weeks later there was a major announcement on all the Entertainment programs, Gregory Abbot had been arrested for multiple cases of Sexual Assault. His Assistant Director had been charged with being an Accessory. As it turned out Sabrina was not the first woman he had drugged and raped. It had been happening for years and when the Toronto Police notified the LAPD, they shared information that they had been working on an active investigation into Abbot’s activities. They had enough victims to move forward.

The Toronto Police laid sexual assault charges and much to Sabrina’s dismay she found out she wasn’t the only victim of Abbot’s while working on the movie. There were two other women who had stepped forward with very similar stories.

One year later on the day that Greg Abbot was convicted to six consecutive one-hundred-year sentences for the rapes he had committed, Harry and Sabrina celebrated his convictions and incarceration with an announcement. Sabrina was pregnant, it was in many ways the very best revenge. Their lives were just starting, Greg Abbott could spend the rest of his life directing prison plays.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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