P Diddy accused of rape and abuse by ex-girlfriend that began when she was 19

Sean "Diddy" Coombs has been hit with claims of rape and abuse by his ex-girlfriend Cassandra Ventura, who says he began targeting her when she was just 19 years old.

Recording artist, model and actress Cassandra, better known as Cassie in the US, has filed a civil lawsuit against P Diddy where she alleges the abuse, although the rapper has strongly denied the claims.

Cassandra, now 37, says in her claims filed with Manhattan's Federal District Court that when she was 19, Diddy signed her to his label Bad Boy Records and alleges that he "lured (her) into an ostentatious, fast-paced, and drug-fuelled lifestyle, and into a romantic relationship with him."

In court papers seen by The Mirror, Cassandra also highlights a power imbalance with Diddy, who is nearly 20 years older than her at 54 and is a well known, powerful figure in the entertainment industry.

Cassandra, who has now split from the star, alleges that he supplied her with drugs and forced her to have sex with prostitutes while he filmed it.

She also claims that after they had split, she went for dinner with Diddy in 2018 but says that afterwards he forced his way into her home and raped her.

In a statement to the New York Times, Cassandra said: "After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships."

However, Diddy's lawyer Ben Brafman has replied to the allegations saying: "Mr Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations.

"For the past six months, Mr Combs has been subjected to Ms Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail.

"Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday."

Meanwhile, Cassandra's lawyer Douglas Wigdor claimed: "Mr Combs offered Ms Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit. She rejected his efforts."

Although an exact figure for compensation is not stated in the claim, it is said to ask for "a money judgment representing compensatory damages including consequential damages, lost wages, earning, and all other sums of money, together with interest on these amounts, according to proof."

She is also said to be seeking compensation for "mental pain and anguish".

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