For people who lived the through the dot-com collapse of the late 1990s, the name Marc Collins-Rector carries a special horror. Not only was he the architect of one of the most famous implosions of the time — the bankruptcy of Digital Entertainment Networks, an early provider of online video — but he is also a convicted child molester, according to federal records.
In fact, after DEN went belly-up (with the loss of 300 jobs following a botched IPO), Collins-Rector fled the U.S. and briefly spent time in a Spanish prison before being convicted in federal court of sex crimes. He pleaded guilty and paid a fine.
His name has resurfaced in the lawsuit filed against X-Men director Bryan Singer. The plaintiff, Michael Egan, claims he was 17 years old back in 1998 when he was introduced to Singer at Collins-Rector’s mansion in California, according to The Wrap, where you can download a copy of the lawsuit,
On the grounds of the mansion, Egan was raped and sexually harassed and threatened with a gun by Collins-Rector if he didn’t comply, the lawsuit alleges. An attorney for Singer told The Wrap that the lawsuit was “completely without merit”:
“We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit … It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’s new movie is about to open in a few weeks.”
Collins-Rector is not named as a defendant in the suit, but his alleged actions are described within it — suggesting that the plaintiff is in part hoping to lean on Collins-Rector’s notoriety to leverage the claim against Singer.
A call to Collins-Rector’s former attorney requesting comment revealed that the phone had been disconnected. Collins-Rector’s last-known country of residence was the Dominican Republic, address unknown. The allegations in the suit refer to events that happened years ago, and Collins-Rector has long-since served the requirements of his conviction.
But it is the lawsuit’s description of the interior of Collins-Rector’s mansion that will fascinate people who heard the rumors about DEN back in the day. It was a poorly kept secret at the time that Collins-Rector and his friends held parties at their “M&C Estate” that would make Hugh Hefner blush.
His two DEN co-founders were Chad Shackley, then 24, who had lived with Collins-Rector since dropping out of a Michigan high school, and Brock Pierce, then a 17-year-old actor best known for his leading roles in such Disney films as “The Mighty Ducks” and “First Kid.”
All three lived in a 12,616-square-foot mansion in Encino, drove a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, wore Armani suits, took spur-of-the-moment vacations to the tropics and threw parties that attracted a young, hip crowd that also defined DEN’s target audience.
… Work began in 1998 on its first show, “Chad’s World.” Produced by the teenage Pierce, the show centered on a 15-year-old from Michigan who questions his sexual orientation and ultimately flees his town’s intolerance to move in with a gay couple in a California mansion.
For early financing, majority owner and chairman Collins-Rector turned to high-profile individuals he had come to know in Hollywood, including television actor Fred Savage. Former U.S. Rep. Michael Huffington said he invested $5 million.
Huffington later complained that he was led to believe major companies were investing at the same time he was, and on the same terms–which wasn’t true. He also said Collins-Rector traded on his name, describing Huffington as vice chairman although he held no such position.
Collins-Rector initially made his fortune in the tech business as the founder of an early ISP, Concentric Networks. It was acquired by Nextlink Communications for $2.9 billion. Again, the Times picks up the story:
The windfall enabled Collins-Rector and Shackley to pursue a lavish new lifestyle. They bought an enormous RV and traveled the country scouting living locations, settling briefly in Beverly Hills before paying $2.47 million in 1997 for a mansion in Encino.
At one point, Collins-Rector was accused of meeting a 13-year-old boy online. He was sued in a lawsuit in New Jersey federal court, and the case was settled, the LA Times says. Later, federal prosecutors began looking into allegations that Collins-Rector had abused children. VNUNet reported at the time that Collins-Rector was found in Spain:
DEN co-founders Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley and Brock Pierce were arrested in June on an international warrant after being indicted in New Jersey on five counts of transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts.
Today, Collins-Rector remains a registered sex offender but he is not in prison, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records. Fast Company did a nice, long story on Collins-Rector several years ago that is well worth a read.
Read the lawsuit here:
The post Singer Lawsuit Is Tied To Marc Collins-Rector, Infamous Child Abuser Of The Dot-Com Boom appeared first on Business Insider.
Powered by WPeMatico