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'X-Men' director Bryan Singer accused of sex abuse in lawsuit

Bryan Singer at the Hugh Jackman One Night

Bryan Singer at the Hugh Jackman One Night Only at the Dolby Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 in Los Angeles. In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Hawaii Wednesday, April 16, 2014, a former child model and aspiring actor accuses the "X-Men" franchise director of sexually abusing him as a teenager. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Shotwell

HONOLULU - A lawsuit accusing "X-Men" director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1990s was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hawaii. On Thursday, Singer's attorney responded that the accusations were "completely without merit."

"We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit," attorney Marty Singer (no relation) said in a statement, a day after Michael F. Egan III, 31, filed his civil suit. "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," the lawyer added, referring to "X-Men: Days of Future Past," set for release May 23.

The lawsuit claims Bryan Singer, 48, "manipulated his power, wealth and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats and inducements ... as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys."

The alleged incidents occurred at an estate in Encino, Calif., in 1998, and the following year, when Egan was 17, at an estate in Kailua, Hawaii.

"Hollywood has a problem with the sexual exploitation of children," Egan's attorney, Jeff Herman -- who also represented plaintiffs in a similar lawsuit involving "Sesame Street" Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash last year -- said in a statement. "This is the first of many cases I will be filing to give these victims a voice and to expose the issue."

While the statute of limitations for felony child sexual abuse under Hawaiian law is normally when the alleged victim reaches age 26, the state amended the law on April 24, 2012, to allow a two-year exemption in which cases still could be brought.

To help protect defendants, the new law also authorized courts to award them attorney's fees when accusations are found to be without basis in fact and done with malicious intent.

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