Whippings, beatings and sexual assault: The new lawsuit against Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi and Sergio Andrade

The singer is accused of recruiting underage girls for a music training program, where they were allegedly raped, beaten and banned from seeing family and friends

Gloria Trevi (centro), Sergio Andrade (izquierda) y Raquel Portillo (derecha), tras su detención en Brasil en 2000 acusados de secuestro y abuso de menores.
Gloria Trevi (center), Sergio Andrade (left) and Raquel Portillo (right) were arrested in Brazil in 2000 on charges of kidnapping and child abuse.EVARISTO SA (AFP)

Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi is facing a new civil lawsuit for child abuse in the United States, along with her former partner, producer Sergio Andrade, and a choreographer. The accusations are not new. In 2014, a Mexican judge acquitted Trevi of rape, kidnapping and corruption of minors. After four years in pre-trial detention, Andrade was convicted of the same charges, but only ended up spending another year in prison.

The new suit was filed under a 2019 California law that opened a three-year “lookback window” for claims of child sexual abuse that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiffs can file the suit in the United States, as that is where most of the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The lawsuit, obtained by EL PAÍS, revives claims that Trevi recruited underage girls to be part of a sex ring. Andrade is accused of raping the women, while Trevi and the choreographer are accused of acting has his accomplices.

The suit, made public on Wednesday by Rolling Stone magazine, was filed on December 31, 2022. Although it does not specifically refer to Trevi or Andrade by name, it’s clear that they are the defendants based on details including albums Trevi recorded and concerts she gave between 1991 and 1993 in the United States. Trevi is described in the 30-page filing as a “famous and popular pop star, and one of the most highly compensated female artists in Latin America.” Andrade is described as “one of the most successful music producers in Mexico” at that time, while the choreographer is said to have supported the other two defendants in their efforts to obtain “wealth, status and power.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs – two women identified as Jane Doe – allege that the singer approached them when they were 13 and 15 years old, respectively, and lured them into joining Andrade’s alleged music training program. The program promised to turn it students into the next big pop star, but once inside, they were raped, beaten, psychologically abused, and isolated from their families, according to the filing.

Gloria Trevi performs at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2022.
Gloria Trevi performs at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2022.Theo Wargo (Getty Images)

Jane Doe 1 was 15 years old when she went with her mother and sisters to an event in Mexico City in the hopes of meeting Gloria Trevi. The complaint alleges that Jane Doe I was dancing with a group of fans outside of Andrade’s office, when Trevi, then aged 23, invited her to an on-the-spot audition. That’s where the 15-year-old met the producer for the first time.

After that meeting, the girl entered the academy. According to the filing, the first months were uneventful, but one day in late 1991 or early 1992, Trevi visited the teen and told her that Andrade was “extremely upset” that she had formed a friendship with one of the musicians in the band and wanted to kick her out of the academy. “I don’t want you to go, you need to go talk to [Andrade], do whatever is necessary, whatever he asks of you […] because I want you to stay,” Trevi allegedly told her, according to the filing. Andrade told Jane Doe 1 that “if she wanted to stay in the group, she had to have sexual intercourse with him,” the lawsuit reads. That was the first time Andrade allegedly coerced Jane Doe 1 into sex. He was 36 years old at the time, while she was 16.

What many didn’t know, or chose to ignore, was that the young girls in Andrade’s alleged music training program were being controlled by the producer, who was turning their lives into a waking nightmare. The lawsuit alleges that Andrade subjected Jane Doe 1 and other unidentified dancers, most aged between 12 and 17, to “whippings, beatings, food deprivation and forced physical exercise” if they dared to “displease” him. “He beat Jane Doe I and other young female dancers with electrical cords until their backs were bloody and bruised and a condition of the punishment was that they could not cry out or move while he beat them – the whipping did not end until they were silent and motionless as he inflicted the blows,” the filing states.

According to the lawsuit, the abuses occurred in Mexico City and in California, during the tours that Trevi’s tours in the United States. By the early 1990s, Trevi had become international stars, while Andrade was a powerful figure in both the Mexican and global music scene.

Jane Doe 2 met Andrade and Trevi in 1989, when she was 13 years old and, like the other alleged victims, eager to succeed as a singer. The plaintiff claims that she went to an “audition,” after being spotted by Trevi outside a Mexico City radio station. She says she was first asked to sing and dance, but then Trevi told her that “for the next part of the audition she would need to be nude.” Jane Doe 2 refused, but was still invited to join the academy. Months later, when she entered the alleged training program, the plaintiff claims that Trevi said that she could be Andrade’s girlfriend, and that she could be the one to “make him believe in love again.” “The acts to befriend Jane Doe 2 were to groom her to perform sexual acts with defendant [Andrade],” the lawsuit states.

When Jane Doe 2 turned 14, Andrade began sexually assaulting her, according to the filing. He was 34 years old at the time. The complaint states that the producer became increasingly controlling of the girl and forbade her to socialize with family and friends. The complaint also claims that even though the girls worked for the producer, they were never paid, meaning they didn’t have money to escape his clutches.

In 2000, Trevi and Andrade were arrested in Brazil following an international manhunt after a flood of child abuse allegations came to the surface. Andrade was portrayed as a violent serial pedophile and Trevi as his accomplice. The new civil lawsuit claims that “[Trevi and Andrade] used their role, status and power as a well-known and successful Mexican pop star and a famous producer to gain access to, groom, manipulate and exploit [the victims] and coerce sexual contact with them over a course of years.”

After being acquitted by a Mexican judge, Trevi launched a successful career comeback, releasing two top-charting albums. She has always maintained her innocence. At the 2018 Latin American Music Awards, Trevi defended herself in an emotional speech. “I was not complicit. I was 15 years old, with a mindset of 12, when I met a big producer,” she said from the stage. “He immediately sought to become a mirage of love and pretended to be my only chance to reach my dreams,” she said of Andrade. “I was 15 years old when I began to live with manipulation, beatings, screaming, abuse, punishment. And it was 17 years of humiliations.”

In a 2018 interview with EL PAÍS, Trevi claimed she was another one of Andrade’s victims, and that she did not blame the defendants who had accused her. “I’m not angry with the girls who said things about me because I know that they have suffered. I saw them suffer and I knew that they were under great pressure from the media, their family, society,” she said.

In a message on Instagram, Trevi again denied the revived sexual assault allegations. 6. “Being a victim of physical and sexual abuse is one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. I say it, and I know it, because I am a survivor. And, my thoughts go out to anyone who, like me, has ever been the victim of any kind of abuse.

“But I will not remain silent while I am unfairly accused of crimes I did not commit. These false accusations, which were first made against me 25 years ago, have been tried in various courts and, in all instances, I have been completely and totally acquitted,” she continued. “For these old, disproven claims to resurface now is tremendously painful for me and for all my family. The accusations were false when they were made and remain false today.”

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