Park City police are investigating two complaints that were made to a hotline established to report sexual harassment, assault or other bad behavior during the Sundance Film Festival.
Police Capt. Phil Kirk on Wednesday said one complaint was about a sex assault that allegedly happened in approximately 1998. The caller said the perpetrator had returned to the film festival, which concluded Sunday, again this year.
“It’s going to take quite a bit of legwork,” Kirk said, “to go back that far and conduct the investigation.”
Kirk described the second case as appearing to be one of sexual harassment, but for which criminal charges are a possibility. He declined to elaborate on either case because of the continuing investigations. No arrests have been made in either case, or as a result of any other hotline calls, he said.
The Utah attorney general’s office this week provided statistics on calls to the hotline. In all, the hotline received 32 calls from Jan. 12, when the festival began offering some preview screenings, to the festival’s end Sunday.
Of those, three were dubbed to be issues for Sundance organizers to handle, and the information was forwarded to them for follow-up, according to the attorney general’s synopsis.
Spencer Alcorn, a spokesman for the Sundance Institute, said in an email Wednesday that in all three cases, “we worked to investigate and corroborate complaints and their contexts; in several instances, we revoked credentials and festival access for individuals involved.”
Alcorn declined to elaborate.
Four calls had information on potential crimes. Information in those calls was forwarded to Park City police or another law-enforcement agency, Leo Lucey, chief of investigations at the Utah attorney general’s office, said Wednesday.
Investigators from the attorney general’s office, Park City police and other local law enforcement plan to hold a debriefing on Sundance policing later this month, Lucey said, and the hotline will be one of the topics.
“It certainly opened communication between Sundance, Park City [police] and ourselves,” Lucey said.
Sundance established the hotline in response to allegations of sexual assault and harassment from movie producer Harvey Weinstein and other men in Hollywood. In Weinstein’s case, actor Rose McGowan has accused him of raping her at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Weinstein’s lawyer has denied that.
The hotline was promoted in credential packets, on buses and on posters as a place to report bad conduct. In those promotional materials, Sundance organizers said it is committed to providing an experience “free of harassment, discrimination, sexism and threatening or disrespectful behavior.”
Lucey was among the investigators who took a turn carrying the cellphone that hotline callers dialed.
The remaining 25 calls were what the attorney general’s office categorized as “general calls.” Lucey said some of those were from people calling to ensure the line was working, including from Park City’s police chief. Other general calls included complaints about the traffic, rudeness or other hassles inherent with large crowds.
“There was everything from calling to complain about the traffic and the locals wondering why they have to suffer, or why the out-of-towners were rude,” Lucey said.
He cautioned against anyone judging the hotline on the basis of the general calls, noting that 911 lines receive a lot of benign complaints, too.
“It’s a place,” Lucey said, “for people to vent their frustrations occasionally.”