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Academy member on trial over child molestation charges draws scrutiny

Stacy Perman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

"During the course of this trial you will meet a family with a rich history of falsifying child molestation claims to leverage them for financial gain," he said in his opening statement, calling his client, a "target" because of his "wealth, status and resources."

Further, he said that the two families were connected and that their allegations were the "product of collusion" and "collaboration."

Five months after Cooper's arrest, the L.A. County district attorney filed for a grand jury indictment against him. The grand jury returned an indictment on all eight counts, according to court filings.

Initially Cooper's bail was set at $8.95 million; it later was reduced to $5 million. The court ordered Cooper to surrender both his U.S. and Canadian passports and required him to wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle; his travel was restricted between his home, work, visits to relatives and place of worship, with a specific list of addresses attached — and a GPS monitor was notified of his visits. Cooper was prohibited from "any unsupervised contact with minors."

In 2020, the court lifted his ankle monitor, over the objections of the district attorney's office, according to a D.A.'s spokesperson.

Last December, just months before Cooper's trial began and while he remained out on bail, a 23-year-old publicity coordinator said she had an unsettling encounter with him at a pair of screenings for foreign-language films in contention for an Oscar nomination.

 

The woman, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said Cooper introduced himself at the first screening in West Hollywood as Jeff Louis. He was "charming" and "flirtatious" during the after-screening dinner, she recalled, boasting that he was the only academy member who was an architect.

But she said the meeting made her "uncomfortable." Louis, who was nearly 50 years older than she, asked her age and said, "Yyou're probably too young.'" As they spoke, she said, he touched her legs and arms.

At a brunch in Beverly Hills following the second screening in Beverly Hills, three days later, she said, he insisted they sit together. Once again, she said Louis touched her as they chatted. That evening he texted her photos of them from the event. "Great to see you again. (Tell me… Why do I feel like a naughty school boy who got caught talking to a girl in the back of the class?)," he wrote in a text viewed by The Times.

Unnerved, she googled "Jeffrey Louis" but found nothing. It was only after she went through the event's invite list that she found his full name was Jeffrey Cooper. When she searched again, the news articles reporting his arrest on suspicion of child molestation left her rattled. (Louis is Cooper's middle name, court records show.)

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