Jury selection begins in ‘sex-slave’ abuse case
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 10, 2013 5:30PM
Kimberley O'Brien (2006 photo) is suing her ex-husband, Kevin Anderson | Rich Hein~Sun-Times files
Updated: July 12, 2013 6:25AM
It’s a bride’s worst nightmare: the rich, charming groom who turns into a violent and sexually abusive sadist on their honeymoon.
But former Gold Coast resident Kimberley O’Brien, 52, says that nightmare became a reality within days of her marriage to rare coin dealer Kevin Anderson, 57.
Now — seven years after she filed a $60 million lawsuit against her ex-husband alleging he kept her as a sex slave and forced her to call him her “master” — the case is finally going to trial in federal court.
Even by the standards of bitter divorces, it’s a bare-knuckle fight, complete with O’Brien’s allegations that she was tied up, whipped and beaten in accordance with a master-slave “contract” if she failed to parade around their Chicago and Wisconsin homes naked — and Anderson’s counter claims that O’Brien is a former prostitute who willingly went along with his rough sex play.
In an unusual move, potential jurors were quizzed in private Monday by Judge Edmond Chang and lawyers for both sides about their attitudes to the shadowy world of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.
O’Brien, who in a 2006 interview told the Chicago Sun-Times she’d brought the lawsuit because, “This kind of abuse shouldn’t just be washed away,” says she met Anderson in Aspen, Colo., in 2000. He claimed to be single and “showered” her with “lavish gifts,” she says.
He later admitted he was married, only to get divorced, propose to her, then jilt her on the eve of their planned wedding, before eventually marrying her in Carmel, Calif., in 2005, according to the lawsuit.
But during the honeymoon, O’Brien alleges, Anderson asked if he could tie her up, gag and blindfold her while he “teased” her with a feather. Once she consented, he beat her unconscious, sexually assaulted her, took humiliating photos and tied her up overnight, she says.
In the morning, he allegedly told her “if you are a good slave this will never happen again,” warning, “If you tell a single soul about this I will beat your face so badly that you will not recognize your own face in the mirror.”
Repeated beatings came in the weeks that followed “in a deliberate and calculated pattern of abuse, apologies and false promises,” that left her “so thoroughly abused and fearful that [she] lacked the power to leave or resist,” O’Brien alleges.
Anderson, who’s accused in the civil lawsuit of intentionally causing O’Brien emotional distress, of false imprisonment, battery, sexual assault and negligence, insists in court papers, “I have never been abusive to Kim.”
Opening arguments in what’s expected to be a two-week trial are likely to begin Tuesday.