Former Disney star Ricky Garcia sues ex-manager for sexual abuse: report

A member of the boy band Forever in Your Mind claims his ex-manager sexually assaulted him for years and passed him around as a “sexual plaything” to other industry pedophiles.

Former Disney Channel star Ricky Garcia, now 20, alleges Joby Harte of Hot Rock Media abused him from the age of 12 and throughout his teenage years, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in LA County Superior Court.

The manager used the “well-worn pedophile playbook of grooming and seduction” by initially having conversations with Garcia about sexuality, showing him porn and later plying him with alcohol before raping him, the suit alleges.

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Ricky Garcia from Forever in Your Mind attends the Ben Sherman AW18 LFWM runway show at Embankment Galleries, Somerset House on Jan. 6, 2018 in London. Garcia, a former Disney Channel actor, sued his former manager for alleged sexual abuse.

Ricky Garcia from Forever in Your Mind attends the Ben Sherman AW18 LFWM runway show at Embankment Galleries, Somerset House on Jan. 6, 2018 in London. Garcia, a former Disney Channel actor, sued his former manager for alleged sexual abuse. (Getty)

By the time Garcia was 16, Harte sexually assaulted him “on an almost weekly basis,” the lawsuit claims.

Harte, 37, groomed the budding star as a “sexual plaything that could be passed around his friends in the business,” including a former agent and a manager and producer, the suit charges.

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The abuse “derailed” Garcia’s career and will “take him a lifetime to recover from,” said his attorneys Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos and Michael Popok of Zumpano Patricios & Popok.

“High powered male entertainment industry executives, led by his former manager Joby Harte, who were responsible for nurturing his career, instead sexually preyed on his economic and emotional vulnerability, and sexually assaulted and raped him,” the lawyers said in a statement.

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The former “X-Factor” contestant didn’t tell anyone about the alleged abuse until March 2018 because he was afraid he would lose his career, the suit says. He first told Harte’s former assistant, who told Garcia’s mother.

When confronted, Harte allegedly tried to brush the abuse off as “horseplay,” according to the suit.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Garcia thanked his family, friends and God for helping him have “the courage to speak out against the executives who sexually abused me as a child.”

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“Sadly, I know my experience is just one of many and I hope my actions today will help others who experienced abuse to know that they are not alone and that there are people in the world fighting for them,” he wrote.

Harte couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

This article originally appeared in Page Six.