SALT LAKE CITY — Kiersten Pyke remembers getting home from the set of the movie she was shooting and being very upset. Her mother noticed something wasn't right, and finally got her to talk about what was wrong.
"I just looked at her and said, 'Mommy, he touched me.' And that was it. And tears just welled up, and she said, 'He did what?' And I said, 'That man touched me,'" Pyke recounted.
On Monday, Pyke, 26, filed a lawsuit against actor Tom Sizemore claiming he molested her on the set of a movie in Salt Lake City in 2003 when Pyke was just 11 years old.
Pyke was shooting the movie "Piggybank," which was later retitled to "Born Killers." She played the role of Sizemore's daughter in the movie. On Aug. 29, 2003, the two were at an abandoned house, 644 E. 300 South in Salt Lake City, for a photo shoot with a Christmas theme, according to a police report. There were approximately 20 people on the set at the time.
As part of the session, Pyke was supposed to sit on Sizemore's lap, according to the lawsuit. The police report says Sizemore was laying sideways on the carpeted floor in front of Christmas decorations. As she sat, he positioned his hand — palm-up — so that the girl would have to sit on it, the report states.
"As I sat down, I sat on a man's hand. And it was Tom Sizemore's hand. And tried to move around shuffle my body. I thought I was in his way," Pyke recalled Monday.
But as she tried to shift her body away, Sizemore's hand moved with her so he continued to touch her, she said.
"He was shuffling, he was moving his hand, he was moving articles of clothing," Pyke said.
Sizemore — best known for movie roles in "Saving Private Ryan," "Black Hawk Down" and "Pearl Harbor," among others — was 41 or 42 at the time, the lawsuit states. Pyke's mother filed a report with Salt Lake police on Sept. 12, 2003. The police report, however, states that the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office declined to file formal charges "due to witness and evidence problems."
Pyke said her parents also went to dinner with officials from the movie. She said they were "railroaded" into not pursuing any further legal action. Pyke believes Sizemore was simply "suspended" from the movie set and was brought back to finish the movie, after Pyke herself was fired.
From that moment, Pyke said her life changed. She never acted in another movie again.
"I couldn't book a movie after that because I was the problem child," she said. "It was a huge turning point in my life. Everything went sideways."
After the allegations were brought to light in November, Sizemore released a statement on his Twitter account strongly denying the claims.
"I don't deserve this. I never, nor would I ever, sexually touch a child. I have done many things I deeply regret," he said in the statement. "However, I did not do this."
In her lawsuit, Pyke says because of Sizemore's alleged actions, she "has developed a number of serious mental, psychological and emotional problems, caused substantially from this event.
"Kiersten has developed substance addictions and problems resulting from the sexual assault by Sizemore," the lawsuit continues. "She has become co-dependent, believing that 'no one saved me' from this event. She has trouble watching movies where young children are involved, wondering if that same type of event has happened to those children."
Pyke said she now has post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Because of the above-mentioned sexual abuse, Kiersten has had a lifelong battle with abuse of alcohol, drugs and sex," the lawsuit states. "This sexual abuse destroyed Kiersten Pyke's sense of self-worth."
If not for a Facebook post by the film's casting director that led to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, Pyke isn't sure she would have pursued a lawsuit. But once the story was released in November, she said she was on board.
"It wasn't necessarily me that wanted to pursue it," she said. "It was either jump on the bandwagon because we're talking about you or sit on the sidelines and let us talk and say our own stories about how you were affected. I didn't have much of a choice. That being said, I guess now is the time. God works in mysterious ways."
Pyke was asked Monday about a statement from Sizemore's publicist in which he again denied the allegations and questioned why others on the set didn't say anything 15 years ago, particularly a woman whose lone job on the set was to watch over the child actors.
"That's comical. I'd like to fight back with that and tell him it's comical. You're comical. Because every person you have talked to on that set will be standing behind me in the courtroom," she replied.
Pyke and her attorney, Robert Sykes, said they have tried to negotiate a settlement with Sizemore's brother in Detroit, who is acting as his attorney, since January. But about six weeks ago, Sykes said, "They just ceased any and all contact with us and never returned phone calls after about two months of negotiations."
In her lawsuit, Pyke is seeking "no less than $3 million." But whether she gets any money or not, Pyke said she's pursing the lawsuit to send a message.
"It's not OK to touch children. Whatever comes of it now, it's not for me at this point," she said.
"He has every right to be scared because he did something wrong," she continued. "And I'm here to tell you, 15 years later we will win."
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