eXp Responds to Second Lawsuit Claiming Company Participated in Sex Trafficking

eXp and CEO Glenn Sanford are seeking to dismiss a second lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by high-profile recruiters at company events, arguing again that they are not responsible for the alleged misconduct of agents—although the same judge just recently overruled similar arguments in a separate case. 

Back in December, Anya Roberts, a current eXp agent, came forward with claims that two eXp influencers—Michael Bjorkman and David Golden—drugged and sexually assaulted her at a company event in 2020. Another influencer, Michael Sherrard, also groped her, Roberts claimed, while Sanford and other eXp executives and top recruiters looked the other way.

The allegations closely mirror claims made by four other women, who say Bjorkman and Golden specifically engaged in a long-running pattern of rape and drug abuse—which also overlapped with their recruiting efforts for the company, as alleged victims often named them as “sponsors” through eXp’s unique recruiting model, directly adding to their compensation.

eXp has previously denied the company or Sanford had knowledge of the alleged assaults committed by Bjorkman and Golden, claiming they were swiftly separated when the allegations came to light.

Other alleged victims dispute this, claiming that Sanford—who personally knew Bjorkman and Golden—tried to cover for them, even offering “confidential” payments and pressuring the women to sign NDAs.

In their lawsuits, Roberts and the four other women both claim that regardless of any alleged cover-up, Sanford and eXp benefitted from Bjorkman’s and Golden’s “methods,” claiming Sanford, eXp executives and other influencers looked the other way to protect their own bottom lines. 

Utilizing a law meant to protect sex trafficking victims, both lawsuits seek to hold the company as a whole responsible as participants and beneficiaries of the alleged abuse.

“Roberts…alleges, without factual support, that eXp…and its CEO Glenn Sanford participated in a sex trafficking venture with (Golden and Bjorkman),” the company wrote yesterday. “No facts support that eXp or Sanford received anything of value as a result of sexual assaults against (Roberts), or that eXp or Sanford knew or should have known about Golden and Bjorkman’s alleged abhorrent actions.”

The judge overseeing this case recently rejected a similar attempt by Sanford and eXp to dismiss most of the accusations against them, throwing out one claim that the company was negligent in hiring the men (though plaintiffs in the other case recently tried again to pursue those arguments).

In this case, eXp and Sanford are acknowledging the earlier ruling, but saying that because Roberts was not directly recruited by Bjorkman or Golden, the sex trafficking statute is not applicable. 

Golden, during and after the alleged assault, attempted to coerce Roberts into naming him as her sponsor, according to the lawsuit. Because that failed, eXp and Sanford claim they “never knowingly received any benefit from Golden and Bjorkman’s alleged venture.”

Roberts also claims that denying Golden’s attempts—even after the alleged assault—“stonewalled” her career with the company, which eXp and Sanford claim would also harm the company rather than benefiting them, as Roberts’ success would ostensibly translate into boons for the company and anyone on her “upline.”

“If the Court permits (Roberts’) cause of action to proceed…under a theory that Golden’s recruit (sic) efforts satisfy the ‘attempt’ element, and to the extent that Plaintiff successfully pleads Sanford knew or should have known about the sex trafficking venture…then eXp’s only option would have been to terminate (Roberts) contract to prevent a future benefit from Golden’s failure, thereby damaging themselves in comparison to the position they were in prior to Golden’s efforts, and damaging (Roberts),” the company claimed.

Besides these specific legal assertions that are distinct from the other case—in which the women were directly “sponsored” by Bjorkman and/or Golden—eXp and Sanford repeat several of the same arguments rejected in the other case, including that the company was never legally Bjorkman’s or Golden’s employer, and disputing that Sanford or eXp had “constructive knowledge” of the men’s alleged pattern of behavior before they joined the company or while it was occurring.

The company also notes that Roberts did not report the incidents, unlike the other women who claim they were threatened or ignored when they came forward.

“The complaint makes conclusory allegations against (eXp and Sanford) that cannot support an inference that they knew or should have known of the venture while it was occurring,” the company said.

The judge has scheduled a hearing on April 12 to consider the motion. The other lawsuit is much further advanced, having been filed in February of 2023, and is currently scheduled to go to trial in just over a year.

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