The Maryland man who was once the top executive and general counsel for a powerful entertainment industry group has been sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse and blackmail charges.
Steven B. Fabrizio, 58, of Chevy Chase, was accused of sexually abusing and blackmailing a woman he met online on a website aimed at connecting so-called “sugar babies” with “sugar daddies” or “sugar mommas.”
Judge Marisa J. Demeo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia sentenced Fabrizio on Friday to a total of 30 months in prison, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Fabrizio will only serve 12 months, however, as Demeo suspended the rest of the sentence on the condition that Fabrizio complete three years of supervised probation.
He will also be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years following his release from prison, the DOJ said.
Prior to his downfall for financial and sex crimes, Fabrizio had reached considerable career highs as an executive and attorney.
In 2013, he was appointed as the senior executive vice president and global general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a trade group that lobbies Washington on behalf of the movie industry. The MPAA is also behind the letter-based “parental guidance” film ratings system.
According to an MPAA press release at the time, Fabrizio was “widely regarded as one of the preeminent copyright and content protection lawyers in the country, having represented the MPAA and its member companies for many years as lead outside counsel.”
In 2016, he was honored Georgetown Law School’s entertainment and media group, GEMALaw, with the Alumni Achievement Award.
— Georgetown Law (@GeorgetownLaw) February 5, 2016
At the time of publication, Fabrizio was still listed on the GEMALaw website as a recipient of the award. Representatives did not immediately return Law&Crime’s request for comment.
The MPAA fired Fabrizio after his arrest for “violating certain terms of employment,” Variety reported in August 2019.
D.C. Bar records show that on Dec. 2, Fabrizio was “suspended on an interim basis based upon his conviction of a serious crime in the District of Columbia Superior Court.”
According to prosecutors, Fabrizio met his victim on August 19, 2019, days after they first started communicating on the SeekingArrangement website.
The arrest warrant affidavit said SeekingArrangement—now called Seeking—”connects wealthy individuals seeking attractive individuals, with attractive individuals seeking to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle funded by the wealthy individuals.”
In other words, as the current website says: “Seeking began as SeekingArrangement, where ‘sugar daddies’ and ‘sugar mommas’ could meet ‘sugar babies’ by honestly sharing expectations for a relationship upfront. Countless harmonious relationships have been made since the website was created in 2006.”
According to prosecutors, Fabrizio and the woman had consensual sex on August 19, 2019, and Fabrizio gave her $400 in cash, as they had previously agreed.
The next day, Fabrizio requested a second meeting from the woman. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the woman declined; she “thought the defendant had been scary and rough with her during the consensual sex and after the defendant left [she] ‘Bawled her eyes out’ and decided she could never do it again.”
The next day, according to police, Fabrizio sent the woman a series of messages, despite her texting him multiple times that she didn’t want to see him again.
“Baby. Don’t be like that,” Fabrizio said after one of the woman’s many refusals. “I know where you live. I know where you work. Don’t think Georgetown Hospital would be happy to know that it’s [sic] young nurses are having sexual [sic] for money.”
Later in the exchange, the woman asked Fabrizio why he was making threats.
“Why would you do this?” she asked. “Coercing me into sex. Threatening to ruin my life? I don’t understand.”
Fabrizio doubled down. “How are you going to explain to your landlord that you used this apartment to have sex for money?” he wrote.
“I don’t want you to ruin my life because I don’t want to have sex with you!” the woman wrote, and later asked: “Why would you do this to a person?”
“I feel teased,” Fabrizio replied.
That afternoon, Fabrizio returned to the woman’s apartment. She told police that they had a sexual encounter she described as painful. Both she and Fabrizio deleted all the text messages between them, but she had previously taken screenshots of their messages and sent them to her roommate.
At that point, the woman told Fabrizio that she was sorry it didn’t work out between them, and he left. However, he started texting her almost immediately after leaving the apartment, and escalated his threats.
“You may have to do that quickie every once in a while,” he wrote. “Not a lot. Once or twice a month.” The woman again declined, and told him she would like to move on.
“I’ll leave you alone for now,” he replied. “But I’m going to text in a couple of weeks and tell you I’m coming the next morning. If you don’t answer [or say] no you understand what will happen.”
“I’m not doing this. Period,” she wrote him.
“Ok baby,” Fabrizio replied. “You will always have a choice. Be well[.]”
Two hours after that exchange, the woman called police. While she was speaking with detectives, Fabrizio sent her a text message that included her parents’ names and phone number.
From that point on, detectives worked with the woman to send text messages to Fabrizio that were “largely composed and sent in consultation” with police. After two days of back-and-forth, in which the woman continued to say no to Fabrizio and he continued to threaten her, she told Fabrizio she would agree to meet him at her apartment.
Police arrested Fabrizio upon his arrival.
[Images via Joshua Roberts/Getty Images]
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