During the mid- to late 1990s, as the Internet bubble was inflating, a wide swath of gay Hollywood flocked to the 12,616-square-foot Encino mansion that 40-something Marc Collins-Rector
shared with ChadShackley, a Michigan man in his
mid-20s who had lived with Collins-Rector
since dropping out of high school at 16; and BrockPierce, a teenage actor who had appeared in Disney's
The Mighty Ducks movies.
Anticipating the day that programming would be delivered online, Collins-Rector
was an early Internet mogul with money to spend.
Having changed his
name from Mark Rector to Marc Collins-Rector
favored Armani suits and drove a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
With his two younger associates, he founded Digital Entertainment Network, and heavyweights from former Warner Bros. co-chairman TerrySemel to former congressman MichaelHuffington, as well as Microsoft and Dell, wanted a piece of his company.
But the idea that underage boys were drugged and raped at the Encino estate, and sometimes threatened with guns by Collins-Rector
, is hardly new.
Egan was one of several young men to make such allegations in lawsuits filed against Collins-Rector
, Shackley and Pierce 14 years ago -- court cases in which the plaintiffs won $4.5 million from Collins-Rector
and Shackley by default because the trio had fled the country (Pierce reached a settlement).
In suits filed against Collins-Rector
, Shackley and Pierce in 2000, Egan and several other young men alleged they were "sexually and physically abused," "forced ... through coercion or subversion to consume controlled substances and/or prescription drugs" and "threatened with physical injury and economic harm.
They cited a list of drugs allegedly pushed on them, including "Valium, Vicodin, Xanax, Percocet, marijuana, hashish, Ecstasy and Rufinol" -- the date-rape drug.
It is unclear exactly how Singer first made contact with Collins-Rector
, but many in Hollywood and beyond clamored to do business with his Digital Entertainment Network
It seemed no one, including some who worked with him closely, quite knew where Collins-Rector
came from or his
had tech cred and money from a company called Concentric Research that he
founded in 1991.
Based in Bay City, Mich., it allowed computer users to avoid long-distance charges when dialing electronic bulletin boards -- precursors to online chat rooms.
It was through such a bulletin board that Collins-Rector
befriended high school student Shackley, who dropped out to move in with Collins-Rector
and join his
continued to connect with boys on bulletin boards, including a 13-year-old from New Jersey who later said he
was hired in customer service at Concentric and flown by Collins-Rector
to Michigan and California.
In 1995, Collins-Rector
and Shackley made millions from selling a controlling interest in the company.
programming never amounted to much, but one especially personal pilot was titled Chad's World -- written by Collins-Rector
and produced by Pierce.
Shot amateurishly at the Encino estate and featuring a young actor who later sued DEN, it tells the tale of a teen saved from his dreary world in Michigan by a gay couple who take him to live in their mansion.
In May 1999, the boy from New Jersey who had met Collins-Rector
at 13 had sued in federal court in New Jersey, alleging that Collins-Rector
sexually abused him from 1993 to 1996.
Denying the allegations, Collins-Rector
settled for an undisclosed sum, arguing through his
attorney that he
was paying only because he
wanted to avoid controversy before the IPO.
But he left DEN along with Shackley and Pierce, stating through their attorney that they had planned to go regardless of the lawsuit.
The company's new chairman denied that, saying the allegations in the suit were "inconsistent with a company aimed at 14- to 24-year-olds.
Attorney RonaldPalmieri, representing the DEN trio, said nothing improper went on at the Encino house.
executives, including Neuman
, subsequently told the Los Angeles Times
in 2000 that they knew of no abuse by Collins-Rector
and did not concern themselves with his private life.
, Shackley and Pierce launched another company called World Wide Technology & Internet Ventures Ltd., incorporated
in the British Virgin Islands.
There also were accusations that Collins-Rector
would intimidate his
victims by brandishing a gun.
"Do you know what I can do with this," he
would say, leveling the barrel at them, "and get away with it?"
After a New Jersey grand jury indicted Collins-Rector
in 2000, he
fled the country, along with Shackley and Pierce.
The trio surfaced in May 2002 in a villa in the south Spanish beach city of Marbella.
Police found guns, machetes and child pornography in the house.
Pierce and Shackley were held for about a month then released.
spent a couple of years in jail in Spain, resisting extradition.
In 2004, he
was returned to the U.S.; he
struck a plea bargain and spent brief additional time in prison.
emerged as a registered sex offender under weekly supervision.
In 2006, he
was granted emergency permission to leave the country to be treated for a brain tumor.
relocated to London, where in October 2007 the British paper The Sun ran a photograph of him in a tan blazer, leaning on a cane, accompanied by a young man. "A millionaire pedophile from America is swanning around Britain in a chauffeur-driven limo and surrounding himself with young boys," the article reported.
The U.S. Attorney's office
responded that Collins-Rector
was attempting to circumvent British immigration law by forming a civil union with his
assistant, who had just turned 18.
last known whereabouts are from 2008, when Florida authorities had him residing in the Dominican Republic.
THR's efforts to locate him were unsuccessful, as were efforts to reach Pierce and Shackley.
In Radar's 2008 article about DEN
, its investigation suggested Pierce was fronting for Collins-Rector
through a Hong Kong-based company, Internet Gaming Entertainment
, that sold broadswords, battle axes and other assets to fans of such online games as EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
What seems remarkable, in retrospect, is that all of the charges against Pierce's former partner, Collins-Rector, were filed by federal authorities; despite many allegations regarding activities at the Encino house, officials in L.A. never pursued criminal charges against Collins-Rector or his associates.
In fact, a 2003 affidavit filed by Special Agent JosephBrine and obtained by TMZ stated that Egan had brought allegations against Collins-Rector to Brine's attention.