The former top lawyer at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was sentenced Friday to one year in prison for sexually abusing and blackmailing a woman he met on a “sugar daddy” dating website.
Steven Fabrizio, 58, had previously pleaded guilty in July 2021 to one count each of third-degree sexual abuse and blackmail in a Washington, D.C., court. The third-degree count was originally a charge of second-degree sexual abuse, and Fabrizio faced up to 15 years in prison between the two charges.
However, a plea deal reduced the charge to a third-degree offense for the Maryland-based Fabrizio.
As part of this plea deal, Fabrizio had his original 30-month sentence reduced to 12 months after he agreed to also complete three years of probation. As an additional stipulation of the plea deal, he must register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.
Fabrizio reportedly had an initial consensual sexual encounter with a woman after meeting her on a sugar daddy site, typically described as a transactional dating process in which older men pay younger women. He reportedly paid the woman $400 to perform sexual acts.
After this first encounter, a police affidavit states, Fabrizio then blackmailed the woman using text messages by threatening to reveal the relationship to her family, employer, and landlord if she refused further sexual liaisons.
This then led to Fabrizio abusing the woman and eventually forcing her into a second, unwanted sexual encounter.
The woman then called Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police, and Fabrizio was arrested in August 2019, charged with sexual abuse and blackmail. Upon learning of his arrest, the MPAA fired Fabrizio from his position.
The MPAA told The Hollywood Reporter at the time of the arrest that it had no knowledge of Fabrizio’s actions, describing them as “shocking and intolerable to the Association.”
Prior to his termination, Fabrizio had served as general global counsel for the MPAA since 2013. At the time he was hired, the MPAA, a film industry advocacy body based in Los Angeles and Washington, reportedly called Fabrizio “one of the pre-eminent copyright and content protection lawyers in the country.”
Prior to his employment with the MPAA, Fabrizio was a partner for the media and entertainment division of law firm Jenner & Block. He had also previously worked for the Recording Industry Association of America as a high-level legal executive.
This is not the first time that Fabrizio has faced legal trouble, as he was reportedly arrested in 2010, accused of sexual solicitation. An employee of Jenner & Block at the time, the law firm previously stated that it had no knowledge of this incident.
Founded in 1922, the MPAA, which was renamed three years ago as the Motion Picture Association (MPA), is perhaps best known for developing the American film rating system. It also works to help eliminate piracy and copyright infringement across Hollywood productions.
Newsweek has reached out to the MPA for comment.