The chances that Matt Lauer will be prosecuted in Russia after being accused recently of raping a female colleague during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi are “remote” to virtually nil, legal experts tell PEOPLE.
In Variety‘s copy of Ronan Farrow‘s new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, former NBC News employee Brooke Nevils describes the alleged rape in detail and says she reported it to NBC in 2017. Subsequently, the network fired Lauer from his position on Today.
At the time, Nevils’ identity was kept anonymous at her request; this is the first time the full details of her allegations have been made public.
But prosecution of Lauer is unlikely, legal experts tell PEOPLE. One reason is that Russian authorities would have to prosecute the case and request that Lauer be extradited from the United States, but Russia and the U.S. don’t have an extradition treaty.
“It would be virtually impossible [the United States] would send someone [to Russia] to face charges,” David Glazier, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, tells PEOPLE.
Glazier says that sometimes countries without extradition treaties agree to cooperate with each other, but he says it’s “not common for the U.S. to do so.”
Julian Ku, a law professor at Hofstra University in New York state, tells PEOPLE that in general, United States prosecutors can’t punish American citizens for acts committed in other countries, even if the acts were committed against other U.S. citizens.
Some exceptions to this rule exist, like sex tourism involving minors. But Ku says, “I don’t think they would apply here.”
Glazier says prosecuting Lauer would be difficult because Nevils didn’t contact Russian authorities at the time.
“They would be starting completely from scratch in terms of any kind of investigation, so, first of all, she would have to go to Russia, presumably. Second, the Russian government would have to be sympathetic enough to her case that they would be willing to meet with her, and then they would have to decide if it qualifies under Russian law,” he says.
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Glazier is also skeptical that Russian authorities would be “sympathetic to her case,” and that the Russian legal system would be “modern enough that it would recognize this as being non-consensual.”
Russia does not prosecute violence against women as stringently as the U.S. does. Two years ago, President Vladimir Putin signed a law decriminalizing many forms of domestic violence. The Washington Post reports that the penalty for a first offense that results in bruising or bleeding for the victim, but not broken bones, is a small fine or a 15-day prison sentence.
On whether Russian authorities would even pursue the case and seek Lauer’s extradition, Glazier says, “I think it’s a remote possibility.”
Accuser Alleges She ‘Declined Several Times’ Before Lauer ‘Just Did It’
As Nevils recounts in her interview with Farrow in his book, out Oct. 15, she attended the 2014 Sochi Olympics, along with Lauer, 61, according to Variety.
In Nevils’ account, according to Variety, she was tasked in Sochi with working with Meredith Vieira, who’d been brought back to the show to do Olympics coverage, and they ran into Lauer at the hotel bar one night.
At the end of the night, Nevils, who’d had six shots of vodka, ended up going to Lauer’s hotel room twice — once to retrieve her press credential, which Lauer had taken as a joke, and the second time because he invited her back, she says in the book, according to Variety.
Once she was in his hotel room, Nevils alleges, according to Variety, Lauer kissed her, then pushed her onto the bed and asked if she liked anal sex. Farrow writes that Nevils said she “declined several times,” Variety reports, but he allegedly “just did it” and didn’t use lubricant. Nevils reportedly claims the encounter was painful and that she “bled for days.”
“It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” she reportedly tells Farrow in the book. “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.”
Nevils says in the book that she had more sexual encounters with Lauer back in New York City, according to Variety, telling Farrow: “It was completely transactional. It was not a relationship.”
PEOPLE is out to Nevils and Lauer for comment. Lauer denied raping Nevils in a lengthy letter to Variety, saying he had an “extramarital, but consensual, sexual encounter” with her.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.