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Star ballerina accused of helping husband abuse underage girls

Star ballerina accused of helping husband abuse underage girls
Dusty Button is a former Boston Ballet principal dancer

A former star ballerina accused of helping her husband to sexually abuse underage girls is facing fresh allegations from a woman who says the couple raped her while she was minor.

Dusty Button, a former Boston Ballet principal dancer and her husband, Mitchell Taylor Button, are accused of the rape in an expanded lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Nevada last week.

The claims have been made by a woman named only as Jane Doe 100.

The woman is one of five female dancers, who have not been named, to accuse the pair of exploiting their “position of power and influence in the dance world to sexually abuse young dancers across the country”.

Mr and Mrs Button strongly deny all the allegations against them.

The original lawsuit was brought by Boston Ballet’s Sage Humphries and another dancer named Gina Menichino.

Only Mr Button was named in the original filing but three new plaintiffs have been added, as well as Ms Button as a defendant.

“What you have here is the highest level of betrayal,” Sigrid McCawley, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, told the Boston Globe.

“You see the use of a famous female ballerina to coax these victims into a situation where they become prey for this serial abuser.”

Lawyers for the Buttons said their legal position remains the same and that the couple “look forward” to clearing their names.

“We are not trying this matter in the press,” Marc Randazza, an attorney representing the Buttons, told the Boston Globe via email.

“We do find it interesting that the press has the complaint before Ms Button has even been served. Maybe that should inspire some cynicism.”

Mr McCawley said Jane Doe 100 met the Buttons in 2014 through a dance apprenticeship scheme.

She alleges that Ms Button, who was promoted to principal dancer that year, befriended her and encouraged her to meet her husband, saying he would make her a star.

According to court filings, the Buttons invited Jane Doe 100 to a party in Boston where they forced her to drink alcohol.

The lawsuit alleges the Buttons later brought Jane Doe 100 to their Somerville apartment where they pushed her onto a mattress in a gun-lined room.

Ms Button then began kissing and touching the girl, the court documents allege, as Mr Button sexually assaulted her.

In the original lawsuit, two professional dancers allege that Mr Button, assisted by his wife, assaulted young dancers he was instructing.

The lawsuit also alleges that Mitchell Button sexually abused at least five students while working as a dance instructor in Florida, one beginning when she was 13.

It alleges the abuse started a decade ago.