Rowayton photographer jailed for alleged sex assault
Published 10:00 am, Tuesday, September 21, 2010
NORWALK -- A photographer was arrested Sunday after a model told police he inappropriately touched her breasts and crotch during an August photo shoot at his Rowayton home.
James Lipay, 62, of 16 Juniper Road, Norwalk, was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and held in lieu of $10,000 bond.
Police began investigating Lipay on June 3, when another woman made a similar complaint against him. Charges were not filed in that case.
Lipay, a member of a local arts group, is also facing a divorce motion filed Sept. 2 in state Superior Court in Stamford.
On Aug. 28, a 33-year-old Branford woman told police she was doing an unpaid test shoot at Lipay's home when he undid her bra and touched her breasts. The woman, who was trussed up with a red rope during the bondage photography session on Aug. 25, also said Lipay put his hand down her underwear.
The woman told police she felt "uncomfortable and violated" by his actions, according to a six-page arrest warrant affidavit.
But the woman and a friend returned to Lipay's home on Aug. 28 to finish the shoot. The woman told police she approached Lipay after he placed an ad on a model website seeking models for a New Haven photography workshop in September that would pay $200 for a day's work.
In the ad, which is still up on the website, Lipay called himself a fine art photographer who is a staff photographer for the Fairfield County Sports Commission and the Connecticut Giants football team.
When the woman and her friend returned to Lipay's home to finish the test shoot, the women said he began talking to the Branford woman about doing topless housekeeping and having sex.
When the women began asking him questions about such an arrangement, they said Lipay became angry and started to yell at them telling them to leave; they left the house and went to the police station and signed sworn statements about the incident.
When police talked with Lipay, he brought them a photographic release signed by the woman. In a written statement to police Lipay admitted that he "tweaked" the woman's nipples, but denied touching her crotch area or anywhere else.
He also said he turned down an offer to photograph the friend and told her he found her "repulsive."
Lipay said the two went to the police station because they were angry about what he said during the shoot and not what happened during the photo shoot three days earlier.
Staff Writer John Nickerson can be reached at 203 964-2320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.