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Daughter of ‘Deadliest Catch’ star says lawsuit is about accountability

"Deadliest Catch" star Sig Hansen is accused of molesting his daughter more than 20 years ago. (AP)

An allegation by the daughter of “Deadliest Catch” star Sig Hansen that her father sexually abused her when she was a toddler is heading to the Appeals Court.

The estranged daughter, Melissa Eckstrom, says the abuse occurred when she was a toddler while her parents were divorcing. Hansen is the captain of the Seattle-based fishing vessel “The Northwestern,” which is frequently featured on the popular Discovery Channel documentary series.

Eckstrom, now 28, works as a family law attorney in Seattle. She told KIRO Radio that the lawsuit is about holding Hansen accountable.

“What happened to me as a child is 100 percent why I became a lawyer, even though I didn’t really know the extent of what happened to me until recent events,” she said.

Eckstrom’s lawsuit, which was filed last year, contends that the alleged abuse led to her battling depression, eating disorders and other trauma throughout her childhood.

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“I have memories … of being in a room alone with my father and crying out in pain,” Eckstrom stated in a court declaration, according to The Seattle Times.

Sig Hansen’s attorney reached out to KIRO 7 to provide the following statement from Hansen, calling the allegations “nothing more than a shakedown” and noting that he was exonerated.

“I’m a pretty plain-spoken guy, and to me, this is nothing more than a shakedown. The allegations are completely false, rehashed lies my ex-wife Lisa Eckstrom used nearly 30 years ago to take away my daughter and has continued to try to use to extort money from me. The fact is, decades ago I was exonerated of these allegations after a full court trial. My ex-wife Lisa took me – and worst of all, my parents – to court for this back in 1990, making these baseless claims. We were fully exonerated after a prosecuting attorney, a judge, court-appointed experts, a guardian ad litem and team of other child experts all agreed that these claims were pure fiction. I cooperated 100 percent, including taking a polygraph test that also confirmed my innocence. The tragedy is that my ex-wife Lisa has poisoned my relationship with our daughter through years of vile lies. Lisa has spun a web of deceit, depriving my daughter and me of a healthy, loving relationship. To me, that is the definition of child abuse. This is the third time the Eckstrom family has threatened to publicly rehash lies about me unless I pay them a pile of money, and I finally said enough is enough. If you’ve got something, bring it, because it was BS then, and it is BS now.”

Eckstrom pushed back on Hansen’s claims that the lawsuit is an attempt at the TV star’s wallet.

“That is absolutely ridiculous. This is not a shakedown at all,” Eckstrom said. “This is me trying to hold him accountable for what he did to me. I’ve never been able to testify about what happened to me. The courts did not allow that to occur back then when I was younger. There is no shakedown here.”

Eckstrom’s attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, said his client would be moving with “deliberate speed” in the legal process.

“Other lawyers have been incredibly nasty and leveling threats at me and my client’s bar licenses; false accusations of extortion, ” Beauregard told KIRO Radio. “And we’re going to stand firm and go through every step it takes to have a jury look my client straight in the eye and have her explain what she really recalls about the way he molested her, and then look Mr. Hansen straight in the eye and tell him that he did it. That’s what we’re hoping to have happen.”

KIRO 7 contributed to this story.

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