Marvel icon Stan Lee has been accused of sexual harassment of his caretakers, a charge his attorney calls “false and despicable allegations” that may be part of a shakedown, according to UK tabloid Daily Mail.  Lee has also been revealed in the past week to have been the victim of two six figure thefts through fraudulent checks, according to TMZ.

The harassment allegations are part of a dispute with the service that provided nurses to care for the 95-year-old Lee, who the service alleges repeatedly groped and harassed their nurses, according to the Daily Mail report.  No lawsuit or police complaint have been filed, and Lee’s camp responded strongly, saying that Lee "categorially denies" the charges.  "Mr. Lee has received demands to pay money and threats that if he does not do so, the accuser will go to the media," a cease and desist letter sent to the service by Lee’s attorney in December said.  "Mr. Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong."

The first theft, for $300,000, was reported to the Beverly Hills Police Department as a fraudulent check drawn on Lee’s account made out as a loan to Hands of Respect, an organization he started to "promote a culture of respect among all communities across the nation."  A second unauthorized check, used for an $850,000 West Hollywood condo, was discovered by money managers as they researched the first check, according to the TMZ report.

Both news outlets in which these stories appeared live on the tabloid side of the street, so there’s that.  But even so, it’s possible the harassment allegations are true and are part of a lifelong pattern of behavior by Lee.  If that’s the case, we’ll know in the next couple of days; Lee’s nearly constant public exposure over a period in excess of 50 years created many opportunities for bad behavior if that’s who he was.

It’s also possible that the harassment allegations are true, but are reflective of dementia, which often leads to reduced filters on behavior and speech.  If so, his harassing behavior may be recent and limited.  The financial transactions could also be a sign of deteriorating faculties.

Or the harassment allegations could be false and an attempt to get money out of a rich old man, as the fraudulent transactions appear to be.  Those could be related or both a sign of Lee’s vulnerability.

We don’t have an opinion at this point on which of these scenarios is correct; we just know that it’s sad that this news is surrounding someone that so many people have looked up to over the years.