Bob Dylan Sued by Woman Who Claims Singer Sexually Abused Her 56 Years Ago


Bob Dylan. Photo Courtesy of Xavier Badosa via Flickr.

Bob Dylan is being sued by an anonymized woman, going by JC, for allegedly sexually abusing her in 1965 at New York’s Chelsea Hotel when she was 12 years old. Although the allegations are over 56 years old, the woman is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial for allegations of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and infliction of emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, Dylan established “an emotional connection” with her to “lower her inhibitions with the object of sexually abusing her, which he did, coupled with the provision of drugs, alcohol, and threats of physical violence, leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day.” The suit claims Dylan used his status as a professional musician to groom JC to gain her trust. JC believes Dylan had planned to “gain control over her as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse.”

Dylan spokesperson made an official statement for the musician, claiming “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.” On top of the confidence behind Dylan’s spokesperson, one of Dylan’s biographers, Clinton Heylin, who has written several books about the artist, says this timeline is not possible.

“It’s not possible,” said Heylin. “Dylan was touring England during that time, and was in Los Angeles for two of those weeks, plus a day or two at Woodstock. The tour was 10 days, but Bob flew into London on 26 April and arrived in New York on 3 June. If Dylan was in New York in mid-April, it was for no more than a day or two. Woodstock was where he spent most of his time when not touring. And if he was in NYC, he invariably stayed at his manager’s apartment in Gramercy, not the Chelsea.”

The legal documents were filed on Friday at the New York Supreme Court under the state’s Child Victims Act. The claim was submitted a day before the closure of a temporary legal “lookback window” in New York, which allowed historical abuse allegations to be filed. Although it sounds like the Dylan party is confident they will win this case, it’s too soon to say what is likely to happen. Dylan was set to go on tour in Japan later this year but was forced to reschedule to due COVID-19.

“Given the situation of the widespread Coronavirus, our Prime Minister has requested that we cancel or postpone all forthcoming concerts or events in late March and beyond,” reads an official statement from UDO Artists Inc. “We are so sorry to cancel the shows, but in the interest of Public Health and Safety, we are left with no alternative. Therefore we have regrettably decided to cancel the upcoming Bob Dylan concerts here in Japan scheduled April 1 – April 24. We will look to rebook the shows in the future.”

Bob Dylan has been around since 1961, embarking on a hall of fame career over the next half-century. He is considered one of the best-selling musicians of all time, with more than 125 million records sold. Dylan has also won numerous awards throughout his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. He is also the only musician to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” This lawsuit could potentially affect his legacy, depending on how the lawsuit goes.

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