Bob Dylan has denied sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl at his home more than 50 years ago.
According to papers filed at the Manhattan supreme court, which identify the plaintiff only as “JC”, the musician, 80, allegedly gave the girl drugs and alcohol at his apartment in New York in 1965. He is accused of grooming the girl “as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse” her. The case was first reported by the New York Post.
“Bob Dylan, over a six-week period between April and May of 1965, befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff,” the documents say. The suit alleges that Dylan — who was born Robert Allen Zimmerman — established the “connection” to “lower [JC’s] 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”.
Dylan’s spokesman told USA Today that the “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended”.
The papers were filed on Friday on behalf of JC, now 65, who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
It is claimed that some of the incidents took place at Dylan’s residence at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. The suit claims that the impact of the alleged abuse has affected JC over several decades. It also says that she has sought treatment for depression and anxiety.
The symptoms “are of a permanent and lasting nature and have incapacitated plaintiff from attending her regular activities”, the suit alleges. It adds that JC claims she was assaulted, and was also the victim of battery, false imprisonment and suffered emotional abuse at the hands of the singer. It includes a claim for unspecified damages.
“The complaint speaks for itself,” Daniel Issacs, JC’s lawyer, said when contacted by the New York Post yesterday. Dylan’s representatives did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
“Dylan exploited his status as a musician by grooming JC to gain her trust and obtain control over her as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse JC,” the suit continues.
At the time that the alleged abuse was taking place, Bringing it All Back Home, his fifth album, was released. It topped the UK charts later that year.
It was also the year that Dylan married his first wife, Sara. The couple, who went on to have four children, divorced in 1977. He married Carolyn Dennis in 1986. However, their marriage, the birth of their child, and their 1992 divorce were kept secret until 2001 when it was revealed in a biography by Howard Sounes.
JC’s suit was filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which temporarily scrapped the statute of limitations for people to file lawsuits alleging sexual abuse when they were minors.
In recent years Dylan has reduced the time he spends touring. In 2016 he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature, “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
The award drew criticism from literary circles, with anger only growing when Dylan declined to travel to Stockholm to pick it up in person, having waited two weeks before even acknowledging it.
He was due to tour Japan in April but the concerts were cancelled because of the pandemic.
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