August 16, 2021: A new lawsuit alleges that Bob Dylan, the Nobel-winning folk singer-songwriter, plied a 12-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol before sexually abusing her in 1965.
The lawsuit alleges that the Times They Are A-Changin’ singer “befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff”, identified in Manhattan supreme court papers, obtained by the Guardian, only as “JC” and groomed her over the course of six weeks in April and May 1965.
The suit, filed late Friday on behalf of JC, now a 68-year-old woman living in Greenwich, Connecticut, alleges that Dylan, then 23 or 24 years old, “exploited his status as a musician by grooming JC to gain her trust and to obtain control over her as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse” her.
According to the complaint, Dylan established a “connection” with JC 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 alleges that Dylan, given name Robert Allen Zimmerman, abused the plaintiff multiple times, with some incidents taking place at the famed Chelsea hotel in Manhattan. According to the complaint, the emotional effects of the abuse on JC included depression, humiliation and anxiety that “are of a permanent and lasting natures and have incapacitated plaintiff from attending her regular activities”.
JC is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial for allegations of assault, battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress whose aftermath has led her to seek medical treatment on multiple occasions.
A spokesman for Dylan, now 80, told the Guardian on Monday that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended”.
The lawsuit comes on the final day of the New York State’s Child Victim Act look-back window, which closed Saturday, 14 August. The measure had offered reprieve for adults time-barred from filing civil suits for abuse suffered as children.
Just last month, a Manhattan supreme court judge ruled in Dylan’s favor in an unrelated lawsuit over profits from the $300m sale of his song catalogue last year to Universal Music.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published by the Guardian.