The singer-songwriter denied the allegations, adding that the allegations would be countered in court.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of sexual assault that may distress some readers
Bob Dylan, the folk singer-songwriter, has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 1965 in a lawsuit. The girl, identified as JC, filed the lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme court on Friday and alleged the singer, who was then in his mid-20s, of plying her with drugs and alcohol before sexually abusing her. Dylan's spokesperson has denied the allegations. The lawsuit states that the singer, who's 80 now, “established an emotional connection” with JC to “lower her inhibitions with the object of sexually abusing her, which he did," reported The Guardian. The suit adds that Dylan used drugs, alcohol, and threats of physical violence, "leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day.”
The singer has been accused of grooming the 12-year-old for six weeks in April and May 1965. During that period, Dylan had "befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff," read the lawsuit. JC is now a 68-year-old woman living in Greenwich, Connecticut. She alleges that Dylan “exploited his status as a musician" to gain her trust and to obtain control over her as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse” her. Dylan's spokesperson released a statement to USA Today, "The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended."
The lawsuit was filed on the last day of the New York State’s Child Victim Act look-back window, which was closed Saturday, August 14. The measure had offered a reprieve for adults time-barred from filing civil suits for abuse suffered as children. It gave the victim an "opportunity to seek redress." The act was established in 2019 and suspended the ordinary statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims for a two-year period that ended on Saturday. The lawsuit against Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, last week also was possible because of the law.
JC accused Dylan of abusing her multiple times at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. The lawsuit alleged that the long-standing 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.” Daniel Isaacs, one of the attorneys representing JC, when contacted by the media said, "Nothing other than the complaint speaks for itself and we shall prove our allegations in a court of law." JC is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial for allegations of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and infliction of emotional distress that have forced her to seek medical treatment on multiple occasions. "The complaint was filed after much research and thorough vetting and there's no doubt that she was with him at the Hotel Chelsea," said Isaacs, reported CNN. The lawsuit was filed, on behalf of JC, by attorneys Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason.
Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Minnesota and turned 80 earlier this year on May 24. Some of his popular tracks include The Times They Are a-Changin, Like a Rolling Stone, and Blowin' in the Wind. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." He was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
While Dylan maintained a low profile in the media, he's believed to have had a colorful private life. Two of his ex-girlfriends have written books about their relationship with the singer. Britta Lee Shain opened up about having an affair with the singer while she was dating Dylan’s road manager, Ernie, in 1985, reported New York Post. "There must be a hundred ways to do it," he reportedly told her. "Would you like to learn them all with me?" The relationship ended when he had "flown in a bimbo." All three of them were lying in bed as he consoled Shain. He reportedly asked, "What about all three of us?" Shain ended it and Dylan reportedly told her, "Sometimes I do bad things."
He has been married twice, first to Sara Dylan in 1965 before divorcing in 1977 and then to Carolyn Dennis in 1986 before getting divorced in 1992. Dylan was romantically involved with Joan Baez when he met Sara, and Baez found out the hard way when Sara opened the door when she went to meet him. "That's how I found out there was a Sara," said Baez later, adding that it was "the most demoralizing experience in my life," reported Independent. Sara's marriage with Dylan was fraught with rumors of the singer cheating on her.
Dylan was in the news last month when a judge in New York ruled in favor of the singer in a lawsuit over profits from a $300m sale last year. The publishing company and widow of Jacques Levy, a collaborator, sought at least $7.25m from the sale of 10 songs from the 1976 album Desire. New York supreme court judge, Barry Ostrager, said Levy and his descendants were only entitled to compensation under the deal signed in 1975, reported The Guardian.
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).
Cover Image Credit: Getty Images for AFI | Photo by Kevin Winter