In Brief

Bob Dylan v. JC: the sexual assault claim against singer

The Nobel-winning folk songwriter is accused of abusing 12-year-old girl in 1965

Bob Dylan is being sued by a woman who claims the singer-songwriter repeatedly abused her when she was aged just 12.

In legal documents filed at the New York Supreme Court, the woman - identified only by the initials JC - alleges that Dylan “exploited his status as a musician to provide [her] with alcohol and drugs and sexually abuse her multiple times” over a six-week period in April and May 1965.

The Nobel-winning folk singer-songwriter - born Robert Allen Zimmerman - is accused of assault, battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress. His spokesperson has told the BBC that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended”.

The lawsuit alleges that Dylan, then in his mid twenties, used his star status to groom, gain the trust of and control JC “as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse” her. He is said to have established a “connection” 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”.

JC - who reportedly now lives in the Connecticut town of Greenwich - has suffered effects of “permanent and lasting natures” including depression and anxiety that have “incapacitated” her from “attending her regular activities” and have required medical treatment, according to the suit.

She is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial over the alleged abuse, some of which is claimed to have taken place at Dylan’s apartment in New York’s Chelsea Hotel.

Her lawyer, Daniel Isaacs, told the New York Post's celebrity news site Page Six that “she provided a lot of detailed information regarding the time in question that leaves no doubt that she was with him in the apartment during the time in question”.

Dylan released his fifth album, Bringing it All Back Home, in March 1965, just before the abuse is alleged to have taken place. The Times notes that “it was also the year that Dylan married his first wife, Sara”, with whom he would have four children before the couple divorced in 1977.

The abuse lawsuit against him was filed on Friday, a day before a New York State deadline for filing claims under the Child Victims Act closed. A 2019 law allowed victims of abuse to sue their alleged attackers in cases that had been too old to pursue owing to a statute of limitations.

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