A woman is suing legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in a New York court for sexually assaulting her when she was 12 years old in the 1960s.
Dylan’s spokesman called the allegations “false” and said the lawsuit, filed Friday in the Manhattan Supreme Court, “will be vigorously defended” by the singer’s lawyers.
The lawsuit was first reported by the New York Post.
The lawsuit was filed a day before the expiration of a one-year term by a New York State law, the Child Victims Act, which allowed adults to sue for alleged sexual abuse of children, regardless of when the alleged behavior took place.
The lawsuit alleges that over a six-week period in April and May 1965, the now 80-year-old Dylan “befriended and developed an emotional connection with” the girl to prepare her for sexual abuse.
According to the lawsuit, Dylan, whose official name is Robert Zimmerman, “exploited his status as a musician to “provide the girl with alcohol and drugs and sexually assault her on multiple occasions.”
The complaint also accuses him of threatening her with physical assault and says she is “emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged” to this day. And it says that the girl, who had just turned 12 in April 1965, suffered physical injuries.
The lawsuit alleges that the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer abused the girl at certain times in his apartment at the Hotel Chelsea, a then seedy Manhattan hotel that now has historic status for its architecture and famous clientele.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Dylan owned an apartment in the hotel, named after the neighborhood, from 1961 to 1964. He also stayed there in the fall of 1965 to write songs for his album ‘Blonde on Blonde’.
Dylan performed on a short tour of England from April 30, 1965 to May 10, 1965, the footage of which was used by film director DA Pennebaker in his documentary “Don’t Look Back.”
The lawsuit specifically states that Dylan “maintained an apartment” at the Hotel Chelsea between April and May 1965, “on information and conviction”, the time when the abuse allegedly took place.
The criminal statute of limitations for Dylan’s alleged abuse of the girl has long passed.
The woman who sued Dylan is identified in the lawsuit by the initials JC. According to the complaint, the plaintiff currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The suit alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It asks for an unspecified monetary compensation.
Prosecutor’s attorney Daniel Isaacs, when asked for comment, said: “The complaint speaks for itself, and we will prove our allegations in a court of law.”
Dylan, who wrote the iconic ’60s songs “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “Like a Rolling Stone”, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an Academy Award-winning songwriter, and a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2016 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.