- 07 Jan 22
Trigger warning: This story contains discussion of alleged sexual abuse.
Bob Dylan has commented on a lawsuit made against him over allegations of sexual abuse, calling the claims “ludicrous” and drawing attention to his accuser for her beliefs in psychic phenomena.
Rolling Stone has reported that Dylan’s lawyers are refraining from shrugging the case off, given the credible, high-profile sexual assault, rape and abuse allegations made in the entertainment industry in recent years.
“Mr. Dylan may have seemed like an easy mark for the lawyers who filed and hoped to profit off of this fraudulent lawsuit,” the lawyers reportedly stated in a new filing.
“They likely assumed he would not be up for the fight and would instead pay extortion to avoid the burden, publicity, and expense of defending himself. They could not have been more wrong. Mr. Dylan seeks and will achieve justice, vindication and full accountability.”
In the initial August 2021 lawsuit, an anonymous woman (identified in documents as J.C.) alleged that over the course of six weeks between April and May of 1965, Dylan “befriended and established an emotional connection” with the girl, aged 12 at the time. She said that the musician, who was in his mid-20s at the time, later abused her both physically and emotionally.
J.C. also claims in the lawsuit that she “sustained physical and psychological injuries, including but not limited to, severe emotion and psychological distress, humiliation, fright, dissociation, anger, depression, anxiety, personal turmoil and loss of faith, a severe shock to her nervous system, physical pain and mental anguish, and emotional and psychological damage”.
Currently, J.C. is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.
A representative for Dylan responded to the allegations, saying: “The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”
After news of the lawsuit came into the public domain, English writer Clinton Heylin questioned the allegations’ validity. Having written extensively about the life and work of Dylan, Heylin said that the claimant’s timeline of events as “not possible” due to the detailed minutiae of his touring schedule.
Earlier this week, it was reported that J.C. updated the time frame in which the alleged incident took place. The accuser amended the allegations to claim that her and Dylan’s encounters spanned “a period of several months in the spring of 1965."
(It should be stated that many victims of sexual abuse and rape experience memory loss as part of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and often cannot place an exact timeline of the events, according to experts.)
Dylan’s lawyers are now dubbing the case as “a brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit”, which was “filed in bad faith for the improper purpose of extracting a huge payout on the threat of negative publicity”. Dylan’s lawyers assert that “the allegation is false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”.
“According to her own website, plaintiff is a psychic who specializes in ‘channeling’ the deceased loved ones of grieving families – for a fee,” the new filing, reportedly made on Thursday (January 5) in Manhattan state court, reads.
“It claims the accuser had not only claimed she had been abducted by aliens, she also purportedly claims that ‘she speaks to cats, dogs and other animals – alive and dead – as well as insects and plants’.”
Peter Gleason, J.C.’s lawyer, defended his client to Rolling Stone. “Neither my client or her counsel are going to be bullied. Some people refer to Bob Dylan as a prophet. People have labels," he stated.
“More than half of Americans believe in psychic phenomena. If you’re going to attack somebody for their beliefs, you’re encroaching upon very dangerous territory. This is what this country is based on, freedom of beliefs. It shouldn’t divert our attention from the allegations. This case is about the facts.”
National Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-Hour Helpline: 1800 77 8888