Lawyers for Bob Dylan have formally denied allegations of child sexual abuse made against him in a lawsuit from an anonymous woman filed in August 2021.
The lawsuit claims that Dylan groomed the woman, referred to as JC, when she was 12 years old and sexually abused her. Dylan, it is claimed, aimed 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 originally alleged that the abuse took place over a six-week period in 1965, including at New York’s Chelsea Hotel. Last week, the lawsuit was amended to state that the alleged abuse took place over “several months”.
Dylan’s legal team have responded to the amendment with a filing of their own, calling the lawsuit “a brazen shakedown … false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”. It goes on: “Mr Dylan will not be extorted. Mr Dylan will vigorously defend himself against these lawyer-driven lies and seek redress against all those responsible, including by seeking monetary sanctions against persons responsible for manufacturing and bringing this abusive lawsuit.”
They claim that JC “told a very different story about her alleged interactions with Mr Dylan to a journalist, Mr Daryl Sanders, in 2017”, and attempt to discredit JC by highlighting her work as a psychic. JC’s lawyer Peter Gleason responded, saying: “Neither my client or her counsel are going to be bullied. 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.”
Her allegations, including the new timeframe, are also described by Dylan’s lawyers as a “chronological impossibility”, something also claimed by others in the wake of the initial filing. The music writer Clinton Heylin said it was “not possible” that Dylan was in New York for long enough during the initial alleged timeframe, saying that the singer was in England, Los Angeles and Woodstock in rural New York.
Another lawyer for JC said in August that Dylan’s itinerary was “not inconsistent with our client’s claims. There are dates that he wasn’t touring for several weeks in April and this will all come out at that appropriate time. The claims were vetted before the case was filed and we did our research. It’s our position that the evidence will establish that he was in New York during the relevant time period.”
No hearing date has yet been set for the case.