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Bob Dylan sued for alleged sexual abuse of 12-year-old in 1965

Bob Dylan in England, April 1965. (Harry Thompson/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

On Friday, Aug. 13, a plaintiff identified publicly only as “J.C.” filed suit against Bob Dylan in New York. The suit seeks compensatory damages for lasting emotional, physical, and financial injury stemming from sexual abuse that allegedly took place at the Chelsea Hotel in 1965, when the plaintiff was 12 years old and Dylan was in his 20s.

The lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ, alleges that Dylan “over a six-week period between April and May of 1965 befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff, J.C., to lower her inhibitions with the intent 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.”

As Rolling Stone notes, the suit’s timing is significant: it was filed under the State of New York’s 2019 Child Victims’ Act, which “allowed survivors of childhood abuse to sue their abusers and other institutions that may have protected them regardless of whether the statute of limitations had passed on the alleged incidents.” Friday was the last day legal action could be brought under the act.

A representative for Dylan told Pitchfork that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”


RAINN offers a free, confidential sexual assault hotline. Call 800-656-4673 or chat online.