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Bob Dylan sexual abuse case: Everything we know so far

Bob Dylan is facing a legal battle after allegations of abuse have surfaced against the global icon. The Nobel Prize laureate faces public criticism due to a new charge of alleged sexual assault against a minor, filed by a survivor whose identity has just been disclosed as ‘J.C.’ in order to maintain anonymity.

On August 13, J.C. sued Dylan, claiming that he sexually assaulting her in April and May of 1965 – when she was just 12-years-old. The case was filed one day before the expiration of the New York Child Victims Act, which grants survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bypass the statute of limitations. J.C.’s attorney described it as an “opportunity to seek redress”.

According to J.C.’s claims, Dylan manipulated the 12-year-old over a six-week period in 1965 and groomed her by plying her with alcohol as well as drugs. The suit states that Dylan “exploited his status as a musician by grooming J.C. to gain her trust and to obtain control over her as part of his plan to sexually molest and abuse J.C”.

“Bob Dylan, over a six-week period between April and May of 1965 befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff,” the suit declares. Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) allegedly sought to “lower [the victim’s] 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”.

Some of the alleged predatory activities reportedly took place at Dylan’s famous Hotel Chelsea apartment in New York during April and May of 1965. Fans have come to Dylan’s defence by claiming that the musician was touring in England during that period which was filming in D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary Don’t Look Back.

However, the lawsuit lists: “J.C. 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.”

Presently, J.C. is 68 years old and is a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut and wants compensation for the alleged behaviour that Dylan indulged in. Apart from the psychological and sexual manipulation, J.C. has also accused Dylan of “assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Due to these serious offences, J.C. claims that she has not been able to live a normal life and has not been able to go about her daily activities.

CNN tried to reach J.C. for more clarification about how she first met Dylan and the extent of the allegations, but her attorney refused to comment. According to her attorney, J.C.’s detailed reports about the incidents that took place in 1965 prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was present in Dylan’s apartment at that time. In addition to economic restitution, J.C. wants payment for an immediate medical treatment to help her process her trauma.

While Bob Dylan is yet to speak publicly of the allegations, a spokesman for the 80-year-old musician has categorically stated that the allegations were false. “The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended,” the spokesman said.

This new legal conflict comes on the back of a recent case against Dylan involving the widow of one of his co-writers, Jacques Levy, who tried to claim a portion of Dylan’s recent $300 million publishing deal but was denied by a judge.

The case continues.

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