Content warning: This story contains descriptions of alleged sexual abuse.
A lawsuit brought against Bob Dylan last year in which he was accused of sexually abusing a woman in 1965, when she was aged 12, has been dropped by the plaintiff.
In August of last year, the woman accused Dylan of assault, battery, false imprisonment of emotional distress. She claimed that over a six-week period in 1965, Dylan “befriended and established an emotional connection” with her, plied her with drugs and alcohol at his room at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, and sexually abused her.
Dylan denied the accusations when they first broke. In January of this year, Dylan, through his lawyers, branded the case “a brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit”. The response went on to call the allegation “false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”.
The plaintiff’s request to dismiss the case was made at a hearing yesterday (July 28). It was made with prejudice, meaning it will be unable to be refiled.
“This case is over. It is outrageous that it was ever brought in the first place,” commented Dylan’s legal counsel, Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn, in a statement shared with NME. “We are pleased that the plaintiff has dropped this lawyer-driven sham and that the case has been dismissed with prejudice.”
The case being dropped comes one day after Dylan’s lawyers accused the plaintiff of destroying evidence by failing to produce emails and text messages regarding the case by a court-ordered deadline.
In documentation sent to the District Court judge by Gibson Dunn and shared with NME, they claimed that, as a result, “the integrity of these proceedings” and the “ability to mount a fair defense” had been “compromised irretrievably”.
When the lawsuit was first brought against Dylan, rock historians, such as the musician’s biographer, cast doubt on the alleged timeline of events, questioning their feasibility given Dylan’s whereabouts at the time.
British writer Clinton Heylin, who has written extensively about Dylan’s life and work, said that Dylan had been touring England during the time of the alleged abuse, in April and May of 1965. In January of this year, the woman amended her case, adjusting the timeframe to “a period of several months in the spring of 1965”.