Content warning: This story contains discussion of alleged sexual abuse.
British writer Clinton Heylin, who has written extensively about the life and work of Bob Dylan, has claimed that recent sexual abuse allegations made against Dylan are “not possible” due to the claimant’s timeline of events.
Last week, a woman sued Dylan for multiple incidents of sexual abuse that allegedly took place across a six-week period in April of 1965, when she was 12 years old.
A lawsuit filed on August 13 in the Manhattan Supreme Court alleges that Dylan – then in his mid-20s – supplied the accuser with drugs and alcohol, before sexually abusing her at the Chelsea Hotel in New York.
The lawsuit specifically accuses Dylan of assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The accuser, identified only as J.C., is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial, with the lawsuit alleging she has suffered “physical and psychological injuries” and “emotional and psychological damage.”
A representative for Dylan denied the claims, calling them “untrue” and saying they will be “vigorously defended.”
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Heylin has expressed doubt about the timeline the claimant has laid out in her lawsuit. The author’s most recent book published in May, The Double Life of Bob Dylan: A Restless, Hungry Feeling, 1941-1966, covers Dylan’s early years – including the period in which the abuse is alleged to have occurred in the lawsuit.
“It’s not possible,” Heylin said. “Dylan was touring England during that time, and was in Los Angeles for two of those weeks, plus a day or two at Woodstock.
“The tour was 10 days, but Bob flew into London on April 26 and arrived back in New York on June 3. If Dylan was in New York in mid-April, it was for no more than a day or two. Woodstock was where he spent most of his time when not touring.”
Heylin adds that if Dylan was in New York City, the singer “invariably stayed at his manager’s apartment in Gramercy, not the Chelsea”.
Heylin goes on to note that at the time in question, a documentary about Dylan was being filmed: the DA Pennebaker-directed Don’t Look Back. As such, Heylin argues, Dylan was being followed around by a film crew, and he expressed skepticism that the singer could commit the alleged crimes during that time as a result.
Peter Gleason, the attorney representing Dylan’s accuser, told Huffington Post that he and the accuser “stand by the pleading.”