Bob Dylan says lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse is a “brazen shakedown”

Dylan’s lawyers assert that “the allegation is false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”

Content warning: This story contains discussion of alleged sexual abuse.

Bob Dylan has responded to a lawsuit made against him over allegations of sexual abuse, calling it “ludicrous” and claiming that the woman who filed it once said she’d been “abducted by aliens and piloted their spaceship”.

The update comes via Rolling Stone, who reports that Dylan’s lawyers are refusing to shrug the case off.

“Mr. Dylan may have seemed like an easy mark for the lawyers who filed and hoped to profit off of this fraudulent lawsuit,” the lawyers reportedly said in a new filing.

“They likely assumed he would not be up for the fight and would instead pay extortion to avoid the burden, publicity, and expense of defending himself. They could not have been more wrong. Mr. Dylan seeks and will achieve justice, vindication and full accountability.”

In the initial lawsuit, filed back in August, an anonymous woman – identified in documents as J.C. – alleged that over the course of six weeks between April and May of 1965, Dylan (then in his mid-20s) “befriended and established an emotional connection” with the girl, aged 12 at the time, before abusing her both physically and emotionally.

J.C. alleged that she “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”.

As it stands, J.C. is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

A representative for Dylan responded to the allegations, saying: “The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”

Just days after news of the lawsuit broke, British writer Clinton Heylin – who has written extensively about Dylan’s life and work – jumped in to question the allegations’ validity, citing the claimant’s timeline of events as “not possible” due to the minutiae of his touring schedule.

Earlier this week, it was reported that J.C. updated the time frame in which the alleged incident took place, amending the allegations to claim that her and Dylan’s encounters spanned “a period of several months in the spring of 1965”.

Now, Dylan’s lawyers claim the case to be “a brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit”, which was “filed in bad faith for the improper purpose of extracting a huge payout on the threat of negative publicity”. Dylan’s lawyers assert that “the allegation is false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”.

“According to her own website, plaintiff is a psychic who specializes in ‘channeling’ the deceased loved ones of grieving families – for a fee,” the new filing, reportedly made on Thursday (January 5) in Manhattan state court, reads.

“It claims the accuser had not only claimed she had been abducted by aliens, she also purportedly claims that ‘she speaks to cats, dogs and other animals – alive and dead – as well as insects and plants’.”

Peter Gleason, J.C.’s lawyer, came to her defence, telling Rolling Stone: “Neither my client or her counsel are going to be bullied. Some people refer to Bob Dylan as a prophet. People have labels.

“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.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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