Bob Dylan Accused of Sexually Assaulting a 12 Year Old Girl—Here’s What You Need to Know

A lawsuit filed on August 13th in New York City alleges that songwriter Bob Dylan sexually abused a minor over five decades ago, in 1965. Here’s what we know about the case against the legendary singer so far. 

The alleged abuse occurred over an extended period 

Bob Dylan in sunglasses at piano
Bob Dylan in 1965 in New York | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

According to CNN, the claimant, now 68 years old, says the abuse occurred over a six-week span. Court documents claim that Dylan “befriended and established an emotional connection” with the 12-year-old girl, subsequently sexually abusing her repeatedly between April and May 1965. Dylan was 24 at the time.

The documents state that Dylan showed interest in the girl (referred to in court documents as “J.C.”) to “lower her 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.” 

The papers further state that Dylan “exploited his status as a musician” by “grooming J.C. to gain her trust and to obtain control over her.” It also claims that he sexually abused J.C. “at certain times,” with the alleged abuse occurring in his Hotel Chelsea Chelsea apartment located in New York City.

“The complaint speaks for itself,” attorney Daniel Isaacs reportedly told CNN. “We’ll prove all of the allegations in a court of law. The complaint was filed after much research and thorough vetting and there’s no doubt that she was with him at the Hotel Chelsea.”

Bob Dylan’s camp categorically denies the claims 

Dylan’s spokesperson issued a statement to USA Today, marginalizing the claims by pointing out that decades had passed since the alleged incidents. 

The statement read that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”

The Bob Dylan claims come amid a proliferation of abuse claims in the entertainment industry. Since the 2017 revelations of abuses of power by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the floodgates on abuse litigation against powerful men in the entertainment industry have opened. Some of the most disturbing have involved sexual abuse claims against young girls. 

Suits against Weinstein, comedian Bill Cosby, Prince Andrew, and R. Kelly have kept the spotlight on cases that occurred in the past and are currently being scrutinized in the courts and the public. 

J.C. seeks punitive and compensatory damages against Bob Dylan 

According to CNN, J.C. lives in Connecticut. She is seeking both punitive and compensatory damages for her ongoing ‘serious and severe mental distress, anguish, humiliation and embarrassment, as well as economic losses.” 

J.C.’s filing was submitted a single day before the expiration of the New York Child Victims Act on August 14, 2021. Isaacs told CNN that the timing of the filing was deliberate and ​​affords her the “opportunity to seek redress.”

Bob Dylan is known for, among other things, a 2008 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, a 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, and selling 125 million-plus records during his 60-year career as an iconic folk-rock poet. 

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How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.