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Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Bob Dylan Dismissed With Prejudice Over Evidence Issues
The woman who accused the "Like A Rolling Stone" singer of sexually abusing her as a child in the mid-1960s reportedly fired her lawyers and failed to produce key evidence by court-mandated timelines.
A lawsuit filed by a woman accusing musician Bob Dylan of sexually abusing her as a child has been dismissed.
Lawyers say the plaintiff — a 69-year-old woman referred to as “J.C.” in the filing — withdrew her lawsuit on Thursday, according to Rolling Stone. The case was subsequently dismissed with prejudice by Manhattan Federal Judge Katherine Polk Failla, CNN reported, meaning that the accuser cannot refile the case at a later time.
Dylan’s lead attorney, Orin Snyder, referred to the accusations as a “sham” following the judge’s decision to toss the motion, according to the New York Post.
"The case is over," Snyder stated. "It is outrageous that it was ever brought in the first place."
Rolling Stone reported that the decision came nine days after J.C. fired both her lawyers, and six days after the plaintiff failed to meet at least one deadline for producing key evidence in the case, including text messages and emails, according to CNN.
Judge Failla had ordered J.C. on July 15 to respond to two requests made by Dylan’s attorneys to produce evidence no later than July 22 and Aug. 15, respectively, according to Rolling Stone.
On July 19, J.C. "terminated" her lawyers, resulting in Dylan’s attorneys calling for an emergency hearing. The following day, Snyder accused J.C. of evasion.
“The timing of counsel’s letter, coming on the heels of last Friday’s conference, is concerning because it appears designed to evade court-ordered document production obligations and the threat of sanctions,” Snyder wrote.
He added that “key witnesses” were also scheduled to give their depositions between July 22 and Aug. 4.
The judge scheduled that emergency hearing for July 28. Dylan’s lawyers told the court the day before the hearing that J.C. had “destroyed evidence directly relevant to the central factual allegations in this litigation.”
The suit was thrown out the following day.
Attorneys representing 81-year-old singer-songwriter — whose hits such as “All Along The Watchtower” and “Like A Rolling Stone” made him a fixture of the 1960s anti-war movement — have strenuously denied J.C.'s allegations ever since the lawsuit was filed in August 2021.
In it, J.C. had accused the musician of plying her with drugs and alcohol more than 50 years ago when she was just 12 years old. She accused Dylan of sexually abusing her during a six-week period between April and May of 1965 at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan — where Dylan at one point resided — after he “befriended” her and “established an emotional connection.”
The lawsuit alleged Dylan also threatened the minor with physical violence, “leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day.”
Attorneys challenged J.C.’s claims by noting the singer was on tour on the West Coast throughout much of April, and was abroad for all of May 1965, Rolling Stone reported. Parts of the U.K tour were chronicled in the 1967 documentary “Don’t Look Back" and detailed in Clinton Heylin’s 1996 biography, “Bob Dylan: A Life Stolen By Moments Day By Day 1941-1995.” Other historical documents attest to the concerts on the West Coast and in the UK until June 1.
J.C. later amended her timeline, claiming the alleged abuse took place over several months instead of six weeks.
Heylin told Rolling Stone that, in addition to the historical records of Dylan's travel, other records reflect that Dylan mostly stayed in the upstate New York town of Woodstock or at his manager's apartment in Gramercy in the first part of 1965 while in the States, and didn't take up residence at the Chelsea Hotel until later in 1965 and into 1966.
In January, Dylan's attorneys blasted the plaintiff’s credibility in the response to her complaint, accusing J.C. of being a “psychic” who allegedly believed she’d once been abducted by aliens, as reported by Rolling Stone.
“This case — based on plaintiff’s alleged interactions with Bob Dylan more than 56 years ago — is a brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit,” lawyers stated. “It was filed in bad faith for the improper purpose of extracting a huge payout on the threat of negative publicity."
"The allegation is false, malicious, reckless, and defamatory," the response continued. "Mr. Dylan will not be extorted.”
In the court papers reviewed by the magazine, Dylan’s representatives drew the court's attention to the plaintiff’s website in their response to her allegations.
“According to her own website, plaintiff is a psychic who specializes in ‘channeling’ the deceased loved ones of grieving families — for a fee,” the answer continued. Attorneys said J.C. also claimed to speak “to cats, and dogs, and other animals — alive and dead — as well as insects and plants.”
Dylan’s defense refused to settle, vowing to “achieve justice, vindication, and full accountability.”
J.C.’s lawsuit was filed just hours before the expiration of New York’s Child Victim’s Act, which had granted child sex abuse victims one year free of the statute limitations in order to file civil and criminal complaints against their abusers, no matter when the alleged crime occurred.
J.C. has said she has no intentions of identifying herself to the public.
Bob Dylan, whose given name was Robert Allen Zimmerman, is a Duluth-born artist whose records have sold more than 125 million copies, earning him several inductions into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, the latter accepted on his behalf by legendary poet and musician Patti Smith.