Arts

Woman Accuses Steven Tyler of Sexually Assaulting Her in the 1970s

Steven Tyler, the frontman of the rock band Aerosmith, has been accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a woman in the 1970s when she was a teenager and he was in his mid-20s.

In the lawsuit, the woman, Julia Misley, accuses Mr. Tyler of using his status and power as a famous rock star to “groom, manipulate, exploit” and “sexually assault” her over the course of three years. She has previously discussed her relationship with Mr. Tyler, writing online that she met him at an Aerosmith concert in Portland, Ore., in 1973, shortly after her 16th birthday.

The lawsuit, earlier reported by Rolling Stone, was filed this week under the California Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations so people who said they were sexually abused as children could file civil cases. The three-year period to file a complaint ends on Saturday.

Mr. Tyler is referred to in the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, as “Defendant Doe 1.” Lawyers and representatives who have worked for him did not respond to requests for comment.

In Mr. Tyler’s memoir “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” he writes about a time he was so in love that he “almost took a teen bride,” describing sexual encounters with her in planes and elevators. He also describes an apartment fire that sent his unnamed lover to a hospital with smoke inhalation; Ms. Misley recounts a similar experience in her writings and her lawsuit.

Ms. Misley, who is now 65 and previously went by the name Julia Holcomb, also appears in the book’s acknowledgments.

She said in a statement on Friday that she was spurred to take legal action by the change in California law and that she was grateful for the new opportunity to be heard.

“I want this action to expose an industry that protects celebrity offenders, to cleanse and hold accountable an industry that both exploited and allowed me to be exploited for years,” she wrote, citing Mr. Tyler by name.

Her lawsuit alleges that in 1973 a “leading member of a world-famous rock band” who was 25 years old took Ms. Misley to his hotel room after a concert in Portland and “performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct.” According to the lawsuit, the singer then bought Ms. Misley a plane ticket for a concert in Seattle because she was a minor and could not travel with him across state lines.

The lawsuit says the musician eventually persuaded her mother to let him become her legal guardian, so that, among other things, he could enroll her in school and provide her with better medical care. It then alleges that he “did not meaningfully follow through on these promises and instead continued to travel with, assault and provide alcohol and drugs” to Ms. Misley.

In his memoir, Mr. Tyler says he gained custody of the person who nearly became his “teen bride.” “Her parents fell in love with me, signed papers over for me to have custody, so I wouldn’t get arrested if I took her out of state,” he writes. “I took her on tour.”

According to the suit, Ms. Misley eventually became pregnant by the singer and was coerced by him to have an abortion.

In her public writings, Ms. Misley described a turbulent upbringing before she was ensnared by a world of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll under Mr. Tyler’s stewardship. She later left him and married, becoming a mother of seven children.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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