The accuser, a 68-year-old woman identified as “J.C.” in a lawsuit filed Friday, alleges that Dylan befriended her in April 1965, and that over a six-week period he plied her with drugs and alcohol and sexually abused her at his apartment in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel.
A spokesperson for the musician told the BBC that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”
Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin told HuffPost he is skeptical about the allegations. His most recent book, “The Double Life Of Bob Dylan: A Restless, Hungry Feeling (1941-1966),” covers the period when the abuse allegedly happened in considerable detail.
Heylin said he can’t figure out when any meetings between Dylan and the accuser could have taken place.
“It’s not possible. Dylan was touring England during that time, and was in Los Angeles for two of those weeks, plus a day or two at Woodstock,” in upstate New York, Heylin told HuffPost. “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,” he added. “Woodstock was where he spent most of his time when not touring. And if he was in NYC, he invariably stayed at his manager’s apartment in Gramercy, not the Chelsea.”
Heylin also said the singer didn’t start living at the Chelsea Hotel until autumn of that year.
The alleged abuse would have occurred while a film crew was following Dylan around 24/7 for what became the 1967 documentary “Don’t Look Back.” Heylin said he is skeptical the singer could have gotten away with the alleged abuse during the most documented time of his life.
During the period in question, Heylin said, Dylan’s future wife, Sara Lownds, was pregnant with their first child, Jesse. Dylan was also seen with Joan Baez, Nico and Marianne Faithfull, among others.
While Dylan was spotted in the company of many women around that time, Heylin said, none of them were preteens or remotely close to that age.
Attorney Peter Gleason, who is representing the accuser, told HuffPost he’s been getting calls from Dylan fans who keep citing the timeline. However, Gleason said, “we stand by the pleading.”
Heylin said he contacted Dylan’s manager on Tuesday, offering to be an expert witness should the case go to trial.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.