Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is facing a lawsuit by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her as a minor during a years-long relationship in the 1970s.
The suit, obtained by AFP on Friday, was filed in Los Angeles under soon-to-lapse legislation that waives the statute of limitations for childhood abuse claims, and alleges sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Claimant Julia Holcomb, who is now 65, alleges American Idol judge Tyler was granted guardianship of her when she was 16, which he used to engage in a sexual relationship.
“When Plaintiff was 16 years old, DEFENDANT DOE 1 used his role, status, and power as a well-known musician and rock star to gain access to, groom, manipulate, exploit, sexually assault Plaintiff over the course of over three years,” the suit says.
In line with legal practice the suit does not at this stage name Tyler. But a statement by the plaintiff — who now uses the name Julia Misley — is explicit.
“The complaint that has been prepared by my legal team recites in legal terms the trajectory of my life from early struggles to exploitation by Steven Tyler,” the statement says.
Rolling Stone magazine notes that Holcomb was mentioned in its 1976 profile of the band.
The suit also quotes from Tyler’s memoir in which he talks about a relationship with an unnamed young woman whose “parents fell in love with me, signed a paper over for me to have custody, so I wouldn’t get arrested if I took her out of state. I took her on tour with me.”
The suit details how Holcomb felt unable to resist Tyler’s power, fame and wealth and that he “coerced and persuaded Plaintiff into believing this was a ‘romantic love affair’”.
It claims the pair met just after her 16th birthday in Oregon in 1973, when they went to Tyler’s hotel room.
After a discussion of her age and her troubled home life, the singer “performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct” on her.
By the following year Tyler had persuaded the youngster’s mother to grant him guardianship, circumventing laws that would otherwise prevent him from traveling with her.
The showman “continued to travel with, assault and provide alcohol and drugs to Plaintiff,” the suit claims.
In 1975, the suit says, she fell pregnant by Tyler, who then pressured her into an abortion, claiming smoke inhalation during an apartment fire could have injured the growing fetus.
In the wake of the abortion, Holcomb returned to her home and made a fresh start, becoming religious and marrying.
In her statement, Holcomb says a change in California law, which gives claimants until December 31, 2022 to file suit against people they accuse of abusing them as children is an opportunity “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.”
Holcomb is listed on the website of a commercial speaking agency. Her bio, which includes reference to her relationship with Tyler, touts her pro-life position.
There was no immediate response to AFP attempts to contact representatives for Tyler.