Woman sues Steven Tyler, alleging child sex assault in 1970s
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman who has previously said Steven Tyler had an illicit sexual relationship with her when she was a teenager is now suing the Aerosmith frontman for sexual assault, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit brought by Julia Misley was filed Tuesday under a 2019 California law that gave adult victims of childhood sexual assault a three-year window to file lawsuits for decades-old instances of assault. Saturday is the deadline to file such claims.
The 65-year-old Misley, formerly known as Julia Holcomb, said in a statement that she wanted to seize “a new opportunity to take legal action against those that abused me in my youth.” The Associated Press does not name victims of sexual assault unless they publicly identify themselves.
While the lawsuit doesn’t name Tyler, Misley identified him by name in the statement, issued through the law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates. She has also recounted her experiences with Tyler in prior interviews, and Tyler discussed a relationship with a teenage girl in two books, published in 2011 and 1997. The acknowledgements section of his memoir “Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?” thanks a “Julia Halcomb,” which Misley has said is a reference to her.
Representatives for Tyler did not immediately return requests for comment Friday. Rolling Stone first reported the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges Tyler “used his role, status, and power as a well-known musician and rock star to gain access to, groom, manipulate, exploit, sexually assault,” Misley over a period of three years. Some of the abuse occurred in Los Angeles County, the lawsuit said. As a result, she has suffered severe emotional injury as well as economic losses, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit says that Misley met Tyler in 1973 at one of his shows in Portland, Oregon, and was later invited to Tyler’s hotel room, where she said she told him she was 16 years old. Tyler would have been 25 or 26 at the time. It says he engaged in “various acts of criminal sexual conduct” against Misley.
He engaged in sexual acts with her following multiple other shows, and in 1974 he became her legal guardian so that she could travel to him with shows, the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit alleged that Misley became pregnant in 1975 as a result of having sex with Tyler, and that he later coerced her into having an abortion.
Tyler further harmed Misley by publishing memoirs that detailed parts of their relationship without her knowledge or consent, the lawsuit alleged. Doing so subjected Misley to public attention and scrutiny, which retraumatized her and made it harder for her to recover, the lawsuit said.
In Tyler’s 2011 memoir, he mentions meeting an unnamed 16-year-old “girlfriend to be.” He wrote that he almost “took a teen bride” and got her parents to sign over custody so he wouldn’t get arrested when she went on tour with him out of state.
“By including Plaintiff’s name in the acknowledgements, he left the readers and the public without any doubt of Plaintiff’s identity,” the lawsuit states, adding that she was confronted with a picture of her own face on a tabloid cover at a grocery store after the book’s publication.
Tyler’s relationship with a teenage girl is also referenced by several people in “Walk This Way,” a 1997 “autobiography” of Aerosmith in oral history format. The teen is given the pseudonym “Diana Hall” and, at one point, is described as pregnant. Tyler said he was thinking about marrying her, referenced abortions, and called it a “tricky situation all around.”
The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation of an unspecified amount.