A woman named Jacque Hollander has filed a federal lawsuit against James Brown, alleging that the R&B singer raped her at gunpoint in 1988, later causing her to develop Grave’s Disease, a thyroid condition.
Hollander claims that the incident took place in South Carolina, while she was employed by Brown as a publicist. She alleges that while she was riding in a van with the singer, he abruptly pulled the vehicle to the side of the road and, threatening her with a shotgun, assaulted her.
Although the statue of limitations on the rape charge have run out, Hollander’s illness-related claims have grounds, as a doctor said in 2000 that the alleged assault might have caused her thyroid issues. Grave’s Disease may be stress-related, but its specific root is currently unknown.
Hollander’s lawsuit, filed in Chicago district court, seeks $106 million in damages. When previously brought before a judge in 2002, her claims against Brown were dismissed.
In spite of his legendary career, Brown’s personal life has long been rife with controversy: the performer served a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence after 1988 drug and assault charges and was convicted of a drug charge in 1998 (he was later pardoned). And as recently as January of 2004, he was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence for allegedly pushing his wife to the floor and threatening her during an argument (it was resolved when the singer pleaded no contest).
The seventy-one-year-old singer underwent surgery for prostate cancer on December 15th and is currently recovering. His updated autobiography, James Brown: The Godfather of Soul — co-authored by Rev. Al Sharpton — is due next month. He is planning a tour of Asia and Australia to kick off early this year.