Steven Tyler Denies Sexual Assault Claims as Lawyer Slams His Response as ‘Gaslighting’
Steven Tyler has denied all the allegations in a recently filed lawsuit accusing the Aerosmith lead singer, which accused him of sexual assault of a minor. In his response, he issued a lengthy set of defenses with claims, including that the plaintiff consented to their sexual relationship and that Tyler had immunity as her legal guardian at the time the allegations occurred. Tyler requested for the suit to be dismissed.
Tyler’s response, filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, comes three months after Julia Misley — previously known as Julia Holcomb at the time of the alleged assault — accused Tyler of sexual assault and battery dating back to the 1970s when she was a minor. In her suit, Misley claimed that Tyler convinced her mother to grant him guardianship over her when she was 16 and that they were involved in a sexual relationship for about three years. The suit referenced Tyler’s memoirs in which the singer recalled that he “almost took a teen bride” and that her parents “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 initial suit alleged that Tyler “coerced and persuaded Plaintiff into believing this was a ‘romantic love affair.'” The suit also detailed claims that Tyler insisted on her getting an abortion following an apartment fire in 1975 when Misley was 17 and pregnant with his child. She claimed her life was further disrupted after Tyler had referenced his time with an underage girl in his memoirs, giving Misley “involuntary infamy,” the suit alleged.
Tyler, represented by attorney Shawn Holley, issued 24 affirmative defenses denying all the allegations. Among those defenses, Tyler alleged that Misley’s “claims are barred in whole or in part by Plaintiff’s consent” and “because of immunity or qualified immunity to Defendant as caregiver and/or guardian.”
Tyler also alleged that Misley “has not suffered any injury or damage as a result of any action by Defendant,” further stating that “if it is determined that Plaintiff has been damaged, then any such damages were not caused by Defendant.” Tyler claimed the alleged conduct — presumably writing about the experience in his memoirs — is protected under the first amendment. Tyler also said that the allegations are barred due to the statute of limitations on claims, but Misley filed the suit during a look-back window from California’s Child Victims Act, a piece of 2019 legislation that allowed for survivors of childhood sexual assault to come forward with their allegations regardless of the statute of limitations. That window closed on December 31, 2022, days after Misley first filed the suit.
In a statement, Misley’s attorney Jeff Anderson called Tyler’s response “gaslighting,” further alleging that Tyler is “using a sham legal guardianship to avoid prosecution for sex crimes.
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“He’s heaping more pain on Misley and gaslighting her by falsely claiming that she ‘consented’ and that the pain he inflicted was “justified and in good faith,” Anderson said in a statement. “Never have we encountered a legal defense as obnoxious and potentially dangerous as the one that Tyler and his lawyers launched this week: Their claim that legal guardianship is consent and permission for sexual abuse.”
Holley didn’t immediately reply to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment regarding Anderson’s statement.