The Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler is facing a new sexual assault allegation, with a lawsuit filed in New York on Thursday claiming he molested a 17-year-old girl during an encounter in the 1970s.
Details were reported on Thursday by Rolling Stone, which says Jeanne Bellino, a former child model, allegedly suffered “permanent emotional distress” and other conditions after being groped and kissed against her will by the now 75-year-old musician.
Tyler, whose band is currently performing their farewell Peace Out tour across the US, is already facing one lawsuit. Filed last year in California, that lawsuit alleges sexual battery and assault of a minor relating to his relationship with Julia Holcomb Misley, then 16, over a three-year period during the same decade.
Bellino was a teenager working on a fashion show in Manhattan in the summer of 1975 when a friend arranged for her to meet Aerosmith at a nearby hotel, according to Rolling Stone. The lawsuit alleges Tyler sexually assaulted her twice during the only day they were together, once in a phone box into which, she says, he pushed her before groping her and rubbing against her, and later at the hotel where she alleges he forcibly kissed her and ground his body against her again.
The publication said a lawyer for Tyler, who was aged about 27 at the time of the alleged assaults, and representatives for the band did not immediately return a request for comment. The Guardian has separately contacted Tyler’s management company and PR representatives.
Bellino’s lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, cites “gender-motivated violence” as the cause of action, per Rolling Stone.
Although the alleged incidents occurred more than half a century ago, the lawsuit claims Bellino “has suffered and will continue to suffer, great pain of mind and body, severe and permanent emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, physical, personal & psychological injuries”.
It also claims she was “hospitalized and medicated as a result of the incident” and still takes medication now “to cope with the sexual assault and has suffered long-term physical injury associated with the trauma”.
The alleged phone-box assault, Bellino says, took place when the band and several members of their entourage left Manhattan’s Warwick hotel for a walk along Sixth Avenue. While walking, she says, she asked Tyler a question about a song lyric that frustrated him, and he forced her into the kiosk.
“While holding her captive, Tyler stuck his tongue down her throat, and put his hands upon her body, her breasts, her buttocks, and her genitals, moving and removing clothing and pinning her against the wall of the phone booth,” the lawsuit alleges, according to Rolling Stone.
“As Tyler was mauling and groping plaintiff, he was humping her pretending to have sex with plaintiff. Others stood by outside the phone booth laughing and as passersby watched and witnessed, nobody in the entourage intervened.”
The lawsuit further states: “Tyler’s penis was erect and it was evident to her as he rubbed it against her that he was not wearing underwear and wearing thin pants.” She says she freed herself by raising her knee and pulling on Tyler’s hair and ran from the phone booth “in shock and fear”.
Bellino said she was relying on her friend for transportation and accompanied the band back to the hotel, where the alleged second assault took place. She says Tyler forcibly kissed and rubbed against her near the bar area, and then disappeared to his room, stating he would call down for her.
When the call came, she alleges, she was so afraid that she “couldn’t talk and was paralyzed”, before running for the exit and being “flung” into a taxi by a doorman who saw her distress.
The article does not say why Bellino did not come forward with the allegations for almost 50 years.
The case has parallels with the allegations contained in the California lawsuit in which Misley, who says she became Tyler’s lover when she was 16, says he used his influence as a prominent star to “groom, manipulate, exploit, [and] sexually assault” her over many months.
His sway extended to persuading Misley’s parents to allow him to become her legal guardian so he could take her across state lines without fear of arrest, it is alleged. Tyler denied Misley’s allegations of assault and battery, but not that he had sex with her.
That case was filed under a state law that temporarily extended the statute of limitations for adults to take legal action on sexual abuse.
Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organisations. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 500 2222. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html.