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Conor Oberst rape accuser apologizes, retracts claims

Bright Eyes (music group)
Joan Elizabeth Harris has retracted her allegations about Conor Oberst and apologized
'The statements I made and repeated online ... accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false,' woman says

Last year, a North Carolina woman accused singer-songwriter Conor Oberst of raping her after a 2003 concert. She made the claims against the Bright Eyes founder in an anonymous comments forum on the website XO Jane, and her accusations were widely shared on Tumblr.

Today, however, the woman -- Joan Elizabeth Harris, who made her claims under the pseudonym Joanie Faircloth -- has retracted her allegations and apologized.

In a public notarized statement issued Monday, she wrote:

"The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused."

Oberst had repeatedly denied all the accusations. At the time of their initial publication, Oberst's reps said that the accusations were "absolutely, unequivocally false.... This is a particularly serious and sickening allegation, and there is no truth to it." 

In February, Oberst sued Harris for defamation, and pledged that the $1 million in damages he pursued would go to charities supporting violence against women.

The accusations came as Oberst prepared to release his latest album for Nonesuch Records, "Upside Down Mountain," which he is now touring to support. Reps for the singer could not immediately confirm if his defamation suit against Harris would still proceed. 

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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