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Steven Tyler is sued for alleged 1970s sexual assault of a teen, ahead of legal deadline

A long-haired man in rock-star attire performs on stage while holding a mic stand in his left hand.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, shown in September 2022, is being sued in civil court for the alleged sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl in the 1970s.
(Winslow Townson / Invision / Associated Press)
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Steven Tyler has been sued, along with a number of other defendants, for the alleged sexual assault and sexual battery of a woman who says she met the Aerosmith singer in 1973, when she was 16 and he was 25.

Tyler is not named in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court but rather is identified as “Doe 1” among 50 “Doe” defendants listed by plaintiff Julia Misley. She identified him, however, as the subject of the lawsuit in a statement provided Friday by her attorneys.

Misley’s case comes courtesy of a 2019 California law that provides a three-year window for the revival of claims that may have been subject to statutes of limitations. That window, which has seen a flood of lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse by institutions including the Catholic Church and L.A. County juvenile halls, closes at the end of this year.

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The lawsuit alleges Misley — whose maiden name was Holcomb — met Tyler after a concert in Portland, Ore., in 1973, when associates of the singer invited her backstage. Tyler took the teen and another person to his hotel room after the show, then had the third individual leave so they could be alone, the lawsuit says. The document alleges that Tyler asked how old she was and then “inquired where Plaintiff’s parents were and why she was out all night by herself,” prompting the girl to describe problems at home.

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According to the document, Tyler “performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon Plaintiff that night,” then sent her home in a taxi in the morning — but not before inviting her to an upcoming Aerosmith concert in Seattle and offering to buy her a round-trip plane ticket.

The two had sexual relations again in Seattle, the lawsuit says, and Tyler allegedly pursued her via frequent phone calls and by telling her he had written a song about her. After the teen finished her sophomore year in high school, Tyler allegedly talked her into coming to his apartment in Boston and weeks later told her he didn’t want her to return to Portland but rather wanted her out on the road with him. He “persuaded Plaintiff into believing this was a ‘romantic love affair,’” the lawsuit says.

In 1974, Tyler became the teen’s guardian after making “various promises and inducements” to her mother, the lawsuit says. The singer allegedly promised to support her, enroll her in school and provide her with medical care but “did not meaningfully follow through on these promises and instead continued to travel with, assault and provide alcohol and drugs to” her, the suit says.

The next year she allegedly became pregnant with Tyler’s child. The lawsuit says he prevented her from seeking prenatal care and ultimately persuaded her to get an abortion in fall 1975.

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After the abortion, the teen “returned to Portland and over the years rebuilt her life, obtained a GED, attended college, and became active in her Christian faith. She met her husband, became married and started a family, repairing her soul through faith and family,” the lawsuit says.

Representatives for Tyler did not respond immediately on Friday to The Times’ request for comment.

Misley kept her story private until 2011, when Tyler published a memoir, “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” Her name — spelled Julia Halcomb — was included in the book’s acknowledgments.

The lawsuit says the singer confessed to his alleged crimes when he wrote, “She was 16, she knew how to nasty … with my bad self being twenty-six and she barely old enough to drive and sexy as hell, I just fell madly in love with her. … She was my heart’s desire, my partner in crimes of passion. … I was so in love I almost took a teen bride. I went and slept at her parent’s house for a couple of nights and her parent’s fell in love with me, signed 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.”

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Misley, whose story was then retold in supermarket tabloids and elsewhere, was required “to make apologies and disclosures to her husband, children, family, and friends, that she never would have” if Tyler hadn’t written about her.

Attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates PA is seeking unspecified damages for his client, to be determined at a jury trial. In addition to sexual assault and sexual battery, the case alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Because I know that I am not the only one who suffered abuse in the music industry, I feel it is time for me to take this stand and bring this action, to speak up and stand in solidarity with the other survivors,” Misley, now 65, said in her statement.

“I hope that from this action, we can make the music industry safer, expose the predators in it, and expose those forces in the industry that have both enabled and created a culture of permissiveness and self-protection of themselves and the celebrity offenders among them.”

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