Rick James Posthumously Sued For Alleged Sexual Assault of a Minor in 1979
The suit was filed under New York's Child Victims Act.
An anonymous New York woman has filed a suit against the Rick James estate. On February 13, the woman filed an affidavit with the Erie County Supreme Court. Read the full document here. [CONTENT WARNING: this document features graphic descriptions of sexual assault]
According to the affidavit, the assault occurred in a youth detention center where the victim was living in 1979. New York's Child Victims Act legislation, signed in 2019, allows victims to sue past abusers and negligent institutions for a one-year period. The legislature effectively extends the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases involving minors.
"I did not know who Rick James was," she wrote in the document. "Almost immediately, [he] was very suggestive and inappropriate towards me. He made me feel very uncomfortable."
The court has summoned James' estate, the James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. 1999 Trust. The victim seeks $50 million in damages. She alleges the assault has caused physical, psychological, and emotional damages. She cites previous struggles with substance use and suicidal ideation as a result.
"As a result of defendant Rick James' violent rape," the victim wrote, "I have experienced feelings of guilt, loss of self-respect, shame, embarrassment, sadness, anger, depression, anxiety. I abused alcohol briefly as a young teenager, used drugs, suffered from low self-esteem, had serious thoughts of suicide, and had difficulty concentrating."
Two years before his death, the Los Angeles Police Department investigated James for a sexual assault case in his Woodland Hills Home.