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Steven Tyler Accused of Using Rockstar Status to ‘Groom, Manipulate, Exploit’ and ‘Sexually Assault’ 16-Year-Old Girl in 1970s

Steven Tyler (YouTube screenshot)

Steven Tyler (YouTube screenshot)

A woman in Texas this week claimed that Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler used his money and fame to sexually abuse and exploit her for several years in the 1970s when she was a minor and he was in his mid-to-late 20s. A now-65-year-old Julia Misley filed a lawsuit in California accusing Tyler of sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress over the sexual relationship that allegedly began when she was only 16.

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Tyler “used his role, status, and power as a well-known musician and rock star to gain access to, groom, manipulate, exploit, [and] sexually assault Plaintiff over the course of over three years in numerous states across the country.”

Misley, who was previously known as Julia Holcomb, claims that approximately one month after she turned 16 in 1973, she attended an Aerosmith concert and was invited backstage where she met with Tyler in private. The two allegedly discussed her age and struggles she was facing at home before Tyler “performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct” on Misley. Misley then stayed overnight in Tyler’s hotel room before being sent home in a cab the next morning, the complaint states.

Tyler, who is referred to in the complaint as “Defendant Doe 1,” allegedly flew Misley to other concerts in continuation of the sexual relationship because it was illegal for her to travel with him across state lines.

In 1974, Tyler allegedly convinced Misley’s parents and convinced her mother to sign over guardianship of Misley to him “so that he could more easily travel with [Misley] and avoid criminal prosecution,” according to the complaint.

“[Tyler] made various promises and inducements to [Misley’s] mother assuring her of the wellbeing of [Misley] including, but not limited to promising he would enroll her in school; that he would support her; and provide her with better medical care and support than her mother could at the time,” the document states. “[Tyler] did not meaningfully follow through on these promises and instead continued to travel with, assault and provide alcohol and drugs to [Misley].”

The suit also contains an excerpt form Tyler’s memoirs which appear to confirm several aspects of Misley’s story.

“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.”

Tyler also allegedly included Misley’s name in the acknowledgments of the memoir, which her attorneys said “left readers and the public without any doubt” as to her identity.

The lawsuit was filed under the California Child Victim’s Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations to allow juvenile victims of sexual abuse to file civil suits against their abusers. The date to file suit within the CVA window ends at the close of 2022.

“I want this action to expose an industry that protects celebrity offenders, to cleanse and hold accountable an industry that both exploited and allowed me to be exploited for years, along with so many other naïve and vulnerable kids and adults,” Misley said in a statement. “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. 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.”

Representatives for Tyler did not respond to requests for comment from multiple news outlets.

[image via YouTube screenshot]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.