Rick James is facing a new sexual assault lawsuit 16 years after his death. According to a report by WIVB 4, an anonymous accuser has filed a new suit claiming that James raped her in 1979, when she was just 15 years old. The alleged assault took place in a group home.
James is a beloved singer-songwriter from Buffalo, New York, known for pioneering the R&B, soul and funk genres. He would have been in the early stages of his break-out career in 1979, when the alleged sexual assault took place.
The accuser reportedly filed a Child Victims Act Lawsuit, assuring her anonymity. She claims that James attacked her in the upstairs bedroom of a group home, threatening to cut her and ultimately sexually assaulting her.
The attack allegedly took place at a group home on Richmond Avenue in James' hometown of Buffalo, in the spring of 1979. According to a signed affidavit by the accuser, James was there to meet with one of her house parents. Many of the teenage girls were excited to meet a rising star like James, but she said that she was not familiar with him yet at that point.
"I did not know who Rick James was and shrugged and said I don’t know him," she said. "Almost immediately, Rick James was very suggestive and inappropriate towards me. He made me feel very uncomfortable."
The attack took place later on, the accuser claimed. She said that she was upstairs in her bedroom, lying on her bed reading and wearing a nightgown. According to her affidavit, James then came into the room and laid down on top of her.
"He grabbed my hair and pushed my head into the pillow," she wrote. "I tried to fight him off, but he told me to 'shut up and quit moving or I’ll cut you.' He violently ripped off my underwear and proceeded to violent rape me and ejaculate inside of me. He then threatened me that if I told anyone, he would know where to find me."
The accuser says that she has suffered physical, psychological and emotional pain over the years stemming from the attack. She even claims that her brief entanglements with drugs and alcohol has a teenager were likely a result of the trauma.
She is seeking $50 million in damages from James' estate. His fortune is in the James Ambrose Johnson Jr. 1999 Trust.
James was convicted of violence against women in his lifetime as well. He was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and torturing two women on separate occasions in the 1990s, and narrowly avoided life in prison. He faced another sexual assault charge in 1998, but the charge was later dropped.
James passed away in 2004 due to a stroke, which may have been related to his years-long drug addiction.