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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Rape Allegation Lobbed Against Late Singer Rick James

Demanding $50 million in damages, a New Yorker claims in court that Rick James raped her at a group home in 1979, two years before the release of the late singer’s career-defining track “Super Freak.”

ERIE, N.Y. (CN) — Demanding $50 million in damages, a New Yorker claims in court that Rick James raped her at a group home in 1979, two years before the release of the late singer’s career-defining track “Super Freak.”

Represented by attorneys with the Manhattan firm Oddo & Babat, James’ anonymous accuser describes her alleged attack in an affidavit attached to a summons with notice filed Thursday in Erie County Supreme Court.

The woman says she was 15 years old in 1979, living in a group home on Richmond Avenue as part of the Youth Detention Center #6 Program.

James was allegedly acquainted with the house parents at the residence and, one day that spring, “was brought through the dining room where all of the young female residents of the home were just finishing dinner.”

Though she says the other girls at the home were excited to meet James, the plaintiff says she had never heard of him and made a quick exit to her room after finding James to be “very suggestive and inappropriate.”

While she was lying face-down on her bed reading, the plaintiff says James “came into my bedroom and swiftly laid on top of me.”

“I tried to fight him off, but he told me to ‘shut up and quit moving or I’ll cut you,’” the affidavit states.

James then allegedly ripped off the girl’s underwear, raped her and ejaculated inside of her, threatening her afterward not to tell anybody.

The woman claims the incident left lasting pain in her life. “I abused alcohol briefly as a young teenager, used drugs, suffered from low self-esteem, had serious thoughts of suicide, and had difficulty concentrating, all from Rick James’s rape,” the affidavit states, adding that she also suffers from panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks.

“This traumatic experience has caused me everlasting damage and I would like to preserve my privacy in this matter.”

In an affirmation seeking to seal all documents in the case, attorney David Oddo says his office conducted “a very thorough and incredulous investigation into these allegations and determined that they are highly credible.”

Oddo did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment.

James, who died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 56, had a long history of scandal and alleged sexual abuse.

In 1991, James and his girlfriend were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and torturing a 24-year-old woman in his Hollywood Hills home, during which police said they burned the woman with a hot crack cocaine pipe dozens of times and forced her to perform oral sex.

Two years later James found himself in hot water again after he assaulted a female music executive. James was found guilty of both assaults.

Other allegations of sexual assault dogged the performer during the 1990s and early 2000s, and in his autobiography, “Glow,” he recounts many drug-fueled sexual encounters, including orgies and bestiality.

James, born James Ambrose Johnson Jr. and also known as the “King of Funk,” is best known for his songs “Super Freak” and “Give It to Me Baby.”

His career petered out in the 1980s, but he enjoyed something of a revival when he was the focus of a skit on “Chappelle’s Show,” in which comedian Charlie Murphy recounted how crazed the singer would become on cocaine in clubs and bars.

Dennis King, who serves as trustee for the James Ambrose Johnson Jr. 1999 Trust, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Follow @NickRummell
Categories / Civil Rights, Entertainment

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