Two more women have come forward with allegations that EDM star Bassnectar sexually abused them when they were minors.
The accusations were revealed Friday in an amended lawsuit that added two more women to the suit filed in April by two other accusers of the producer-DJ born Lorin Ashton. That lawsuit, on behalf of Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling, accuses Ashton of engaging in human trafficking and manufacturing and possessing child pornography.
The two new plaintiffs, Jenna Houston and Jane Doe #1, similarly detailed allegations of sexual abuse, human trafficking and more in the amended lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone.
“Bassnectar’s purported noble actions and reputation of being in service to some greater good were nothing more than a veil to mask his sinister desires and actions and a means to use his power and influence to groom and ultimately sexually victimize underage girls,” the lawsuit states.
Houston said she first connected with Bassnectar when she posted lyrics on her Twitter and Ashton reached out to her over direct message; Houston was 16 at the time. “In April of 2012, a few months after first contacting Jenna, Bassnectar came to Jenna’s home state of Pennsylvania and had her meet him at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Philadelphia, PA,” the lawsuit claims.
“Bassnectar instructed Jenna to meet him in his hotel room. Jenna, who was sixteen at the time, went to Bassnectar’s hotel room and met Bassnectar. Almost as soon as she walked into the room, Bassnectar started having sex with Jenna. Bassnectar did not use a condom. Bassnectar was thirty-four years old… Bassnectar provided Jenna with cash after they had sex.”
Houston and Ashton continued to see each other over the next three years, with the producer frequently flying Houston to his gigs. “Bassnectar took advantage of Jenna’s impressionable age and successfully groomed her so he could sexually abuse her. Bassnectar manipulated and coerced Jenna into traveling and flying all over the country to have sex with him whenever he desired,” the lawsuit continued.
“Bassnectar booked Jenna’s flights using his own United Airlines account number. During this time, Bassnectar knew that Jenna was a minor. Bassnectar knew her age as a result of booking her numerous flights across the country so that he could sexually abuse her.” When Houston went to college and was no longer a minor, “Bassnectar told her he wanted to end things with her.”
When the allegations against Bassnectar first arose on social media, Ashton reached out to Houston make sure she was “staying quiet,” the lawsuit adds.
“Jenna has suffered substantial physical and psychological injuries and emotional distress as a result of being sexually abused, exploited and trafficked,” the complaint reads. “For years since the abuse, Jenna has seen several therapists after suffering severe mental stress and anguish related to Bassnectar’s abusive and coercive behavior towards Jenna beginning when she was a minor. Jenna continues to suffer due to the trauma and continues to receive treatment.”
In the case of Jane Doe #1, in addition to allegations of sexual abuse and human trafficking, the lawsuit accuses Ashton of manipulating Doe into sending “sexually explicit photos” while she was still underage.
“As Bassnectar was aware, Jane Doe #1 struggled with her mental health,” the lawsuit states. “Her parents became very protective of Jane Doe #1 while she was in high school and were understandably concerned about Jane Doe #1’s well-being. This became problematic for Bassnectar. In an attempt to find a way to have her parents back off, Bassnectar helped Jane Doe #1 craft a letter to her therapist about how she ‘feels trapped by her parents.’ Even as Jane Doe #1 continued to deteriorate, Bassnectar selfishly prioritized his sexual desires over Jane Doe #1’s mental health.”
Ashton’s attorneys, Kim Hodde and Mitchell Schuster, called the new complaint “meritless,” claiming that Ashton is “completely innocent of the offensive and demonstrably false allegations outlined in this outrageous lawsuit.
“This litigation is nothing more than a shameless attempt to profit off of the important social movement against sexual exploitation,” his attorney said. “Fabricated claims like these are an appalling disservice to actual victims, whom Lorin and the entire Bassnectar team unwaveringly support … We have every confidence that once these claims are actually tested under oath in a courtroom – rather than through the court of public opinion – Lorin will be fully exonerated … We will pursue every appropriate remedy to hold these opportunists accountable for the damage they have caused to Lorin’s life and reputation.”
The lawsuit also names management companies C3 Presents and Red Light Management, production company Gnarlos Industries and Ashton’s charitable organization Interactive Giving Fund as defendants. (Reps for those defendants did not immediately reply to requests for comment.)
In a press release issued in April, one of the lawyers for the accusers, Brian Kent, said, “We have seen a true reckoning in recent years of powerful individuals and institutions finally being held to account for years of sexual abuse against adults and minors. But we have only begun to scratch the surface of how these influential figures and entities can go on for years committing abuses without being held responsible. This lawsuit is about seeking justice not just against Bassnectar but against the corporations that cooperate in and help facilitate the abuses he is alleged to have committed.”
Mitchell Schuster, an attorney for Ashton, said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “These outrageous claims — which were clearly designed for the media, rather than for the courts — are completely without merit, and we eagerly look forward to proving so.”
From Rolling Stone US