Artist News Legal

Marilyn Manson sexual assault lawsuit dismissed over statute of limitations

By | Published on Thursday 26 May 2022

Marilyn Manson

One of four sexual assault lawsuits filed against Marilyn Manson has been dismissed, after a judge ruled that the statute of limitations prevented the litigation from proceeding.

The musician’s former assistant, Ashley Walters, sued Manson a year ago, accusing him of sexual harassment, abuse and battery during her time working for him between 2010 and 2011. Manson’s legal team had already successfully argued once before that Walters’ claims fell outside the statute of limitations, but she was given the opportunity to submit an amended complaint.

In that amended filing, Walters said that, due to post-traumatic stress disorder, she had – until recently – suppressed her memories of what had happened to her while working for Manson.

She had, said the lawsuit, been “unable to recall many of the physical and emotional abuses until the fall of 2020 when countless repressed memories flooded back to [her] after meeting numerous other victims of [Manson] and obtaining counselling from a mental health professional”.

In California, where the case has been filed, the statute of limitations on sexual assault and harassment cases was three years, until 2020 when it was increased to ten years.

However, according to Courthouse News, the judge overseeing the case, Michael Stern, said that the law change was not retroactive, meaning that Walters was still bound by the three year rule, requiring her to go legal within three years of the alleged abuse. “The plaintiff has pled too few facts to keep this complaint in court, and too late, most importantly”, said Stern.

Walters’ attorney, Tanya Sukhija-Cohen, argued in court that, as her memories only returned to her in 2020, Walters should not be bound by the older statute of limitation, saying: “There were memories she could not recall due to PTSD. Once the memories came back, she immediately thought to get an attorney and notify law enforcement”.

In a statement, Walters indicated that she would appeal yesterday’s decision, saying: “Nobody gets to choose exactly how they process abuse or threats. I am disheartened in the court’s decision today not just for my case, but for the message it sends to other survivors out there trying to balance how they process abuse with arbitrary court deadlines”.

Unsurprisingly, Manson’s attorney Gene Williams insisted that the correct decision had been made, reckoning that Walters has been inconsistent in her claims about whether or not her memories had been repressed, adding: “This is an issue of whether the plaintiff has pled facts to get around statute of limitations. The allegations ended in 2011. There is no justification for not bringing the suit for ten years after that”.

Manson was sued by several women last year, after actor and ex-fiancée of the musician Evan Rachel Wood named him as the previously anonymous abuser she had spoken about a number of times in recent years.

One other lawsuit was also dismissed last year on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired, but that was then re-filed days later. Meanwhile, in October a court declined to dismiss another complaint filed by ‘Game Of Thrones’ actor Esmé Bianco.

In March this year, Manson sued Wood for defamation, ahead of the TV premiere of the documentary ‘Phoenix Rising’ on HBO, in which Wood makes various allegations of sexual abuse against the musician.

In that lawsuit, Manson accuses Wood and her “on-again, off-again” partner Ashley Gore of framing him as “a rapist and abuser – a malicious falsehood that has derailed [his] successful music, TV and film career”.

He also accuses Wood and Gore of “falsifying and spreading” allegations against him, as well as “forging and distributing a fictitious letter from the [FBI], to create the false appearance” that he was under federal investigation. As well as this, he accuses Gore of trying to hack into his computer, phone and email, and that she created fake email addresses to make claims against the musician.

Manson, of course, denies all of the allegations that have been made against him.