Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst files lawsuit saying he was libelled
In this July 29, 2012 file photo, Conor Oberst performs at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, R.I. Oberst has filed a libel lawsuit against a woman who made claims of sexual assault against the singer-songwriter. (AP/Joe Giblin, file)
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:41PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:05AM EST
Conor Oberst filed a lawsuit on Wednesday claiming he was libeled by a woman who wrote in online posts that she was sexually assaulted by the singer-songwriter.
An attorney for Oberst filed the civil lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court. The suit claims the woman behind the accusations was a liar who made "despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory statements" about Oberst last December.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they were sexually assaulted.
Oberst's lawsuit says the woman posted accusations that Oberst raped her a decade ago in North Carolina after his brother, her middle school English teacher, introduced the two at an Oberst show. The lawsuit says she also claimed she was 16 at the time.
Oberst, an Omaha, Neb., resident best known for his work with Bright Eyes, is seeking monetary damages, attorney fees and other costs.
He says the media coverage that resulted from the three posts in the comments section of a blog has damaged his career, especially in New York where most of the major music publishing houses are headquartered. He says he was in the company of his brother, bandmates or then-girlfriend at the time of the claims. The suit also says the woman made positive social media comments about Oberst in the past decade.
According to the lawsuit, the woman said in the posts that she never reported the assault because of the way her own family and friends reacted to the accusations. She says she posted his name a decade later to help others and at the suggestion of her husband.
The attorney for Oberst did not return a message seeking comment.
The woman didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment sent through her social media account. It's not clear if she has an attorney.