A Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Marilyn Manson 's former assistant over the statute of limitations, which expired after two years from the alleged crimes.
Ashley Walter's initial suit against the vocalist, whose real name is Brian Warner, alleged sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims. She had initially named Warner's label, Marilyn Manson Records, Inc., as a co-defendant. Warner has denied all claims of sexual abuse.
"The plaintiff has pleaded too few facts and too late to keep this case in court," Judge Michael Stern said, according to CBS News . Regarding the statute of limitations, he wrote: "Reading the first amended complaint as a whole, [Walters] pleads that [she] was aware of the actions against her by the time she left her employment. Thus, nine to 10 years passed until the filing of the action, far beyond the two-year limitations periods of her claims."
In her initial suit , Walters claimed Warner approached her in March 2010 to compliment her photography. They later met up when Warner allegedly asked her to undress for photos, eventually forcing her hand into his underwear, according to the suit. She claimed that at one point, Warner told her, he "loved when girls looked like they had just been raped."
She officially agreed to work as Warner's personal assistant in August 2010. She claimed he had an explosive temper and would break furniture and berate her. The next month, she claimed Warner pushed her into the lap of an actor at the Spike TV Scream Awards and said the actor could "have her."
She alleged he fostered an environment of violence, once breaking down the door to a closet where she was hiding from him and abusing his girlfriends. She claimed she saw him throw a prop skull at actress Evan Rachel Wood so forcefully that it left a welt on her stomach. She also claimed he would hide drugs in her luggage at airports, and allegedly plied her with cocaine to get her to work up to 48 hours straight. He fired her in October 2011.
In March, Walters filed an amended lawsuit explaining that she felt she had repressed memories of Warner's alleged abuse and battery until recently. She also added that she felt threatened by Warner's lawyers with "retaliatory legal action" for appearing in Wood's recently released Phoenix Rising documentary. A month later, in response to a demurrer from Warner's counsel, Walters' lawyer, James Vagnini, told Rolling Stone he felt the amended filing "addresses the court's concerns [regarding statutes of limitations] and establishes that Ms. Walters suffered such severe harm while working for Mr. Warner that she repressed the vast majority of abuse she was subjected to, and that the nature of the abuse should strip [Warner] of any statute of limitations defense."
"We are deeply disappointed in the court's decision today," Walters' attorneys said. "If allowed to stand, this decision would drastically limit the ability of victims of abuse to obtain justice through the legal system … While the court based its decision on the timeliness of Ashley's claims and not the merits, we disagree with the court's interpretation of the law … We remain confident that a full review of the facts in this case will result in a successful appeal, which we plan on filing."
"Nobody gets to choose exactly how they process abuse or threats," Walters says in a statement. "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. We will not let this hurdle stop us from shining a light on what happened to me and others."
A rep for Warner declined to comment.
Warner is still facing lawsuits from three women, including Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco, model Ashley Morgan Smithine, and a Jane Doe. Bianco claimed in her lawsuit that Warner raped her, held her captive, and beat her with a whip, among other charges. Smithline alleged sexual assault, sexual battery, and human trafficking, among other claims, in her filing . According to People , Doe's suit also alleged that Warner raped and sexually abused her. The three other lawsuits are still pending.
Wood accused Warner of grooming and sexual abuse on Twitter in February 2021. That same month, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department opened an investigation into Warner, looking into incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2011. The department has not issued updates on its investigation. Since Wood came forward, more than a dozen women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Warner.
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