Soul singer James Brown has been sued by a former employee who claims the performer raped her 16 years ago.
Jacque Hollander, a former public relations assistant to the 71-year-old “Godfather of Soul,” filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday in Illinois. She is seeking more than $100 million in damages.
In the suit, Hollander says the attack occurred in the back of Brown’s van off a South Carolina highway in April 1988. Hollander claims the singer pointed a shotgun at her and demanded she undress. She says Brown then raped, battered her and slammed her head on the car wall for several hours.
Brown underwent surgery for prostate cancer last month. His manager, SuperFrank Copsidas, said in a statement: “This is just absurd and does not warrant any comment.”
Hollander, 48, is not pressing criminal charges against Brown, but is seeking compensatory and punitive damages because she was recently diagnosed with the neurological disorder Graves’ Disease which she claims was caused by her “rape and torture” at the hands of the singer.
Brown has had several run-ins with the law over the years for domestic violence, drug charges and weapons possession. He spent nearly three years in prison after a 1988 arrest for leading police on a car chase between South Carolina and Georgia.
A spokesman for Hollander said Thursday she had attempted to file criminal charges against Brown years ago, but the case did not proceed for various reasons.
“He was so popular in those days and she was very fearful. She has only recently gathered the strength to do this,” spokesman Paul Leech said.
Brown, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame who has made more than 50 albums, left the hospital in December after what was described as successful prostate cancer surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.