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Jane Doe Dismisses Helicopter Assault Claim Against Tommy Lee

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The Jane Doe plaintiff who sued Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee last December with allegations he sexually assaulted her in a helicopter cockpit in 2003 filed a request to dismiss her lawsuit without prejudice Friday, meaning she’s asking to reserve her right to file the case again.

The decision followed a judge’s ruling last week that the woman’s decades-old allegations did not appear to qualify for revival under the law she cited in her complaint – The Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act. The woman remains hopeful that proposed legislation now under consideration in California will soon become law and explicitly revive her complaint, her lawyer says.

“Our decision to voluntarily dismiss Jane Doe’s lawsuit against Tommy Lee was difficult to make as we strongly believe in merits of her claim and that she deserves recourse for the harm caused by Mr. Lee’s alleged sexual assault of her in 2003,” the woman’s lawyer Melissa Eubanks said in a statement sent to Rolling Stone.

“The voluntary dismissal thus has nothing to do with the veracity of Ms. Doe’s claim, but instead results solely from the Court’s recent ruling that the procedural requirements of the current statute of limitations governing adult sexual assault cases have not been met – a ruling with which we strongly disagree. We anticipate that currently pending legislation will reopen the window for adult survivors of sexual assault to pursue claims directly against their perpetrators, and Ms. Doe fully intends to re-pursue her claims and to seek the recourse she deserves when that legislation is enacted.”

Lee has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit. “This dismissal is a complete vindication for Tommy Lee,” the rocker’s lawyer Sasha Frid said in a statement to Rolling Stone sent Friday. “He has maintained from the very beginning that these allegations were bogus and false. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her claims. This dismissal was not subject to any settlement.”

In its current form, the proposed legislation invoked by Doe and her lawyer – AB 2587 – would extend the eligibility period for otherwise expired claims of adult sexual assault while explicitly allowing plaintiff’s to seek damages from an alleged assailant without having to simultaneously sue a responsible “entity” or show a “cover-up.” When the Jane Doe filed her lawsuit, she cited the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, AB2777, that revived claims where an “entity” engaged in a coverup of the alleged abuse. Last week, the judge hearing Doe’s case ruled that she had so far “failed to assert facts to support the ‘cover-up’ requirement.” The judge gave Doe a short window of 20 days to address the issue, setting the stage for the dismissal request filed Friday.

When she first sued last December, the Jane Doe plaintiff said she was lured onto a helicopter by pilot David Martz in 2003 under the guise that she was taking a “sightseeing trip.” She says Martz surprised her by picking up Lee as well. She claims that during a 40-minute trip from San Diego County to Van Nuys, California, Lee started to assault her, forcibly kissing and groping her in the tiny helicopter.

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“At one point, Lee penetrated plaintiff with his fingers while fondling her breasts. Lee then pulled down his pants and attempted to force plaintiff’s head toward his genitals. By this point, plaintiff was in tears, but she had nowhere to go — she was trapped with little mobility to leave the cockpit,” the lawsuit alleged. The woman claimed Martz “merely watched” the alleged assault and said nothing to her as they flew back to San Diego after dropping Lee in Van Nuys. (Martz died in a Cessna accident in August 2015.)

The woman said the alleged attack caused her “great shock, distress, humiliation, shame, and guilt,” and that she didn’t report it because she believed it was an isolated event and that police wouldn’t take her seriously. She now believes Martz and Lee “had a history of engaging in indecent and illegal conduct on Martz’s helicopter,” her lawsuit said.

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