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Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane sued for sexual assault


A woman is suing Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane for sexual assault, four months after the punk-rock band disbanded following several women coming forward to accuse the frontman of predatory behavior, sexual assault and rape, according to a lawsuit obtained by rolling stone.

Kristina Sarhadi, a New York holistic therapist and health coach, filed a lawsuit against Sane, whose legal name is Justin Geever, on Wednesday in New York. She is also suing the band’s distribution company – of which band members Patrick Bollinger, aka Pat Thetic, Chris Head and Chris Barker (aka Chris No. 2) are registered members – for an unspecified amount.

“Justin Geever used his platform as a famous, self-proclaimed ‘punk rock star’ to groom and lure vulnerable girls into feeling safe in his presence,” Sarhadi said in a statement. “While he sang about protecting women and resisting abusers, it appears he was hiding an addiction to power and control, harming countless women who had previously been unable to speak out . Today, I hope to encourage his survivors, as well as the survivors of other music industry predators, to find hope. »

A representative for the group did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Initial attempts to reach Geever for comment were unsuccessful.

Sarhadi spoke about her experience with Geever on the Enough podcast in July, detailing a harrowing October 2010 encounter with an unnamed activist punk singer who allegedly sexually assaulted her when she was 22. (Although Sarhadi didn’t name Geever, fans quickly guessed who she was referring to. She later confirmed that Geever was the singer.) ‘It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced’ , Sarhadi said. “I cannot stress how violent he was and how I fully believed that I was going to die, that he was going to kill me.”

After attending a party together, Sarhadi claims Geever invited her to his motel room under the guise of listening to an unreleased song. Once in the room, Geever allegedly began to restrain and strangle him, and forced Sarhadi to perform oral sex on him, according to the complaint. “When she could breathe, she repeatedly begged him to stop,” the lawsuit claims. “She was shocked and crying. He was mean and violent to the plaintiff; she had no importance and was just an object to be dominated. Sarhadi alleges she was only able to escape once Geever “passed out” on her.

Sarhadi’s lawsuit mirrors the allegations she first shared on the podcast. Hours after the episode aired, Anti-Flag abruptly deleted its social media pages and announced its disbandment after 35 years, without further explanation. Geever later denied Sarhadi’s claims, saying he had “never engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual.” Bollinger, Barker and Head said in a statement that while the group’s “fundamental principle” was “to listen to and believe all survivors,” they had never seen Geever act in a violent or aggressive manner toward women.

But in September, rolling stone published an investigation in which 12 other women accused Geever of predatory behavior, sexual assault and statutory rape in the United States and Europe, dating back to the 1990s and as recently as 2020. Many describe themselves as fans of Anti-Flag which shaped their social and political policies. beliefs around Geever and the group’s messages, only for Geever to allegedly exploit his position for his own sexual gratification.

One woman was just 12 when she claims Geever pressured her into anal sex when he was 17, and three women claim Geever violently sexually assaulted them. “He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Jenn, who met Geever when she was 16 in 1997. “He played the role of raising women, but at the same time he literally kept them down. ground. »

The other members of the group have been criticized by some women, including three who claim Geever brought them backstage and on the group’s tour bus when they were teenagers and young women. “They knew how young everyone was,” claimed Rebecca, who dated Geever, then 25, when she was 17 in the late 1990s. “There was a clear boundary which he constantly crossed and which should have raised flags for everyone.”

The lawsuit claims that Hardwork Distribution, which includes Bollinger, Barker and Head, “should have known” about Geever’s alleged conduct and “had a duty to use reasonable care to adopt policies and procedures to protect the fans.”

“The decision to take legal action takes a lot of courage and is often not possible for so many survivors of sexual assault,” says Sarhadi’s lawyer, Karen Barth Menzies. “Accountability is only possible when survivors stand up for themselves and each other. »

“I predict that in five years, the music industry will be viewed in the same light as the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts – a powerful force that has also enabled and protected sexual predators for decades,” said another lawyer by Sarhadi, Dr. Ann Olivarius. “Drugs, sex and rock and roll were a reality that meant many young women were abused. The groups had managers who made it all happen and leaders who covered it all up because a lot of money depended on it.

Tendency

Sarhadi’s lawsuit was filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act – a 2022 law that opened a one-year window for victims of sexual offenses to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser, regardless of the limitation period. The window closes Thursday, and several lawsuits against high-profile figures, including Diddy, Russell Brand, Axl Rose and Bill Cosby, were filed in the law’s final days.

Previously, Sarhadi said rolling stone that she was reluctant to come forward against Geever because he was a strong public advocate for feminism and the protection of women. We had to wait until we saw an anonymous post on Tumblr from a woman who also alluded to a violent encounter with Geever to continue telling her story. “I really believed in his personality and what (the group) always and constantly sang and talked about,” Sarhadi said. “I didn’t want to be the one to take that away from someone else.”





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