Former Penthouse model Sheila Kennedy sued Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose on Wednesday, accusing the rock singer of sexual assaulting her in 1989 during the height of his band’s career.
The court documents, as obtained by TheWrap, were filed in New York State Supreme Court just before the New York Adult Survivor’s Act, which temporarily waived the usual statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual abuse, is set to expire after Thanksgiving.
The documents allege that “Kennedy has suffered severe emotional, physical, financial and psychological distress” as a result of the incident.
Lawyers for Kennedy said that they expect their client’s “decision to file this suit will be an important turning point for the music industry.”
“Her account is unfortunately all too typical of a culture of violence and sexual misconduct that has been allowed to exist in plain sight for decades,” Dr. Ann Olivarius of McAllister Olivarius said in a statement. “It’s not just individual musicians stepping out of line, but an industrial system of enabling them and then covering up their misconduct and crimes, silencing survivors and normalizing sexual assault. We hope Sheila’s bravery helps other victims find their voice.”
According to the suit, Kennedy, 1983’s Penthouse Pet of the Year, was invited back to Rose’s hotel after they met at a nightclub. She went willingly, but balked when she realized he wanted to take part in group sex with another model and his friend, Riki Rachtman, who was then the host of MTV’s “Headbangers Ball.”
“The encounter quickly became not just uncomfortable but disturbing,” the suit stated. It went on to allege that Rose knocked Kennedy to the ground, forcibly dragged her back to the bedroom, tied her hands with pantyhose and raped her. Rose is described as being “in a sexual, volatile rage.”
Kennedy has asked for a jury trial and is seeking “compensatory damages,
pain and suffering, punitive damages, attorney fees, the costs and disbursements of this action.”
Through his attorney, Rose has denied the accusation.
“Simply put, this incident never happened. Notably, these fictional claims were filed the day before the New York State filing deadline expires,” Rose’s lawyer said in a statement provided to ABC.
“Though he doesn’t deny the possibility of a fan photo taken in passing, Mr. Rose has no recollection of ever meeting or speaking to the Plaintiff, and has never heard about these fictional allegations prior to today. Mr. Rose is confident this case will be resolved in his favor.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.