Sean “Diddy” Combs, the influential figure in the world of rap, is embroiled in a fresh legal battle as a woman accuses him of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 1991. The lawsuit, obtained by the BBC, details the plaintiff’s claim that the assault occurred during a date with the rapper.
The plaintiff, identified as Joi Dickerson-Neal, alleges she knew Combs through mutual acquaintances and had appeared in one of his music videos. According to the lawsuit, on January 3, 1991, she reluctantly agreed to meet Combs at a Harlem restaurant where she worked, where he then persuaded her to keep him company as he attended to various matters in the city. It is asserted that during this time, she was drugged by Combs, rendering her unable to stand or walk independently. The lawsuit further claims that he later sexually assaulted her at his residence and secretly filmed the encounter, showing it to others.
In response to these serious accusations, a representative for Combs vehemently denied the allegations, dismissing them as “made up and not credible.” The spokesperson released a statement to the BBC on Thursday, characterizing the lawsuit as a “money grab” with no basis in truth.
According to the legal filing, the aftermath of the alleged assault had a profound impact on Dickerson-Neal’s life, leading to mental health struggles and her eventual withdrawal from college. The lawsuit comes just hours before the expiration of the New York Adult Survivors Act on November 24, which permits individuals to sue for alleged sex crimes even after the statute of limitations has passed.
Jonathan Goldhirsch, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, highlighted the significance of the Adult Survivors Act in seeking justice for their client. He stated, “Our client has not been able to escape the continuing impact of the harm Combs caused her many years ago. Through the Adult Survivors Act, she can avail herself to the courts to finally seek justice.”
This marks the second sexual assault lawsuit against Combs within a month. Previously, R&B singer Casandra “Cassie” Ventura brought a federal lawsuit accusing the rap mogul of rape and sex trafficking, covering a span of over 10 years starting when she was 19 and he was 37. The lawsuit was settled a day after it was filed, with Combs denying the claims, and his lawyer asserting that the settlement did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.